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Ilir Latifi is well prepared for record-hunting submission specialist: “Comfortable everywhere”



Ilir Latifi skon seger Tanner Boser UFC MMA Frontkick Online

Swedish UFC fighter Ilir Latifi will fight veteran Aleksei Oleinik in Las Vegas on Saturday. Photo: Thomas Shea – USA TODAY Sports

At 45 years of age, veteran Aleksei Oleinik is the oldest active fighter in the promotion. On Saturday he faces Swedish former light heavyweight Ilir “Sledgehammer” Latifi in Las Vegas.

The Russian has seven submission victories in UFC heavyweight, which is second-most in the division’s history. Only the legendary Frank Mir has more with his eight submissions, and on Saturday, Oleinik has the chance to become Mir’s equal.

However, standing in his way is the strong and explosive Latifi, who looked sharp since moving up to the heavyweight division in February 2020. In a recent interview with SVT Sport, the Swede claimed that he is ready to face the veteran both standing and on the mat.

“He is tricky in the cage. He’s got a lot of experience so it’s a tough challenge,” Latifi said. “I will work with pressure and try to get in his messy fighting style on the ground. I’ve prepared to be able to get the fight where it needs to be; standing or on the mat, I’m comfortable everywhere.”

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Ilir Latifi is 1-1 in heavyweight

Since moving up to heavyweight, Ilir Latifi is 1-1 with a win against Tanner Boser and a debated decision loss against Derrick Lewis. Many considered that the 39-year-old Swede did more than enough to win the tough bout against Lewis.

Aleksei Oleinik is historic as the first fighter in MMA history to win bouts in four different decades. He has a record of 60-16-1, with a staggering 55 stoppage wins, including 38 first-round submissions. However, he is 1-3 in his last UFC fights.

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