Whittaker knocks out Aliskerov, Volkov beats Pavlovich in Riyadh’s UFC ‘Fight Night’

RIYADH: Australian mixed martial arts star Robert Whittaker knocked out Ikram Sabirovich Aliskerov in 2 minutes in the first round of the middleweight main event of the inaugural UFC “Fight Night” in Riyadh late on Saturday.

Aliskerov was withdrawn from Saturday’s UFC event in Las Vegas to replace his compatriot Khamzat Chimaev, who withdrew due to illness.

Aliskerov was labeled a “legitimate contender” by UFC CEO and President Dana White, as he was on a seven-fight winning streak and had only lost one of his 16 bouts. His only loss was against Chimaev.

Whittaker started the fight with precision strikes to keep Aliskerov at bay, while Aliskerov countered with powerful takedowns and effective ground control, keeping the crowd on the edge of their seats.

But Whittaker, who was nicknamed “The Reaper” because of his famous 1-2 high kick combination that took down many opponents, was too much for him: he won by knockout at 1:49 of the first round, cementing his status. class leader.

“I’m the most dangerous middleweight on the planet. Everyone knows that,” Whittaker declared at the press conference following his victory.

In the heavyweight co-main event, Aleksandr Volkov defeated his Russian compatriot Sergey Pavlovich by unanimous decision.

UFC Saudi Arabia “Fight Night” match results.

Earlier, Kelvin Gastelum beat fellow American Daniel Rodriguez by unanimous decision in his middleweight match.

Pavlovic stood out aggressively, landing significant blows at the beginning of the fight. However, Volkov showed impressive tenacity and striking accuracy and gradually turned the tide.

In the dramatic third round, Volkov landed a decisive head kick, followed by a flurry of punches that led to his victory. The crowd erupted in applause, appreciating the skill and tenacity of both fighters.

The undercard featured several up-and-coming talents who took their chance to shine. Felipe Lima, a promising featherweight prospect, turned in an outstanding performance with a third-round submission victory (back choke) over Muhammad Naimov. Lima’s seamless transition from striking to grappling highlighted his potential as a future star in the division.

In the lightweight bout, Muin Gafurov wowed the crowd with his striking precision and footwork, winning by unanimous decision over Kyung Ho Kang. The technical knowledge demonstrated by the two fighters testifies to the high level of UFC competition.

There were two other knockouts on fight night: Shara Magomedov knocked out Antonio Trocoli at 2:27 of the third round, and Volkan Oezdemir knocked out Johnny Walker at 2:28 of the first round.

The success of UFC Fight Night in Riyadh reinforces the growing interest in MMA in the region and sets the stage for future events. UFC President Dana White expressed his excitement at the success of the evening and discussed more events in the Middle East. “The energy and passion of the fans in Riyadh was incredible. We are thrilled with tonight’s success and look forward to bringing more world-class UFC events to this part of the world,” said White.

“We sold more than 12,000 seats. It was good, it was good to come to this market. I love how passionate Turki AlAsheikh is about the sport,” said White. “This region now has a lot of talent coming from here (Saudi Arabia and the Middle East).

UFC Fight Night at Kingdom Arena wasn’t just about the fights; it was a celebration of MMA’s global reach and cultural significance. The event attracted a diverse crowd, including local fans, international visitors, and celebrities from the world of sports and entertainment. The atmosphere in the Kingdom Arena was electric, with enthusiastic fans rooting for their favorite fighters and enjoying every moment of the action-packed night.

The success of UFC Fight Night in Riyadh highlights the growing interest in MMA in the region and sets the stage for future events.

With exciting fights, outstanding performances and an unforgettable atmosphere, the night will be remembered as a significant milestone in the history of the UFC and a testament to the popularity of the sport.

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