Ilir Latifi

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Ilir Latifi
Born (1983-07-28) July 28, 1983 (age 33)
Malmö, Sweden
Other names The Sledgehammer
The Bricklayer
Lyftkranen från Rosengård
Nationality Swedish
Ethnicity Albanian
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)[1]
Weight 205 lb (93 kg; 14.6 st)
Division Light Heavyweight (2009-current)
Heavyweight (2008)
Reach 73 in (185 cm)[1]
Style Wrestling, Boxing, Submission Wrestling
Fighting out of Malmö, Sweden
Team Allstars Training Center
Pancrase Gym Sweden
American Top Team
Malmö Tigers (Wrestling)
Trainer Andreas Michael
Selman Berisha
Wrestling Swedish national level[2]
Years active 2008–present
Mixed martial arts record
Total 18
Wins 12
By knockout 5
By submission 4
By decision 3
Losses 5
By knockout 3
By decision 2
No contests 1
Other information
Notable relatives Arben Latifi (brother)
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

Ilir Latifi (Albanian pronunciation: [ɪˈlɪɾ lɒˈtcifi]; can be written as Illir Latyiphi; born July 28, 1983) is a Swedish mixed martial artist who competes in the Light Heavyweight division of the UFC. A two-time national wrestling champion,[3] and a professional MMA competitor since 2008, Latifi has spent the bulk of his MMA career fighting in second-tier and regional promotions, such as Shark Fights and Rumble of The Kings, but has also had experience in the GLORY.[4] As of 8 March 2016, he is ranked #13 in the light heavyweight division by the UFC.[5]

Mixed martial arts career[edit]

Background[edit]

With a considerable number of wrestlers in his family, Latifi began wrestling at a young age.[6] Latifi continued to wrestle in order to pursue his dream of one day being world champion.[6] In 2005, he began to follow in his older brother's footsteps by training MMA as a result of his dissatisfaction with the constant rule changes in wrestling.[6][7] Latifi competed at the 2005 ADCC European trials, where his division was won by Alistair Overeem,[8] but he did not earn a spot at the 2005 ADCC championships. Although Latifi did not compete at the 2009 ADCC European Trials, he was invited to the 2009 ADCC Championships, where he lost in the first round to Alexandre Ribeiro via points (2-0).[9]

Early career[edit]

His first professional MMA fight was in 2008 with the Real Pain Challenge promotion against future Bellator fighter and WSOF Heavyweight champion Blagoi Ivanov. However, the fight was ruled a no contest 55 seconds into the first round, as Latifi drove Ivanov into one of the posts on the ring and destroyed it.[10]

He holds a notable win over Tony Lopez and has also fought against current Bellator Light Heavyweight champion and former MFC Light Heavyweight Champion Emanuel Newton and Tatsuya Mizuno. His early career success has led to Latifi being ranked as one of the top Light Heavyweights in Europe.[11][12]

He became the first Superior Challenge Light Heavyweight Champion after defeating Jorge Oliveira for the vacant belt on October 6, 2012 at Superior Challenge 8.[13]

Ultimate Fighting Championship[edit]

Latifi made his UFC debut against at the time #10 ranked, former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Gegard Mousasi on April 6, 2013 at UFC on Fuel TV 9, on four days notice,[14] reportedly cutting weight from 105 kg (231 lbs) to 93,4 kg (206 lbs),[15] replacing his injured training partner Alexander Gustafsson.[16] Latifi lost to Mousasi by unanimous decision.[14] After the fight UFC President Dana White praised Latifi for taking a fight against a top 10 fighter like Mousasi on such short notice and promised that Latifi would get another fight in the promotion.[17]

In his second fight for the promotion, Latifi fought MMA- and kickboxing veteran Cyrille Diabaté on March 8, 2014 at UFC Fight Night 37.[18] Latifi won the fight by submission due to a ninja choke in the first round.[19] His opponent, Diabaté retired from MMA and the UFC following his loss to Latifi.[20]

Latifi was later expected to face Tom Lawlor on July 19, 2014 at UFC Fight Night 46.[21] However, Lawlor later had to withdraw from the bout citing an injury,[22] and was replaced by promotional newcomer Chris Dempsey.[23] Latifi effectively used leg kicks to disable his opponent, before finishing him with punches, ending the fight by a first-round knockout.[24][25]

