Quentin Batalillon

General News 2024

Ikram Aliskerov ‘Could be harder’ fighting than Khamzat Chimaev

Robert Whittaker refuses to overlook his next fight at UFC Saudi Arabia.

For weeks, Whittaker has been preparing for a five-round war against the highly touted Khamzat Chimaev this Saturday. A few days ago, tragedy struck the UFC with multiple fight cancellations, including Chimaev having to withdraw due to illness.

‘Veriously ill’ Khamzat Chimaev of UFC Saudi Arabia, Robert Whittaker’s new enemy

Not many people were lined up to fight the former UFC middleweight champion on short notice, but the unranked Ikram Aliskerov grabbed the opportunity by the horns and agreed to fight Whittaker on the other side of the world instead this past at UFC Vegas 93 against Antonio Trocoli. weekend.

Whittaker left the negotiations of getting a new opponent to his team, and he apparently had no idea who Aliskerov was when the fight was announced. But don’t get it twisted: Whittaker does his homework and knows the task ahead when it comes to Aliskerov (15-1) – who offers a different challenge than the undefeated Chimaev (13-0).

Robert Whittaker: New UFC opponent 'could fight harder' than Khamzat Chimaev

May 6, 2023; Newark, New Jersey, USA; Phil Hawes (red gloves) fights Ikram Aliskerov (blue gloves) at UFC 288 at Prudential Center. Mandatory credits: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports / Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

“He’s a dangerous guy. He’s got really good skills, that’s reflected in the expectations,” Whittaker said recently. MMA junkie by Aliskerov, a +124 bet underdog. “I understand the kind of fight it’s going to be. In some ways it could be tougher than Chimaev, but I’m fit, I’m ready and I’m ready to get this done.”

Oddly enough, Aliskerov’s only professional loss comes to the aforementioned Chimaev, who finished by TKO in 2019. However, styles cause fights, leaving the door open for a potential upset.

Before it fell through, Whittaker’s fight with Chimaev was announced by UFC CEO Dana White as a middleweight title eliminator to decide who would get the winner of Dricus Du Plessis vs. Israel Adesanya, who will headline UFC 305. However, this bet has been called into question with Aliskerov coming from outside the rankings.

Still, a win here would look good for Whittaker… but good enough for a title rematch against Du Plessis or Adesanya? That has yet to be decided, and Whittaker doesn’t want to worry about that yet.

Robert Whittaker: New UFC opponent 'could fight harder' than Khamzat Chimaev

July 8, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Robert Whittaker (red gloves) fights Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves) at UFC 290 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports / Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

“It’s not something I really focus on too much. I don’t look beyond the fight,” said Whittaker, when asked if he was given any guarantee by the UFC that he would be next in line for a title shot. “I understand the threat and the seriousness that Ikram will bring to the fight. So I cannot afford to entertain thoughts beyond him. I am completely focused and locked into trying to take his head off in those 25 minutes.” I am given.”

Whittaker has underestimated his opponents before – a lesson he learned from his loss to Du Plessis at UFC 290 last year. “The Reaper” said on his podcast that he didn’t give the current champion “the respect he deserves” during pre-season on him in training camp, stating that he “won’t make that same mistake again” in future fights.

The former champion bounced back from defeat to DDP with a decisive victory over the always dangerous Paulo Costa at UFC 298 in February. We’ll see if Whittaker can make it two wins in a row when he faces Ikram Aliskerov in the main event of UFC Saudi Arabia this weekend.

UFC’s Robert Whittaker unfazed by Chimaev cancellation: ‘Anyone, anytime, anywhere’

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