UFC Saudi Arabia Adds 5 Fights Including Huge Main Event

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“We want to make it the best ‘Fight Night’ we’ve ever done,” that’s what UFC CEO Dana White had to say about the promotion’s first-ever event in Saudi Arabia and from the looks of it, it very well could be. 

A High-Stakes Headliner At 185lbs

On Wednesday, White would announce the main event for UFC Saudi Arabia along with a slew of matchups on the card. Middleweights make up the marquee as former UFC Champion Robert Whittaker defends his top spot against undefeated contender Khamzat Chimaev.

The event is scheduled for June 20th at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and will air on ABC. The UFC’s first touch down in Riyadh was supposed to take place earlier this year but was ultimately reshuffled for the summer.

#3 ranked Whittaker fights way down the ladder as he meets #11 Chimaev. It’s nothing new for Whittaker though as he’s faced just about everybody the UFC has offered him in his conquest to reclaim the world title, which was taken by Israel Adesanya in 2019.

Beating ‘The Reaper’ is no easy feat as Whittaker has only lost to two men in the last decade: Adesanya (twice) and current middleweight kingpin Dricus Du Plessis. Looking past the losses, the former champ’s resume includes wins over Yoel Romero, Jared Cannonier, Marvin Vettori and most recently Paulo Costa, who he beat at UFC 298 in February.

Chimaev’s competition continues to get bigger and badder as the 29 year-old enters what could possibly be his last fight as a contender. A convincing win over Whittaker could turn the undefeated fighter into a title challenger overnight. 

‘Borz’ was under that same impression in his last fight against former champ Kamaru Usman at UFC 294, but didn’t have the performance he wanted with a hand injury occurring in the opening round. Chimaev will look to make 15-0 this summer, with past wins coming over Usman, Kevin Holland and Gilbert Burns.

The Rest Of The Card

Of course, that’s not all of the action as four more fights join the UFC Saudi Arabia undercard. 

Knockout artists collide at light heavyweight with Johnny Walker taking on Volkan ‘No Time’ Oezdemir. Even with 28 KO’s combined between them, they’re not the heaviest hitters on the card. The bragging rights go to Russia’s Alexander Volkov and Sergei Pavlovich as the countrymen battle each other in the weight class above.

Volkov was originally scheduled against Jailton Almeida at UFC 302, but it looks like the promotion ended up going a different direction for ‘Drago’ altogether.

‘The Ultimate Fighter 17’ champion Kelvin Gastelum stays at welterweight after Sean Brady foiled his return to the division back in December. Gastelum is slated to face California’s own Daniel Rodriguez in his next matchup. ‘D-Rod’ attempts to rebound from back-to-back losses to Ian Garry and Neil Magny.

Last but certainly not least is a middleweight booking between Shara Magomedov and Ihor Potieria. The undefeated Magomedov is coming off an explosive promotional debut at UFC 294, where he defeated Bruno Silva. He’ll try to keep the momentum going in his sequel fight in the Octagon.

Check out the confirmed UFC Saudi Arabia line-up below:

  • Robert Whittaker vs. Khamzat Chimaev
  • Sergei Pavlovich vs. Alexander Volkov
  • Nasrat Haqparast vs. Jared Gordon
  • Johnny Walker vs. Volkan Oezdemir
  • Shara Magomedov vs. Ihor Potieria
  • Kelvin Gastelum vs. Daniel Rodriguez

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Christopher De Santiago is a 22 year-old journalist out of Texas with years of experience covering MMA. Follow him on X: @chris_dsantiago

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