Latifi faced promotional newcomer Jan Błachowicz on October 4, 2014 at UFC Fight Night 53.[26] He lost the fight via TKO in the first round after being visibly hurt by a kick to the liver, which Błachowicz capitalized on.[27][28]

Latifi next faced Hans Stringer on July 18, 2015 at UFC Fight Night 72.[29] He won the fight by knockout after dropping Stringer with an overhand right and following up with punches on the ground, stopping the fight 56 seconds into the first round.[30]

Latifi faced Sean O'Connell on January 17, 2016 at UFC Fight Night 81.[31] He won the fight by knockout, having landed a vicious overhand right that wobbled O'Connell, followed by a right hook that dropped him to the canvas, 28 seconds into the first round.[32][33] Following the fight, Latifi expressed his desire to fight in a main event in his hometown Malmö.[34]

Latifi faced Gian Villante on March 5, 2016 at UFC 196.[35] He won the fight by unanimous decision, after capitalizing on both his punching power and superior wrestling.[36]

Latifi next faced Ryan Bader on September 3, 2016 at UFC Fight Night 93.[37] He lost the fight via knockout in the second round.[38]

Latifi was expected to face Antônio Rogério Nogueira on June 25, 2017 at UFC Fight Night 112.[39] However, Nogueira pulled out of the fight citing a neck injury. Promotion officials have not confirmed whether or not Latifi would remain on the card against a new opponent, or rescheduled for another event.[40]

Personal life[edit]

Latifi, a native of Malmö grew up in the same urban district Rosengård, as famed Swedish football player and childhood friend Zlatan Ibrahimović.[41] Of Albanian origin, Latifi's parents emigrated from Kosovo in the 1960s.[41][42] His brother Arben Latifi, who Ilir has described as his greatest influence in life,[43] is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and was one of the pioneers of Swedish MMA in the early days, winning both the championship in European Open BJJ and the Panamerican Championship during his active career.[44]

In 2016, Latifi was awarded role model of the year and received the most votes for the people's choice award in the annual Swedish martial arts awards ceremony Kampsportsgalan.[45]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Mixed martial arts[edit]

Submission wrestling[edit]

  • Abu Dhabi Combat Club
    • 2004 ADCC European Qualifiers Winner[48]

Amateur wrestling[edit]

  • Swedish Wrestling Federation
    • 2001 Nordic Championship Junior -97 kg (213 lbs) Grecco-Roman Champion[49][50]
    • 2005 Swedish National Light Heavyweight Grecco-Roman 3rd Place[50]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 12–5 (1) Ryan Bader KO (knee) UFC Fight Night: Arlovski vs. Barnett September 3, 2016 2 2:06 Hamburg, Germany
Win 12–4 (1) Gian Villante Decision (unanimous) UFC 196 March 5, 2016 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 11–4 (1) Sean O'Connell KO (punches) UFC Fight Night: Dillashaw vs. Cruz January 17, 2016 1 0:30 Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Win 10–4 (1) Hans Stringer KO (punches) UFC Fight Night: Bisping vs. Leites July 18, 2015 1 0:56 Glasgow, Scotland
Loss 9–4 (1) Jan Błachowicz TKO (body kick and punches) UFC Fight Night: Nelson vs. Story October 4, 2014 1 1:58 Stockholm, Sweden
Win 9–3 (1) Chris Dempsey KO (punches) UFC Fight Night: McGregor vs. Brandao July 19, 2014 1 2:07 Dublin, Ireland
Win 8–3 (1) Cyrille Diabaté Submission (ninja choke) UFC Fight Night: Gustafsson vs. Manuwa March 8, 2014 1 3:02 London, England
Loss 7–3 (1) Gegard Mousasi Decision (unanimous) UFC on Fuel TV: Mousasi vs. Latifi April 6, 2013 3 5:00 Stockholm, Sweden
Win 7–2 (1) Jorge Oliveira Decision (unanimous) Superior Challenge 8 October 6, 2012 3 5:00 Malmö, Sweden Won the SC Light Heavyweight Championship.
Win 6–2 (1) Tony Lopez Decision (unanimous) Glory 1: Stockholm May 26, 2012 3 5:00 Stockholm, Sweden
Win 5–2 (1) Denis Bogdanov Submission (americana) United Glory 15 March 23, 2012 1 0:51 Moscow, Russia
Loss 4–2 (1) Emanuel Newton Decision (unanimous) Shark Fights 17: Horwich vs. Rosholt 2 July 15, 2011 3 5:00 Frisco, Texas, United States
Win 4–1 (1) Matteo Minonzio TKO (head kick) Strength and Honor Championship 2 April 10, 2010 1 4:29 Geneva, Switzerland
Loss 3–1 (1) Tatsuya Mizuno TKO (knee and punches) Rumble of the Kings 4 November 20, 2009 3 0:15 Stockholm, Sweden
Win 3–0 (1) Darko Krbanjevic Submission (armbar) Rumble of the Kings 3 May 22, 2009 1 1:43 Malmö, Sweden
Win 2–0 (1) Luis Pinho Submission (punches) Rumble of the Kings 2 February 27, 2009 1 1:20 Norrköping, Sweden Light Heavyweight debut.
Win 1–0 (1) Roman Mihocka KO (punches) Superior Challenge 2 October 25, 2008 2 1:55 Stockholm, Sweden
NC 0–0 (1) Blagoi Ivanov NC (ring broke) Real Pain Challenge 2 May 17, 2008 1 0:55 Sofia, Bulgaria Fight ruled a no contest due to faulty cage.

