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Ikram Aliskerov Hesitant to Rethink Paulo Costa Bout After UFC 294

Fighters depend on their opponents to show up, ready to battle, and fans rely on fighters to deliver on their promises. When it comes to Russian middleweight Ikram Aliskerov, trust has become a central issue in his budding UFC career.

After only two fights within the organization, Aliskerov has faced a string of unforeseen challenges, leaving him questioning whether he can trust one particular opponent - the formidable Paulo Costa.

Aliskerov's UFC journey began with a bang when he dispatched Phil Hawes in just over two minutes in May. A showdown with Costa was scheduled for July, but Costa's contractual disputes led to the fight's postponement, and then cancellation. The Russian fighter was then matched against Nassourine Imaov at UFC 294, only for visa issues to replace Imaov with Warlley Alves. Aliskerov didn't miss a beat, securing his third-straight first-round finish with a spectacular jumping switch knee.

When asked about the possibility of revisiting the fight with Costa, Aliskerov's response was laden with uncertainty:

"Yeah, I'd like to fight him, but I don't know if I can trust him anymore."

His doubts stem from Costa's history of withdrawing from fights, often leaving his opponents and fans disappointed. Aliskerov wanted to confront Costa personally during their time in Abu Dhabi, but the fight never materialized. He expressed his frustration by saying,

"If you promise something, if you say you're going to take a fight, you've got to fight. That's what a man does."

Aliskerov's training efforts were considerable, and he felt let down when Costa withdrew at the last minute.

Costa's recent withdrawal from a fight against Khamzat Chimaev due to a staph infection only deepened Aliskerov's reservations. Aliskerov had previously fought Chimaev in 2019, and he was skeptical of Costa's commitment to any fight, predicting that "even from this fight he was going to take off."

The uncertainty surrounding Paulo Costa's reliability has left Aliskerov, and many fans, questioning whether they can trust the Brazilian fighter in the future.


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