UFC Saudi Arabia Gets New Main Event Following Chimaev Withdrawal

Robert Whittaker, UFC
Robert Whittaker, UFC 298 ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

UFC Saudi Arabia arrives later this month, and the promotion’s debut in the Kingdom has a new-look main event following the withdrawal of Khamzat Chimaev.

With Chimaev originally scheduled to face Robert Whittaker in the fight, scheduled to air on ABC, it will instead be Ikram Aliskerov facing the former middleweight champ.

UFC officials announced the booking on Thursday, following an initial report from Benny P. on Twitter/X. While no reason has been officially announced for Chimaev’s withdrawal, it appears based on a post by training partner Guram Kuteladze (h/t Spinnin’ Back Fist) that the matter comes down to a health concern.

In the mean time, Aliskerov (15-1), in just his third UFC fight, finds himself granted a massive, high-profile opportunity. The Dagestani-Russian is a multi-time Combat Sambo champ, and has finished both Phil Hawes and Warlley Alves since arriving in the UFC via Dana White’s Contender Series.

Aliskerov had been expected to face Antonio Trócoli this Saturday at the UFC Apex.

Robert Whittaker will enter the fight off a unanimous decision win over Paulo Costa at UFC 298 back in February.

With the change in main events, UFC Saudi Arabia now breaks down as follows:

  • Robert Whittaker vs. Ikram Aliskerov
  • Sergei Pavlovich vs. Alexander Volkov
  • Johnny Walker vs. Volkan Oezdemir
  • Kelvin Gastelum vs. Daniel Rodriguez
  • Sharabutdin Magomedov vs. Joilton Lutterbach
  • Muhammad Naimov vs. Melsik Baghdasaryan
  • Magomed Gadzhiyasulov vs. Brendson Ribeiro
  • Farid Basharat vs. Montel Jackson
  • Abu Azaitar vs. Denis Tiuliulin
  • Rinat Fakhretdinov vs. Nicolas Dalby
  • Nasrat Haqparast vs. Jared Gordon
  • Kang Kyung-ho vs. Muin Gafurov
  • Xiao Long vs. Lee Chang-ho