UFC Saudi Arabia Predictions and Betting Odds

ufc saudi arabia
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Turki Alalshikh’s gargantuan effort to turn the middle east into a hub for combat sports has finally brought the Octagon to Riyad for UFC Saudi Arabia. After last minute shuffle, newcomer Ikram Aliskerov will get his biggest opportunity to date against former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker in the main event.

Related: 10 Best Finishes of UFC Saudi Arabia Fighters Including Robert Whittaker’s KO of Jacare Souza

Robert Whittaker (25-7) vs. Ikram Aliskerov (15-1)

It was a long winding road to get to this point for both Robert Whittaker and Ikram Aliskerov but here we are. Whittaker was supposed to either stop the hype train or be a stepping stone for the now “violently ill” Khamzat Chimaev

Aliskerov now faces a dramatic leap in competition on short notice after preparing for Andre Muniz and Antonio Trocoli before being moved from last week’s Apex Center show to fill in for the only man to defeat him.

Even with the power Aliskerov clearly possesses, he is behind the eight ball here. Having never even trained for a five-rounder, Whittaker’s depth of experience down the stretch should serve him well here provided he can escape an initial burst of offense. Unless his durability is no longer there, this should be a showcase for the veteran. 

Prediction: Whittaker by TKO, Round 4

Sergei Pavlovich (18-2) vs. Alexander Volkov (37-10)

Two proven Russian strikers face off in the co-main event. Alexander Volkov is coming off a trio of stoppage wins hoping for first shot at UFC gold. Pavlovich wants to reinsert himself in the title conversation after failing to capture the interim crown against Tom Aspinall in November. 

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Volkov has the tools to win this. His reach advantage and pure technical ability on the feet can give Pavlovich plenty of problems. However, even when he’s checking all of the boxes, Volkov is hittable. Pavlovich should be able to find a home for a series of fight-ending power punches.

Prediction: Pavlovich by KO, round 2

Johnny Walker (21-8) vs. Volkan Oezdemir (19-7)

ufc saudi arabia
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A few years ago the light heavyweight contest between Johnny Walker and Volkan Oezdemir would have been surefire adrenaline injection into the card. The current versions of both men may still be capable of some of the jaw-dropping displays of violence, but it’s more likely this becomes a far slower affair.

Walker’s superior size and athleticism should be able to keep Oezdemir from getting too comfortable on the feet or succeeding in bringing things to the canvas. If the Brazilian maintains a good amount of the discipline he’s shown since joining SBG Ireland, he should get a decision win.

Prediction: Walker by Decision

Kelvin Gastelum (18-9) vs. Daniel Rodriguez (17-4)

ufc saudi arabia
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Daniel Rodriguez would’ve been a tailor-made opponent for Kelvin Gastelum in the past. The combination of sneakily good boxing and strong wrestling ability would have given “D-Rod” fits. Unfortunately for the TUF winner, things are much different now.

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Weight management issues that mandated an extended trip to middleweight and some hard battles have left Gastelum noticeably depleted. Expect Rodriguez to end his 2-fight skid with punches at range. If he forces the issue, it could get ugly. But, Gastelum has yet to be finished via strikes.

Prediction: Rodriguez by Decision

Complete UFC Saudi Arabia Predictions and Odds

Main Card

  • Robert Whittaker (-148) vs. Ikram Aliskerov (+124): Whittaker by TKO, Round 4
  • Sergei Pavlovich (-218) vs. Alexander Volkov (+180): Pavlovich by KO, Round 2
  • Kelvin Gastelum (-250) vs. Daniel Rodriguez (+205): Rodriguez by Decision
  • Shara Magomedov (-258) vs. Antonio Trocoli (+210): Magomedov by Decision
  • Johnny Walker (-115) vs. Volkan Oezdemir (-105): Walker by Decision

Preliminary Card

  • Nasrat Haqparast (-238) vs. Jared Gordon (+195): Haqparast by TKO, Round 2
  • Muhammad Naimov (-108) vs. Felipe Lima (-112): Naimov by Decision
  • Rinat Fakhretdinov (-355) vs. Nicolas Dalby (+280): Dalby by Decision
  • Muin Gafurov (-155) vs. Kyung Ho Kang (+130): Gafurov by Decision
  • Magomed Gadzhiyasulov (-325) vs. Brendson Ribeiro (+260): Gadzhiyasulov by TKO, Round 3
  • Xiao Long (-115) vs. Changho Lee (-105): Long by Decision

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Ant Walker is a native of the Washington DC area that now lives in Los Angeles. He has been... More about Anthony Walker

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