Top-ranked light heavyweights Volkan Oezdemir and Ilir Latifi will try to inch closer to a title shot when they collide at UFC Fight Night 153. The stage is set for this massive encounter at the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, Sweden this coming weekend. Get to know more about these finishers through the numbers below.
Pre-UFC experienceAt 36 years old, Latifi is six years older than Oezdemir, although he doesn’t have that much experience over the Swiss. Latifi started his career in 2008 in a Bulgarian event called Real Pain Challenge 2. There, he met future UFC heavyweight Blagoy Ivanov. “The Sledgehammer” would fight nine more times before getting signed by the UFC, holding a record of 7-2 with one no contest at the time. Apart from Bulgaria, his fights took place in Sweden, Switzerland, Russia and the U.S.
Oezdemir made his pro debut a little over two years after Latifi made his. For his maiden bout, “No Time” fought Martin Vath at Shooto: Switzerland 7. After that, he traveled to France, Brazil, Denmark, Russia and the U.S., losing only once in 12 bouts. He also has a two-fight stint at Bellator where he faced Josh Lanier and Kelly Anundson.
UFC finishesAfter 11 fights in the Octagon, Latifi has recorded seven victories, five of which came via stoppage. He submitted Ovince St. Preux and Cyrille Diabaté and knocked out Chris Dempsey, Hans Stringer and Sean O’Connell. Oezdemir, on the other hand, has fought within the UFC only six times. Of his three wins, two came in the first round.
Both Oezdemir and Latifi are notorious for finishing fights early. In fact, the two 205ers are tied for the most light heavyweight stoppage wins in less than one minute at two. Oezdemir stopped Misha Cirkunov in 0:28 and Jimi Manuwa in 0:42. Latifi, for his part, finished Stringer in 0:56 and O’ Connell in 0:30.
Championship fight experienceAfter three strong performances against quality opponents, Oezdemir was awarded an opportunity to challenge Daniel Cormier for the UFC light heavyweight championship. Unfortunately, he was dominated by “DC” and eventually stopped in the second round. Earlier in his career, Oezdemir won the WKN Valhalla: Battle of the Vikings.
Latifi has not challenged for a UFC title yet, but he is no stranger to championship matches. Just before joining the UFC, he captured the Superior Challenge light heavyweight belt.
Post-fight bonusesOezdemir and Latifi have one Performance of the Night award each. The former earned it by starching Manuwa at UFC 214 while the latter got it by choking out St. Preux at UFC on Fox 28.
Career lossesLatifi has suffered six defeats, all to quality opponents. He bowed to Tatsuya Mizuno and Emanuel Newton in separate regional promotions. In the UFC, he lost to Gegard Mousasi, Jan Blachowicz, Ryan Bader and Corey Anderson.
Like Latifi, Oezdemir has lost only to high-level competition. He currently has four career losses, no thanks to Kelly Anundson, Cormier, Anthony Smith and Dominick Reyes.