UFC Fight Night: Whittaker v Aliskerov
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) made its first trip to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia yesterday (Sat., June 22, 2024) to stage the “Whittaker vs. Aliskerov” event inside Kingdom Arena, which saw Robert Whittaker defeat Ikram Aliskerov via first-round knockout (see it again here). In the co-main event, Alexander Volkov secured a huge win over Sergei Pavlovich, defeating him via unanimous decision (full recap here).

UFC Fight Night: Whittaker v Aliskerov
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Biggest Winner: Robert Whittaker

If Ikram Aliskerov would’ve defeated “Bobby Knuckles,” we would’ve given him this spot, so we’re going to give “The Reaper” the same privilege because, at the end of the day, he also took a last-minute fight. Whittaker took on the challenge and passed it with flying colors by absolutely obliterating Aliskerov with a nasty uppercut. With the win, “The Reaper” still gains traction the same as he would’ve defeated Khamzat Chimaev because a fight against Sean Strickland could be around the corner, with the winner getting the next shot at the title. Whittaker showed he is far from done and getting the title back over his shoulders isn’t out of reach.


UFC Fight Night: Walker v Oezdemir
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Runner Up: Volkan Oezdemir

Don’t look now, but “No Time” is getting back to his winning ways after securing his second straight first-round stoppage win, scoring a brutal knockout over Johnny Walker in Riyadh. Prior to the fight, I gave Oezdemir a bit of flack for not being able to do much to get close to the Top 5, much less a title shot, ever since getting schooled by Daniel Cormier years ago, but he is slowly getting back to the style that once made him a threat, moving to 3-1 in his last four fights. And when that extra $50k hits that bank account next week, life will be a bit sweeter for “No Time,” who will make a huge leap in the rankings.


UFC Fight Night: Naimov v Lima
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Honorable Mention: Felipe Lima

One of the more impressive performances of the night came from Lima, who secured an impressive rear-naked choke victory over Muhammad Naimov on the undercard. Lima took the fight on short notice, moving up a weight class to Featherweight. Lima came out strong and aggressive to easily win round one, before slowing down a tad in the second frame. But after getting an inspirational earful from his corner prior to round three, “Jungle Boy” came out aggressive once again, eventually securing a takedown before sinking in a fight-ending rear-naked choke to pull off the upset. And just like that, the young Brazilian prospect put himself on the map, announcing his arrival with an exclamation point while extending his win streak to 13 in a row and banking a cool $50K in bonus money. If that’s not a perfect way to make a debut, I don’t know what is.


UFC Fight Night: Walker v Oezdemir
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Biggest Loser: Johnny Walker

Walker just can’t seem to get it right in order to get over the hump, suffering his second straight brutal knockout loss after Oezdemir folded him like a chair in the very first round. He is win-less in his last three fights, which was preceded by a three-fight win streak. He will be going into his next fight with a ton of questions, and a ton of pressure to pick up a win or, at the very least, not get brutally finished. The towering Brazilian has all the talent and tools in the world to turn it around, but there seems to be something missing. Whatever it is, he needs to figure it out because a third straight stoppage loss could be disastrous for his career.


For complete UFC Saudi Arabia results, coverage, and highlights, click HERE.

Staff
Author: Staff

Please go to MMAMania.com to read full article.

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