Khamzat Chimaev Pulls Out Of UFC Saudi Arabia Due To Injury: Replacement Announced

Khamzat Chimaev Pulls Out of UFC Saudi Arabia

There is a major change to the June 22nd, 2024 UFC Fight Night as Khamzat Chimaev is out, and Ikram Aliskerov is in. Chimaev was supposed to take on Robert Whittaker in what is the first-ever UFC Saudi Arabia event, however, he is forced to pull out due to what was labeled as a violent illness.

Many expected someone like Nassourdine Imavov to come in to replace Khamzat Chimaev as he was recently just in camp and went unscathed in his fight against Jared Cannonier. It would’ve also been on the cards to bring in a ranked fighter coming off of a win if they were willing to step in on short notice.

However, the man the UFC chose to replace Chimaev in what was supposed to be a #1 contender fight is an unranked fighter Ikram Aliskerov. This came as a shock to everyone as Aliskerov has barely proven himself in the UFC, and many are looking at this fight as an undeserved opportunity that came out of nowhere.

UFC Saudi Arabia: Robert Whittaker vs Ikram Aliskerov

2,901 Robert Whittaker Photos & High Res Pictures - Getty Images

This fight will take place at the first-ever UFC Saudi Arabia event on June 22nd, 2024. #3 ranked Middleweight Robert Whittaker will take on unranked Ikram Aliskerov in a 5-round fight. This will be Aliskerov’s first 5 round fight of his entire career, and will certainly be his most important up-to-date.

It is highly unlikely and very rare to see an unranked UFC fighter take on someone who is top-5-ranked in their division. It is much more rare for it to be a 3rd ranked fighter who is coming off of a win and is also a former UFC champion.

There is a very major high-risk low-reward situation for Robert Whittaker in this fight. If he defeats Ikram Aliskerov, it doesn’t guarantee a title shot by any means as that would probably still go to Sean Strickland. If he loses, then it would be one of the biggest upsets in the history of the UFC, and Whittaker will certainly not get a championship opportunity any time soon.

As for Aliskerov, he was definitely in the right place in the right situation. It seems as if he was the only guy to step up to Whittaker on short notice and Robert wanted to fight no matter who was in front of him. If he is somehow able to find a win here, it will immediately transcend him into the top 5 in the division, which is a crazy thought considering that he’s not even currently ranked.

Despite the uncommon circumstance, it’s also important to not completely write off Ikram Aliskerov, as he is a highly skilled fighter in his own right.

Who Is Ikram Aliskerov? Record and Accomplishments

10,560 Ufc New Jersey Stock Photos, High-Res Pictures, and Images - Getty Images

Although this fight can certainly be deemed undeserved for Ikram Aliskerov, he at the same time has a high-level skillset and also has a proven record. Ikram has won his first three fights in the UFC with two of them being TKOs and one of them being a submission win. His record shows that he can finish people on the ground and white standing.

Before joining the UFC, Ikram was a world champion in sambo, which can be seen in the excellent wrestling skills that he possesses. He also previously got a Performance of the Night bonus when he defeated Warley Alves at UFC 294 via a flying knee.

His overall MMA record stands at 15-1, with six TKOs and five submission victories. Coincidentally, his only loss ever in his pro career came on April 19th, 2019, to Khamzat Chimaev. He has been on a tear ever since as he has won 7 straight, and it wouldn’t be out of the books to see him and Khamzat clash once again, especially if he wins this fight against Whittaker.

Although it seems unlikely with the experience gap and the level of opponents both fighters have faced, it is still possible for Ikram to defeat Robert Whittaker and become a top contender in the division. There is certainly pressure here for him as this opportunity can make Aliskerov’s UFC career, and a win of this caliber would put him in down the history books.

Doubts Rise Regarding Khamzat Chimaev’s Legitimacy

606 Khamzat Chimaev Photos & High Res Pictures - Getty Images

The reason Khamzat Chimaev pulled out of the fight was because of a violent illness, which was proven by a picture taken of him at a hospital. This was a legitimate reason for Khamzat to pull out and he won’t be able to fight for some time until his health is sorted out.

However, that didn’t stop fans from berating Chimaev for pulling out once again, and his skill is once again being questioned. Despite Khamzat being an undefeated 13-0 fighter and a top contender, the threat to him is continuously decreasing in fans’ eyes due to the number of times he has pulled out of fights.

He’s only fought once since 2022, and that was a fight against Kamaru Usman that many believed should’ve been once where Khamzat would prove himself to be a top guy in the division. However, Khamzat was barely able to defeat Usman in their 3-round fight, despite Usman never fighting at Middleweight before and coming off of two losses while being out of his prime.

There have been talks about Chimaev once again ruining a UFC card, though there are much fewer conversations about him being in a potentially life-threatening situation. Whenever Khamzat is back and completely healthy, it would be interesting to see him fight another contender to see if he truly has what it takes to become a champion.

About The Author

Shayan Malik has always been an avid fan of sports. He is currently studying sports communication, as he is hoping to take his sports knowledge to the next level. He enjoys writing about combat sports such as MMA, wrestling, and boxing.

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