UFC Saudi Arabia First Look: Whittaker vs. Aliskerov Betting Picks, Odds & Predictions

profile image of David Manyun

Top UFC Pick: Robert Whittaker ML (-150) [1.5u to win 1u] at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

Heritage Sports logo
Robert Whittaker ML (-150)
Visit Site

In their return to the Kingdom in Saudi Arabia, the UFC hosts a slew of top contending mixed martial artists this weekend, but it’s a middleweight main event barnburner that is the talk of the town at the top-rated sportsbooks.

Former 185-pound champ Robert Whittaker, who was originally scheduled to face Khamzat Chimaev, faces an equally intimidating Russian, Ikram Aliskerov, on a short notice basis.   

Read on for our complete betting guide with an early preview of the UFC Saudi Arabia main event clash between Whittaker and Aliskerov, including updated UFC odds and our free expert UFC first look betting picks, predictions, and analysis.

Don’t forget to visit our YouTube channel for more expert betting tips on this event!

UFC Saudi Arabia Information

  • When: Saturday, June 22, 2024 – 12:00 PM ET  
  • Where: Kingdom Arena, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Scheduled Bouts: 11
  • Main Event: Robert Whittaker vs. Ikram Aliskerov
  • Moneyline Probability: Whittaker – 60% (-150) Aliskerov – 43% (+131)

Robert Whittaker vs. Ikram Aliskerov

UFC Saudi Arabia Middleweight Bout

Robert “The Reaper” Whittaker     

Concocted in the UFC “War Room” just last week, Saturday’s Saudi Arabia main event between Robert Whittaker and Ikram Aliskerov presents an intriguing piece of matchmaking between a former 185lb champion and a rising contender with just two UFC bouts on his record.

Whittaker, “Bobby Knuckles,” “The Reaper,” however you refer to the New Zealander, was originally set to face the formidable Khamzat Chimaev and is returning from a bounce-back win over Paulo Costa that arrived following the unforgettable beatdown the now champion Dricus Du Plessis put on him prior.

“Bobby Knuckles,” with 21 competitive UFC bouts under his belt, has continuously fought the best of the best in the middleweight division for 11 consecutive years, so it was no surprise when he accepted the last-minute change of opponents.  

Whittaker Best Moneyline Odds: (-150) at Heritage Sports

Ikram Aliskerov      

Two days out from a scheduled headliner at UFC Vegas 93 against Antonio Trocoli, Russia’s Ikram Aliskerov was called upon to save the UFC Saudi Arabia main event. With such a huge opportunity to face a former champion, it was a no-brainer situation for the 31-year-old.

Since blasting through Dana White’s Contender Series opponent in 2022, Aliskerov has maintained a round-one KO/TKO streak in the UFC with two straight, dominant performances. And more interestingly, his only career loss came against the man he’s replacing this weekend, back in 2019, when Chimaev put his lights out during a Brave CF event.    

Aliskerov Best Moneyline Odds: (+131) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

UFC Saudi Arabia: Tale of the Tape

UFC Saudi Arabia Skillset Analysis: Styles Make Fights  

With a full training camp in preparation for Chimaev, Whittaker should hold a slight advantage. This is especially true when you consider that Aliskerov and Chimaev have many similarities, including a strong wrestling game and overlooked punching power.  

While Aliskerov has also been involved in a full camp, he was training for a different opponent and has only had one week to adjust.

On paper, this fight should be Whittaker’s to lose. He has 19 more fights than Aliskerov at an elite level, is a former champion, and has defeated some of the best middleweight contenders in the world. He’ll own excellent takedown defense and some of the best kickboxing in the game, but there have been consistent worries about his durability in the latter stage of his career.

Ikram is good; there aren’t many negatives regarding his skill set from the pro-tenure fight tape thus far. More importantly, he has a certain aura around him, and despite having fought just twice for the promotion, he’s going to be yet another combat sambo specialist who climbs through the rankings and becomes a serious problem for the division.

The problem is we haven’t seen enough from Aliskerov at the highest level. With multiple round-one stoppage wins over lower-ranked opponents, he’s certainly proven that a step up in competition is required. However, this is Robert Whittaker and the unknown factors around Russia mean that bettors supporting his moneyline are taking a huge guess.

Five-round experience, main event experience, and cardio beyond three rounds are three huge risks we’d be taking by backing Aliskerov while equally being three solid attributes that Whittaker has in his back pocket.   

Whittaker Moneyline: The UFC Saudi Arabia Best Bet Formula

The available UFC odds have placed Whittaker as a slight betting favorite, and this side continues to receive action from the betting public.

I’m in agreement because Aliskerov isn’t proven at this level, and a shot underdog is akin to throwing darts. Could the Russian prospect walk out and starch Whittaker in the first? He certainly could, but I’d rather wager on what we do know, and we know is that “Bobby Knuckles” is of an elite level and has proven himself in areas that his opponent hasn’t. 

UFC Pick: Robert Whittaker ML (-150) [1.5u to win 1u] at Heritage Sports

Heritage Sports logo
Robert Whittaker ML (-150)
Visit Site

*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.