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Ikram Aliskerov: Robert Whittaker Rewatched My Fight with Khamzat 'A Million Times'



Ikram Aliskerov believes Robert Whittaker was well aware of his existence even before their fight got booked.

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Whittaker was originally scheduled to face Khamzat Chimaev in the main event at UFC on ABC 6 on June 22 in Saudi Arabia. Chimaev was forced out of the fight due to severe illness, and Aliskerov stepped up on short notice to replace “Borz”. The weight cut was not an issue for Aliskerov, as he was originally scheduled to face Brazilian debutant Antonio Trocoli at UFC on ESPN 58 on June 15.

While Whittaker was grateful to Aliskerov for stepping up on short notice, “Bobby Knuckes” claimed to have never heard of the Dagestani standout before their fight was announced. A seasoned veteran on the regional scene, Aliskerov believes Whittaker was lying and had repeatedly watched his tape even before their fight got booked. Aliskerov’s lone professional loss came via a first-round knockout against Chimaev under the Brave Combat Federation banner in 2019. Aliskerov believes Whittaker has watched that fight multiple times while preparing for the Chimaev booking.

“I think he was lying,” Aliskerov told Red Corner MMA. “I’m sure he rewatched my fight with Khamzat a million times because he was preparing for him.”

Aliskerov favored Chimaev to beat Whittaker before the fight got canceled and hopes his former foe gets back in fighting shape soon.

“Khamzat of course. We were all worried about Khamzat when we heard the news,” Aliskerov said. “I hope he gets well soon and gets back to business and makes us all happy. Khamzat was definitely the favorite to win.”

Aliskerov trains at KHK MMA Team under the tutelage of head coach Eldar Eldarov and several others who have been trained by Khabib Nurmagomedov’s father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov. Also hailing from Dagestan, Aliskerov naturally shares a bond with the Nurmagomedov. Aliskerov revealed that he had a word with Nurmagomedov after accepting the fight and the UFC Hall of Famer lauded his choice.

“Yes, after I took the fight I called Khabib,” Aliskerov said. “He said, ‘You can’t miss these chances. You have to fly here, sweat for two to three days.There’s also adaptation, it’s a 10-hour difference with Vegas here.’”

While Aliskerov also admitted to receiving some fight-related advice from Nurmagomedov, he refused to divulge any further information.

“We discussed it, but I won’t get into it,” Aliskerov said. “[Khabib said] ‘Pay attention because he is a striker. Be attentive and everything will work out.’”
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