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*This prediction was made last week, as both were supposed to fight before a last minute cancellation scrapped the bout*
We have a fight in the Heavyweight division, as Alexey “The Boa Constrictor” Oleynik takes on Ilir “The Sledgehammer” Latifi. At 44 years of age and on a three-fight losing streak, this may very well be Oleynik’s last stand in the UFC. Still searching for win number sixty, this would be the opportune time to cash in. Otherwise, it may have to come on the regional scene. Meanwhile, Latifi most recently snapped a three-fight skid with a victory over Tanner Boser. His first win as a Heavyweight, which is remarkable given he used to fight at 185 pounds.
As for a prediction, I have Latifi winning. While this fight has crapshoot written all over it, there are a few factors that lean me towards Latifi. For one, Latifi has no neck and has never been submitted in twenty-three fights. Given Oleynik’s game revolves around submitting opponents, I’d say there is an unlikelihood he’s going be able to do such. Then again, Oleynik has submitted forty-six opponents. However, Latifi being a wrestler and borderline juggernaut, I don’t see a scenario where Oleynik will be able to do much off his back. Latifi smothers opponents, holding position and never really puts himself in harm’s way. On the feet, Latifi has knockout power, but that’s about it. Never exceeding more than forty-four strikes in his fourteen appearances inside the octagon, Latifi can be thoroughly beaten by a volume striker. Something which isn’t in the card for Oleynik, who’s technique on the feet involves power overhand strikes. A strategy that hasn’t always worked out for him given his shaky chin. So with all that said, I predict that Latifi will win via TKO.