Khamzat Chimaev opens as betting favorite to beat Robert Whittaker in UFC Saudi Arabia headliner

Robert Whittaker knocks back UFC fight with Khamzat Chimaev next that doesn't move me

Booked for the most high-profile Octagon walk of his promotional tenure so far, ahead of his UFC Fight Night Saudi Arabia return against ex-champion, Robert Whittaker in June, unbeaten contender, Khamzat Chimaev has opened as an impressive betting favorite to emerge with the win in the pair’s title-eliminator. 

Chimaev, the current number eleven ranked middleweight contender, has been sidelined since last October, most recently turning in a thirteenth consecutive victory in a close, majority decision win over former welterweight best, Kamaru Usman.

And as for former middleweight champion, Whittaker, the Auckland-born contender most recently landed a decision win over former title challenger, Paulo Costa, in a hard-fought judging win over the Brazilian.

And coming as Khamzat Chimaev’s biggest test – certainly at the middleweight limit to date in his brief Octagon tenure, Whittaker has opened as a current +160 betting underdog to beat the -144 betting favorite Chimaev this summer at UFC Fight Night Saudi Arabia in their June headliner. 

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Khamzat Chimaev Betting Favorite

Khamzat Chimaev labelled a crybaby after attacking UFC boss Dana White over title fight
Manadatory Credit: Zuffa LLC

Ahead of the promotion’s first outing in Riyadh later this summer, many outlets and bookies – including some of the best crypto-friendly betting platforms are offering fans and punters alike the chance to bet and wager on Robert Whittaker’s potential title eliminator against Khamzat Chimaev. 

“Obviously, it’s a bit of a shock because it comes out of nowhere,” Robert Whittaker said. “I would have assumed UFC was going to hold me in the ranks for the Australia card in August, which is kind of what I was preparing for. But, I’m happy UFC has given me this boon. This is my path to the title.”

“This is the way I earn money for my kids,” Robert Whittaker explained. “To be able to do that so close – like I’ve said in other episodes, I want to increase my activity. God willing, and my body’s healthy, there’s no reason I shouldn’t take this fight. What else am I going to be doing?”

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And earlier today, Chimaev briefly called for the first-ever 10 round fight in the history of the promotion against Whittaker in Riyadh, before deleting his post on social media.

The Chechen native’s calls come off the back of a prior word of warning from former middleweight champion, Michael Bisping, who questioned if Khamzat Chimaev was even ready for the pace and pressure of a five round fight with a pace-pushing fighter like Whittaker. 

“Automatically, if you’re in the corner of Khamzat Chimaev, you’ve got to be concerned,” Michael Bisping said. “One thing Robert Whittaker is not going to do is run out of gas. He’s a very, very experienced fighter, fighting at the highest level for a long time. Without getting into the Xs and Os, the obvious thing is Khamzat always gasses.”

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“He’s a tremendous force of nature, the way he takes people down and dominates them right from the opening bell,” Bisping explained. “He did the same thing against Kamaru Usman. Granted, didn’t get the finish, but he definitely did slow down. Against Gilbert Burns, the same thing happened. He had a great round one, [rounds] two and three were kind of close. Five rounds against somebody like Robert Whittaker, if he can’t finish him early, that could be a disastrous night for him in Saudi Arabia.”