Ilir Latifi withstood the kicks of Tyson Pedro and used his wrestling to get back in the win column at UFC 215.
Ilir Latifi was on a three fight win streak before suffering a knockout defeat against current Bellator champion Ryan Bader. Two of the three victories were knockouts that took less than a minute. He is currently ranked tenth in the UFC light heavyweight division, and is coming off a year-long layoff at UFC 215.
Tyson Pedro is one of the few young prospects at 205-pounds and is 6-0 with a pair of stoppage victories in the Octagon. After just two fights in the UFC, Pedro is already ranked 13th.
Tyson Pedro went to his kicks early on, and clinched with the squat Ilir Latifi. Pedro had a few highlights in the round, including a pair of high kicks and a heavy body kick. The round, however, mostly favored Latifi, who was able to catch multiple kicks and take down the highly-touted prospect.
Latifi was able to win the clinch exchanges using his strength, but Pedro was excellent on the breaks, landing strikes with limited space.
Both fighters traded kicks to start the second round. Pedro showed great variety in his kicking attack, and forced Latifi to go back to his wrestling at three-minutes into round two following a head kick that landed flush. Latifi took down Pedro against the cage and gained half guard, landing a few solid left hands from the top. Pedro eked his way up the cage, and Latifi took the opportunity to use some dirty boxing to end the round.
Tyson Pedro had never left the first round in his six-fight career, but looked to be in decent shape coming out for round three. Pedro focused on leg kicks to start the third round, throwing a kick to Latifi’s calf each time his opponent charged in. Latifi landed a combination, then Pedro went to the body with a pair of kicks.
After another low leg kick from Pedro, Latifi went for a double leg and got it against the cage. Pedro was unable to get back to his feet due to Latifi’s constant activity from the guard. The round ended and it was up to the judges to pick between kicks and takedowns.
With a pair of 29-28’s and a 30-27, Ilir Latifi got back in the win column.