Ilir Latifi

The Sledgehammer


Removed from UFC roster
June 6, 2023
Latifi was removed from the UFC roster Tuesday, reports.
Latifi has completed his latest UFC contract, and the promotion has opted to move forward without extending him. The 39-year-old Swedish fighter was 9-7 during his time in the UFC, and he finished with wins in two of his last three fights.
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Can't solve Rodrigo Nascimento
May 20, 2023
Latifi lost to Rodrigo Nascimento via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 28-29) at UFC Fight Night on Saturday in Las Vegas.
Latifi didn't fight as well as the "split decision" term would lead you to believe. He was overwhelmed by Nascimento on the feet the entire fight, with Latifi's lone offense being generated following a pair of successful takedown attempts, one coming in each of the final two frames. Latifi is extremely strong and keeps himself in excellent shape at age 39, but he's woefully undersized for the heavyweight division at just 5-foot-10, making it virtually impossible for him to consistently get inside and damage his opposition in the stand-up. The Swede had a brief, two-fight winning streak snapped here.
Set to fight in May
March 10, 2023
Latifi is set to square off against Rodrigo Nascimento at a UFC event on May 20, Marcel Dorff of reports.
Latifi will be fighting for the first time since the beginning of October. The 39-year-old is coming off a convincing win over Aleksei Oleinik and will look to make it four straight victories by defeating Nascimento in just over two months' time.
Suspension finalized
November 16, 2022
Latifi has been suspended three months by the Nevada Athletic Commission due to his failure to disclose a medical condition in advance of his Oct. 1 matchup against Aleksei Oleinik, Marc Raimondi of ESPN reports.
A suspension was inevitable for Latifi, though its ultimate length wasn't finalized until the NAC's most recent hearing. The UFC has moved on from 39-year-olds who have been suspended in the past, but giving Latifi's two-fight winning streak and the lack of depth at heavyweight, it seems likely he'll be back in the Octagon in 2023.
Suspended by NSAC
October 18, 2022
Latifi has been temporarily suspended by the Nevada Athletic Commission due to his failure to disclose a medical condition in advance of his Oct. 1 victory over Aleksei Oleinik, Nolan King of USA Today reports.
Following his victory via unanimous decision, Latifi admitted in his post-fight interview that he had been battling a staph infection leading up to the fight. This type of information was supposed to be disclosed in his pre-fight medicals and could have very well led to the bout getting cancelled. It's unclear how long the heavyweight fighter will be on the sidelines.
Easy decision win in Vegas
October 1, 2022
Latifi defeated Aleksei Oleinik via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) at UFC Fight Night on Saturday in Las Vegas.
It would have been nice to see Latifi earn the stoppage against his 45-year-old opponent, but Ilir needs victories any way he can secure them these days. Latifi went to his wrestling game despite knowing a submission was Oleinik's only clear path to a potential victory. He landed 3-of-6 takedown attempts, good for 8:29 worth of control time. He kept Oleinik pinned to the mat for long stretches in all three rounds, making the end result academic by the time the final bell rang. Latifi, at age 39, is likely better suited to fight at heavyweight as opposed to 205 pounds, but the fact he will be giving up a ton of size to most every opponent he faces makes a prolonged winning streak unlikely.