Dana White’s Contender Series has provided a stage for many talented athletes every year. One such breakout star from the 2022 DWCS is Ikram Aliskerov. He had a spectacular performance on last night’s UFC 288. And if we were to believe UFC’s rising star, ‘Borz,’ the 30-year-old is his toughest opponent to date.
Khamzat has had a meteoric rise in the Las Vegas-based promotion, with one of the fastest turnaround times in the UFC’s history. He already has wins over Li Jingliang, Kevin Holland, and several others on his resume. Chimaev had a grueling welterweight war with ‘Durinho’ back in April 2022. However, the 29-year-old Swede has already made it clear about who’s been his toughest challenge yet, and the name is not Gilbert Burns.
During his UFC 279 media scrum, ‘Borz’ dismissed any idea of Gilbert being the toughest opponent he’s ever faced. He said, “I think one guy I met in Brave, Ikram Aliskerov, he has to be in the UFC. That guy’s good. I think he won five fights after me. That guy’s really good.”
Both Khamzat and Ikram locked horns in 2019 in the middle eastern promotion Brave Combat Federation. The result was a vicious first-round KO for the Swede through a clean uppercut. However, Aliskerov did manage to resist several of Khamzat’s takedowns and judo throws early into the contest, a feat not quite seen yet in the UFC.
Ikram has added himself to the long list of high-level wrestlers hailing from Dagestan. The Russian fighter is already a four-time world champion and has bagged two European championships in Combat Sambo. After going 3-0 in MMA, Ikram decided to pursue MMA full-time in 2017, which is when he signed with BCF.
At present, Aliskerov is 14-1 in his professional career, with the sole loss coming at the hands of Khamzat Chimaev. He has even fought in Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Eagle FC before.
What division does Ikram Aliskerov compete in the UFC?
Ikram Aliskerov competes in the middleweight division of the UFC. The 30-year-old first impressed the MMA community when he cruised through his DWCS debut. Aliskerov won his highly touted bout against Mario Filipe de Sousa via a Kimura inside the very first round.
After his first appearance under the banner in September 2022, Ikram made his way to UFC 288’s early prelim card. He competed against Phil Hawes, an American middleweight. The bout started off with heavy strikes, however, it didn’t last too long. Using a beautiful combination, Ikram knocked Hawes’ lights out in under 3 minutes of the first round.
Aliskerov’s stunning debut fight left fans and commentators screaming with excitement. Despite being a UFC newbie, the Russian has already got a taste of how it feels like to face a UFC elite, in Khamzat Chimaev. It is worth mentioning that the duo competed at welterweight in their previous cage outing. A bad weight cut is what could have been a reason for his KO loss that night, as per Ikram.
After his UFC 288 victory, Aliskerov seemed to get a lot of love from the fans and fellow Russians. One such athlete to congratulate him was the reigning lightweight champion, Islam Makhachev. The 31-year-old took to Twitter and said, “Congrats brother Ikram! Great debut in @ufc Another Combat Sambo Representative here.“
Congrats brother Ikram! Great debut in @ufc Another Combat Sambo Representative here 👊🏼 pic.twitter.com/27h9beIwDN
— Makhachev Islam (@MAKHACHEVMMA) May 7, 2023
Much like his elite supporters, Ikram is a highly talented Sambo practitioner who has won gold medals in major championships. In his post-fight Octagon speech, Aliskerov wasted no time and called out Bo Nickal for a potential showdown. While in the post-fight presser, the 30-year-old also mentioned a rematch with Chimaev.
Will we get to see Aliskerov and ‘Borz’ reignite their BRAVE rivalry in the Las Vegas-based promotion? Fans also speculate this could be another Pereira-Adesanya storyline in the making. What are your thoughts on Ikram Aliskerov? Let us know in the comments down below.