Ilir Latifi
The Sledgehammer


Drops decision to Derrick Lewis
February 8, 2020
Latifi lost to Derrick Lewis via unanimous decision (28-29, 28-29, 28-29) at UFC 247 on Saturday in Houston.
Latifi made a concerted effort to limit the time and space of Lewis, and for the most part, he did a good job. He ate a dozen or so shots that would have felled any mere mortal, but Latifi tied Lewis up whenever possible and was credited with three successful takedowns on six attempts. The issue for Latifi was that he did nothing with his positional advantage. It became immediately clear all Latifi was trying to do was hold Lewis on his back. The fact Latifi managed to last 15 minutes with a power puncher like Lewis in his heavyweight debut is a good sign, but his durability was never in question. Latifi is going to be undersized against most every man in the division and he simply doesn't possess the offensive arsenal to finish his opposition.
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Facing Derrick Lewis in February
November 18, 2019
Latifi is expected to take on Derrick Lewis in a heavyweight match on Feb. 8, in an event which is expected to take place in Houston, reports.
Latifi has been a light heavyweight since 2009 and will face a tough opponent in his first heavyweight fight in over a decade, as Lewis was fighting to the heavyweight title as recently as November of 2018. He lost that match as well as his next one, but bounced back with a victory over Blagoy Ivanov in his most recent match. Latifi is coming off a pair of losses himself.
Moving to heavyweight
October 14, 2019
Latifi is planning to move to heavyweight for his next fight, John Morgan of reports.
Latifi began his professional career at heavyweight, which included a no contest and a knockout win prior to his move to light heavyweight in 2009. The 36-year-old has suffered losses in his last two fights, and a change in weight class could help to get things back on track. Latifi carries a 15-7 record as a professional fighter, including a 7-5 UFC record.
Struggles to land his power shots
August 10, 2019
Latifi lost to Volkan Oezdemir via TKO (punches) at 4:26 of Round 2 at UFC Fight Night in Montevideo, Uruguay on Saturday.
When Latifi is able to land his power strikes, he can have impressive performances. Oezdemir had enough reach and striking acumen to keep that from happening in this fight. Latifi struggled to land anything with significance and suffered knockdowns in both the first and second rounds. Towards the end of the second round, he ate a hard shot and the referee stepped in. Latifi did not have a good showing here, but he certainly isn't going anywhere due to the shallow nature of the UFC light heavyweight division.
Fight with Oezdemir moved to Uruguay
July 23, 2019
Latifi's (15-5-0, 1 NC) scheduled light heavyweight fight with Volkan Oezdemir (15-4-0) will now take place Aug. 10 at UFC Uruguay.
The Latifi-Oezdemir fight has already been subjected to three scheduling changes, as the two were initially slated to enter the Octagon on June 1 in Stockholm. After Latifi was forced to withdraw from the fight due to a back injury, the two agreed to meet at UFC Newark on Aug. 3, but the latest choice to push back the fight seems to be on the promotion's part. Latifi last fought in December in Los Angeles, losing to Corey Anderson via unanimous decision.
Fight rescheduled for UFC Newark
June 25, 2019
Latifi (back) will square off against Volkan Oezdemir at UFC Newark on Aug. 3.
Latifi was forced to withdraw from UFC Stockholm due to a back injury. Fortunately, it appears the issue was minor enough to allow him to make an appearance in the cage just a couple months later. Latifi won't have the home crowd on his side in Newark as he looks to get back in the win column after taking a loss versus Corey Anderson via unanimous decision in his last bout Dec. 29 of last year.