Who is Ikram Aliskerov? UFC star booked to face Paulo Costa at UFC 291

Born and raised in Dagestan, Ikram Aliskerov began his journey in combat sports at a young age. He quickly developed a reputation as a prodigious talent in Dagestani wrestling, honing his skills through rigorous training and dedication. A

Aliskerov’s expertise extends beyond wrestling, as he has also achieved remarkable success in combat sambo. As a four-time world champion and a two-time European champion in combat sambo, Aliskerov’s accolades speak volumes about his prowess in these disciplines. He belonged to the infamous team of Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov.

Aliskerov is currently 14-1 in MMA – with his sole defeat coming from Khamzat Chimaev.

But despite the rivalry, Aliskerov has Chimaev;s endorsement.

A while ago, Chimaev revealed that the greatest challenger he faced in MMA was Ikram Aliskerov.

In their 2019 clash at Brave CF 23, Chimaev emerged victorious with a first-round knockout, but not before Aliskerov displayed his resilience by countering several of Chimaev’s takedowns and judo throws.

“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.”

Aliskerov made his UFC debut on May 6th against Phil Hawes.

In an attempt to outshine Francis Ngannou’s PFL contract announcement, UFC announced a slew of matchups for their Salt lake city card.

It’s worth noting that this card is set in Utah – at elevation. Which was somewhat problematic back at UFC 278. On that card, Costa defeated Luke Rockhold despite both of them visibly gassing at the altitude.

Aliskerov made it to the UFC thanks to a stint on DWCS so he’s unlikely to have a big contract or a way to spend enough time to acclimate in Utah. But considering he hails out of the mountains of Dagestan he certainly has a chance.

Costa was previously in discussions to face Chimaev in October of 2023 in Abu Dhabi however it seems he was eager for a quicker turn around. This will be the first time Costa competes on his new contract.