We have a fight in the Heavyweight division, as Aleksei “The Boa Constrictor” Oleinik takes on Ilir “The Sledgehammer” Latifi. Coming off professional win number sixty, Oleinik, at age 45, returns to the octagon looking to make it two straight. Knowing that his window of fighting is closing, the Russian may not have a title in his future, but has an opportunity to build upon a rather legendary career. 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 crap-shoot 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 Oleinik’s game revolves around submitting opponents, I’d say there is an unlikelihood he’s going be able to do such. Then again, Oleinik has submitted forty-seven opponents. However, Latifi being a wrestler and borderline juggernaut, I don’t see a scenario where Oleinik 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 cards for Oleinik, who’s technique on the feet involves power overhand strikes. A strategy that hasn’t always worked out for him given his shaky chin. Throw in the fact that Latifi has never been taken down, and I’d say that the Swede will control where this fight will take place. So with all that said, I predict that Latifi will win via TKO.