Ikram Aliskerov Plans to “Unpleasantly Surprise” Whittaker at UFC Saudi Arabia

Stepping in on short notice to salvage the UFC Saudi Arabia card is middleweight Ikram Aliskerov, who in his third fight for the company lands a match-up with a former champ and one of the best-known figures in the UFC.

As Aliskerov (15-1) outlined during this week’s media day, he’s well aware of what’s on the line this Saturday, which is why he was willing to halt a weight cut already underway for a fight with Antonio Trócol, in favor of a main event assignment against Robert Whittaker. “A short notice fight, with such an incredible opponent. I didn’t think about it at all, I knew to say yes. The second the opportunity presented itself, I got on a flight just to get here as soon as possible.”

Whittaker, known as “The Repear,” said on Wednesday that he planned on being the hunter against Aliskerov. Ikram himself has other ideas.

“I’m not used to be the prey over there in the octagon, I’m not used to somebody hunting me. So I’m going to be the one that going to surprise him, and unpleasantly surprise him by being a hunter myself. And I’m going to make sure that I do whatever I need to do to finish the fight.”

Part of what is driving Aliskerov heading into the fight is the live up to the faith the promotion has put in him, the Dagestani later explained.

“It’s great that the UFC sees this potential in me. Even the fights, where the fighters pulled out, all of those fights had big names, they had big stars I was supposed to fight,” he noted. “All it does is it keeps motivating me, keeps moving me forward. All I have to do now is I have to come out, and I have make sure that I show myself, and that I act on this trust that was given to me.”

Watch the full UFC Saudi Arabia media day appearance by Ikram Aliskerov above.