Israel Adesanya expects Robert Whittaker to ‘beat the brakes’ off Ikram Aliskerov at UFC Saudi Arabia

Israel Adesanya expects Robert Whittaker to 'beat the brakes' off Ikram Aliskerov at UFC Saudi Arabia

Israel Adesanya expects to see Robert Whittaker “beat the brakes” off Ikram Aliskerov.

Stepping into the main event spotlight on Saturday night in Saudi Arabia, ‘The Reaper’ was expected to square off with undefeated Chechen monster Khamzat Chimaev in a bout that had title eliminator written all over it. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case after ‘Borz’ became “violently ill” a week ahead of fight night.

Khamzat Chimaev out of Robert Whittaker fight

Replacing Chimaev will be Russian standout Ikram Aliskerov who will be making his third walk to the Octagon after a couple of stellar first-round finishes against Phil Hawes and Warlley Alves.

Robert Whittaker vs. Aliskerov

If he can score a win against Whittaker in Riyadh, he’ll thrust himself from an unranked newcomer to a legitimate top-five contender.

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‘The Last Stylebender’ doesn’t see that happening.

“This is a banger of a fight,” Adesanya said of Whittaker vs. Aliskerov on his YouTube channel. “Also, this guy [Aliskerov], who did he last beat? Warlley Alves. It’s a big step up in competition though against Rob. Rob is a former champion, still on the hunt, still dangerous. I’m picking Rob in this fight.

“I think Robert is going to beat the brakes off this guy from Round 2 onwards. I think Rob gets past Round 1, he starts to put it on this guy, he’s going to feel a different beast. But, who knows? We’ll see. We haven’t seen him against competition like this yet. I just know how good Rob is so, I’m going to go Rob probably [Round] 3 or 4 TKO.”

Robert Whittaker could secure a title fight with a win at UFC Saudi Arabia

Adesanya knows firsthand just how tough Robert Whittaker is, having thrown hands with the New Zealander on two separate occasions. The ‘Stylebender’ came out on top in both instances, but ‘The Reaper’ is convinced that he can get the job done given a third opportunity.

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With a win over Aliskerov, Whittaker may get that chance—depending on how things play out when Adesanya returns to challenge reigning middleweight world champion Dricus Du Plessis at UFC 305 on August 17.

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