Amateur mixed martial arts record[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 1–0 Christian Colombo Submission (north-south choke) Adrenaline 3 - Evolution September 6, 2008 1 2:33 Hvidovre, Denmark Heavyweight bout; originally scheduled as a professional contest, later changed to an amateur bout[51]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Fight Card - UFC Fight Night Bisping vs. Leites". UFC.com. Retrieved July 19, 2015. 
  2. ^ Duane Finley (April 5, 2013). "Ilir Latifi Looking to Seize the Moment at UFC on Fuel TV 9 in Sweden". Bleacher Report. 
  3. ^ "Dagens gäst: "Jag är lugnet innan stormen"". SVT.se. 
  4. ^ "Ilir "The Sledgehammer" Latifi MMA Stats, Pictures, News, Videos, Biography". Sherdog. Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  5. ^ "Alvarez take No. 1 at lightweight in latest rankings". UFC. Retrieved 2016-01-21. 
  6. ^ a b c "FIGHTLIFE OF ILIR LATIFI - EPISODE 1". KatlaStudios. May 24, 2012. 
  7. ^ "FIGHTLIFE OF ILIR LATIFI - EPISODE 3". KatlaStudios. January 17, 2013. 
  8. ^ "2005 ADCC European champions". retrieved 4/8/13
  9. ^ "ADCC 2009 results". retrieved on 4/8/13
  10. ^ "blagoi ivanov vs ilir latifi". VBOX7. January 8, 2010. 
  11. ^ Latifi "Current MMA Rankings >> Light Heavyweight" Check |url= value (help). FightMatrix.com. March 31, 2013. 
  12. ^ "MMA Viking's Official Nordic Top 5 Rankings (January Update)". MMAviking.com. January 15, 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  13. ^ "Superior Challenge 8 Fight Card". Sherdog.com. 2012-10-06. 
  14. ^ a b "Gegard Mousasi plans surgery following UFC on FUEL TV 9 victory". MMAjunkie. Retrieved 2016-01-18. 
  15. ^ "Ilir Latifi bantade bort 12 kg på tre dagar | MMA i Sverige och Världen – kimura.se". www.kimura.se. Retrieved 2016-01-18. 
  16. ^ "UFC on Fuel 9: Gegard Mousasi meets Ilir Latifi, training partner of Gustafsson". Bloodyelbow.com. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  17. ^ "Despite lopsided loss Ilir Latifi will get another UFC fight". mmajunkie.com. 2013-04-06. 
  18. ^ "Cyrille Diabate vs Ilir Latifi added to the UFC's return to London I March". sports.yahoo.com. 2013-11-29. 
  19. ^ "UFC Fight Night 37 results: Ilir Latifi scores emotional submission win over Cyrille Diabate". mmajunkie.com. 2014-03-08. 
  20. ^ "Cyrille Diabate Retires from UFC and Combat Sports Following Loss at UFC London". MMAWeekly.com”/><meta property=. Retrieved 2016-01-18. 
  21. ^ "UFC Fight Night in Dublin adds McCall-Pickett, Latifi-Lawlor, Harris-Serry, Donovan-Krylov". mmajunkie.com. 2014-04-29. 
  22. ^ "Tom Lawlor out at UFC Fight Night 46, promotion seeking replacement foe for Ilir Latifi". mmajunkie.com. 2014-07-01. 
  23. ^ "Newcomer Chris Dempsey meets Ilir Latifi at UFC Fight Night 46". 2014-07-03. 
  24. ^ "UFC Fight Night 46 results: Ilir Latifi shuts down Chris Dempsey in first round". mmajunkie.com. 2014-07-19. 
  25. ^ "UFC Fight Night 46 results: Ilir Latifi knocks out Chris Dempsey early". fansided.com. 2014-07-19. 
  26. ^ John Barry (2014-07-30). "Latifi meets newcomer Błachowicz at UFC Stockholm". UFC.com. Retrieved 2014-07-30. 
