UFC Saudi Arabia Odds, Pick & Prediction for Robert Whittaker vs. Ikram Aliskerov: How to Bet Main Event (Saturday, June 22)

UFC Saudi Arabia Odds, Pick & Prediction for Robert Whittaker vs. Ikram Aliskerov: How to Bet Main Event (Saturday, June 22) article feature image
Credit:

Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images. Pictured: UFC middleweight Ikram Aliskerov of Russia

Robert Whittaker vs. Ikram Aliskerov Odds

Whittaker Odds
-148
Aliskerov Odds
+124
Over/Under
2.5 (-175 / +135)
Location
Kingdom Arena in Saudi Arabia
Time
5 p.m. ET
TV
ABC & ESPN+
UFC Saudi Arabia odds as of Saturday and via DraftKings. Make your UFC Saudi Arabia bets with our DraftKings promo code!

Here's everything you need to know about the Robert Whittaker vs. Ikram Aliskerov odds for UFC Saudi Arabia on Saturday, June 22 – our expert UFC prediction and pick.

The UFC will head to Kingdom Arena in Saudi Arabia on Saturday for a crucial main event in the middleweight division between No. 3-ranked contender and former champion Robert Whittaker and rising prospect Ikram Aliskerov.

The preliminary card is available on ESPN and ESPN+ beginning at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) before moving to ABC for the main card at 3 p.m. ET.

Aliskerov was supposed to fight on last week's card at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas but accepted this short-notice main-event slot in place of Khamzat Chimaev. Aliskerov is 3-0 under the UFC banner – all by first-round finish – when including a contract-earning win on Contender Series in 2022. Aliskerov's lone career loss came via KO in 2019 against Chimaev in Brave CF.

Whittaker is 16-5 in the UFC, including a 2-2 record in his past four fights. He enters off a win against Paulo Costa at UFC 298 in February and hopes to get back into title contention with a second consecutive victory.

Below, I'll provide my analysis and projections for the UFC Saudi Arabia main event and utilize those factors to bet on Aliskerov vs. Whittaker, who should make their cage walks at approximately 4:55 p.m. ET on Saturday.

Tale of the Tape

WhittakerAliskerov
Record26-715-1
Avg. Fight Time14:072:09
Height6'0"6'0"
Weight (pounds)186 lbs.184 lbs.
Reach (inches)73"76"
StanceOrthodoxSouthpaw
Date of birth12/20/199012/7/1992
Sig Strikes Per Min4.578.24
SS Accuracy42%65%
SS Absorbed Per Min3.457.15
SS Defense59%36%
Take Down Avg0.812.33
TD Acc38%33%
TD Def82%0%
Submission Avg0.02.3

This matchup is a problematic spot for Aliskerov, who's taking a five-round fight on short notice and traveling overseas to face a former champion and likely the most formidable opponent of his professional career. He was also partially through a weight cut for his fight last week and then had to stop and restart that process.

Aliskerov is a big middleweight who has missed weight twice regionally. He cuts a lot to make 185 pounds and has shown cardio concerns in three-round fights during his career.

Considering he's never seen the championship rounds, it stands to reason that Aliskerov may struggle in the back half of this fight against a far more seasoned opponent.

Aliskerov is the longer fighter (3" reach advantage) and should be the more muscular man early against Whittaker, a former welterweight. He'll walk down Whittaker, apply pressure, and attempt to crack his chin.

Whittaker is one of the more skilled fighters in the history of the middleweight division, but his durability has always been a question mark and now seems to be in decline. Adesanya hurt him in their rematch, Dricus Du Plessis hurt and finished him, and Paulo Costa wobbled Whittaker badly with a spinning kick at the end of round 1 (if that had happened earlier in the round, it might have been a finishing sequence):

Hey mtfks you’re amazing thank you all for support . During the fight I felt like I was winning pressuring him back and hurt his face but judge thought different. Anyway I’m back no injuries and next I gonna pressure even more until finish. Lov u all ❤️🧃 pic.twitter.com/Y14Ixk7T7w

— Paulo Costa ( Borrachinha ) (@BorrachinhaMMA) February 18, 2024

I'd expect to see a striking matchup. Both fighters offer excellent takedown defense, and neither actively pursues takedowns.

Whitaker is much more technical than Aliskerov, but the Russian's sambo style and unpredictable strike selection make him difficult to defend.

Whittaker is one of the best counter-grapplers in the division's history (82% takedown defense) but struggled with the size and strength of Du Plessis. Aliskerov may be the only fighter to deny every takedown attempt he faced from Khamzat, but he didn't last that long on the feet:

Still, I could see Whittaker shooting reactive takedowns to break Aliskerov's pressure – and to potentially use those exchanges to tire out his short-notice opponent.

However, I question whether Whittaker has the strength to take down a fresh Aliskerov or keep him on the mat. Whittaker's speed is his most significant advantage at middleweight. He uses his footwork and timing to frustrate opponents and keep them on the end of his jab, even when he's at a reach discrepancy.

It could be difficult to impose his will against a stronger athlete, though those takedowns could come more easily in the late rounds as Aliskerov tires.

Generally speaking, I'd weigh more of Aliskerov's win probability in the early rounds or first half of the fight. I'd give Whittaker more significant win equity in the later rounds or by decision.

Aliskerov is the more dangerous fighter, but Whittaker is the more composed and experienced athlete, and his cardio advantage should prove significant in an extended fight.

Whittaker vs. Aliskerov Pick

I projected Robert Whittaker as a 56.2% favorite (-128 implied odds) for this fight, which is closer to his opening price than his current odds for this matchup.

At that price point, I'd bet on Aliskerov (+136 at DraftKings) or pass, but I'd want at least +140 to back underdog Aliskerov on the moneyline.

Instead, I'd prefer to bet Alisekrov to win by KO/TKO (projected +251, listed +265), inside the distance (projected +169, listed +180), or in Round 1 (listed +650).

If Aliskerov wins the fight, he likely does so early. I doubt that he has the cardio – especially on short notice – to win extended minutes in this matchup.

As a result, I'd roll my pre-fight prop bets on Aliskerov into a live bet on Whittaker anytime after Round 1. Whittaker may struggle with Aliskerov's size and power early but should adapt the longer the fight goes and eventually take over with superior stamina.

Lastly, I don't see value concerning the total; I expect this fight to end inside the distance 65% of the time (-188 implied) compared to odds of -225 for the doesn't go to decision prop and +175 for the goes to decision prop.

The Picks: Ikram Aliskerov Wins Inside the Distance (+180 at DraftKings) | Robert Whittaker Live Anytime after Round 1

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