Ufc fight night - whittaker vs aliskerov | franchise sports media
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FSM Preview: UFC Fight Night – Whittaker vs Aliskerov

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Though a new opponent is set in the main event, “The Reaper” still looks to slay another opponent in his path.

 

A middleweight clash will change the division’s fate at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Former UFC champion and number three contender Robert “The Reaper” Whittaker (26-7) takes on a last-minute replacement in Ikram Aliskerov (15-1) as he looks to make a statement win this Saturday. 

 

Main Event – #3 Robert Whittaker (-142) vs. Ikram Aliskerov (+120)

 

UFC Fight Night - Whittaker vs Aliskerov | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: UFC

Though undersized, Robert Whittaker has proven to be one of the greatest middleweight fighters ever. Thanks to his versatile skillset, “The Reaper” would beat everyone in his path, including Uriah Hall, Derek Brunson, and Yoel Romero (2x). Thanks to his success, he earned himself an interim championship, which guaranteed him a fight for the actual championship. Then, long story short, Whittaker’s interim belt was promoted to undisputed, making him the official middleweight champion. He was expected to have a long run as champion, but shockingly, in his first title defense, he would lose to Israel Adesanya by knockout. The fight would end Whittaker’s title reign, but it wouldn’t end his dominance. 

While Adesanya defended the belt, Whittaker took on the other top contenders. He defeated everyone, including Darren Till, Jared Cannonier, and Kelvin Gastelum. Whittaker earned himself a rematch against Adesanya, which he would lose but in a closer match. Whittaker would go on to beat more contenders until getting defeated by the future champion Drucius Du Plessis

Though it added another setback for Whittaker, he still hasn’t slowed down. He has recently beaten another top contender, Paulo Costa. Now looking to add another top win on his way back to the title, he’s set to fight the undefeated and #11 contender Khamzat Chimaev. This matchup with Chimaev would easily put the winner into the title picture, but after last week, Chimaev was pulled off the card for sickness. Now, coming in on short notice, Robert Whittaker will take on Ikram Aliskerov.

 

Though he’s unranked and has no big wins to his resume, the UFC believes Ikram Aliskerov will become the next top contender.

 

UFC Fight Night - Whittaker vs Aliskerov | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Since his early days as a pro, Aliskerov has proven to be a dangerous threat. In his first 13 fights, he would win 12, with eight of those wins coming by KO/TKO or Submission. From those victories, he earned himself an opportunity to fight on “Dana White’s Contenders Series,” where Aliskerov would win with a submission, earning himself a UFC contract. He would continue his dominance in the promotion as he defeated his first two opponents, Phil Hawes and Warlley Alves, by first-round KO/TKO. 

Though successful in the UFC, Aliskerov would run into trouble with canceled bouts. For one reason or another, Aliskerov has a multitude of canceled fights, setting back the Russian fighter. Some of these fights were against top middleweight contenders like #14 Andre Hernandez, #8 Paulo Costa, and #4 Nassourdine Imavov. One win against one of those three fighters would have shot him up the board into middleweight relevance, but he hasn’t gotten that opportunity. Now, in a last-minute fashion, Aliskerov is getting his chance to do just that. Replacing the only person to defeat him, Khamzet Chimaev, Aliskerov will fight against Robert Whittaker

This fight is low-risk and offers a high reward for Ikram Aliskerov. If he loses, it won’t be a big deal. He’s not ranked, and he took the fight on short notice. Plus, he’s never fought in a five-round main event with UFC talent. So, no one would blame the guy if he lost. But if Aliskerov went out there and performed against one of the greatest middleweights of all time, he would grow as a star. Aliskerov would get more attention and more big-time spots on big cards. Plus, he would move into the top rankings with a competitive performance. Top five if Aliskerov wins.

For Robert Whittaker, it’s the exact opposite; it’s high-risk, low-reward. If Whittaker wins this fight, nothing will change for him. He will still be the #3 contender and needs another big win to get his third title shot. But if Whittaker loses, he will be pushed down into the rankings, which he doesn’t need at this point in his career. 

So check out this Saturday as two versatile middleweights clash in a battle of supremacy.

 

Rest of the Main Card:

Co-Main Event – #3 Sergei Pavlovich (-218) vs. #5 Alexander Volkov (+180)

Welterweight Bout – Kelvin Gastelum (-245) vs. Daniel Rodriguez (+200)

Featherweight Bout – Muhammad Naimov (-130) vs. Felipe Lima (+110)

Light Heavyweight Bout – #7 Johnny Walker (-115) vs. #9 Volkan Oezdemir (-105)

 

Prelims: 

Middleweight Bout – Shara Magomedov (-245) vs. Joilton Lutterbach (+200)

Lightweight Bout – Nasrat Haqparast (-238) vs. Jared Gordon (+195)

Welterweight Bout – Rinat Fakhretdinov (-355) vs. Nicolas Dalby (+280)

Bantamweight Bout – Kyung Ho Kang (+130) vs. Muin Gafurov (-155)

Light Heavyweight Bout – Magomed Gadzhiyasulov (-325) vs. Brendson Ribeiro (+260)

Bantamweight Bout – Xiao Long (-115) vs. Changho Lee (-105)

 

Robert Whittaker will take on Ikram Aliskerov in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The main card is scheduled to start at noon PT. Thank you for visiting FranchiseSportsMedia.com for your Las Vegas Sports news.

 

Franchise Sports Media. Las Vegas sports news about Las Vegas Sports teams.

– Ethan Kugler – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Ethan on all social media: @ethan_kugl50

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