  27. ^ Dann Stupp (2014-10-04). "UFC Fight Night 53 results: Jan Blachowicz crushes Ilir Latifi with body kick". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2014-10-04. 
  28. ^ "UFC Fight Night Stockholm results: Wilkinson stuns Backstrom with KO, Blachowicz liver shot stops Latifi". Bloody Elbow. Retrieved 2016-01-18. 
  29. ^ Jesse Holland (2015-05-18). "Three new bouts set for UFC Fight Night 72 on July 18 in Glasgow, Scotland". mmamania.com. Retrieved 2015-05-18. 
  30. ^ Brent Brookhouse (2015-07-18). "UFC Fight Night 72 results: 'Sledgehammer' Ilir Latifi lives up to name vs Hans Stringer". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2015-07-18. 
  31. ^ Staff (2015-10-29). "Boston's UFC Fight Night 81 adds Ilir Latifi vs. Sean O'Connell light heavyweight scrap". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2015-10-29. 
  32. ^ Ben Fowlkes (2016-01-17). "UFC Fight Night 81 results: Ilir Latifi stuns Sean O'Connell with quick knockout". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2016-01-17. 
  33. ^ "Video: Ilir Latifi blasts Sean O'Connell with a vicious right hook". MMA Fighting. Retrieved 2016-01-18. 
  34. ^ "Ilir Latifi Wants to Main Event a UFC in Malmö, Sweden". Nordic MMA Everyday at MMA Viking. Retrieved 2016-01-18. 
  35. ^ Dann Stupp (2016-01-29). "With 48-day turnaround, Ilir Latifi meets Gian Villante at UFC 196 in Vegas". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2016-01-29. 
  36. ^ "UFC 196 results: Ilir Latifi grinds out decision over Gian Villante". mmajunkie.com. 2016-03-05. 
  37. ^ Jesse Holland (2016-05-26). "Ryan Bader vs Ilir Latifi on tap for UFC Fight Night event on Sept. 3 in Germany". mmamania.com. Retrieved 2016-05-26. 
  38. ^ Bent Brookhouse (2016-09-03). "UFC Fight Night 93 results: Ryan Bader lays out Ilir Latifi with crushing knee". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2016-09-03. 
  39. ^ Staff (2017-03-23). "Ilir Latifi vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira added to UFC Fight Night 112 in Oklahoma City". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2017-03-23. 
  40. ^ Guilherme Cruz (2017-05-17). "'Minotouro' Nogueira injured, out of UFC Fight Night 112 fight with Ilir Latifi". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2017-05-17. 
  41. ^ a b "MMA-fajtern Latifi har Zlatan som förebild - Sport | SVT.se". svt.se. Retrieved 2016-01-18. 
  42. ^ "The MMA Hour - 326 - Ilir Latifi". mmafighting.com. 2016-04-26. 
  43. ^ "FIGHTLIFE OF ILIR LATIFI - EPISODE 2". KatlaStudios. September 27, 2012. 
  44. ^ "Meet Swedish pioneer Arben Latifi". mmaviking.com. 2012-09-11. 
  45. ^ "De tog hem priserna vid Kampsportsgalan". Aftonbladet.se. Retrieved 10 June 2016. 
  46. ^ "UFC 196 pre-fight facts". mmajunkie.com. 2016-03-05. 
  47. ^ "Superior Challenge 8 Results". superiorchallenge.com. 2012-10-06. 
  48. ^ http://mma-fighter.com/forum/threads/6663-European-Qualifiers-to-Abu-Dhabi-Invitations-are-out
  49. ^ http://www.kristianstadsbladet.se/sport/agusi-tog-nm-brons/
  50. ^ a b https://fightermag.se/2008/03/27/superior-challenge-latifi-vs-hama/
  51. ^ http://www.mmabloggen.se/ilir-latifi-gor-debut/

External links[edit]