If ever there was a time to shine for Tanner Boser, it was UFC Vegas 28 on Saturday. And if ever there was a must-win fight for Ilir Latifi, it was the fight against Boser.
The heavyweight pair found themselves in very different circumstances on Saturday night in Las Vegas. Boser was coming off a loss to Andrei Arlovski, but had strung together two wins before that. The Latifi fight had a bounce-back feel, given the Swede had lost three straight, including his heavyweight debut against Derrick Lewis over a year prior.
What happens when a bulldozer meets a sledgehammer? 🤯
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Boser backed Latifi up to the fence early, looking far lighter on his feet than the Swede. The first real shift in momentum came when Latifi caught a Boser kick roughly ninety seconds in. He planted the Canadian on his back, and went to work in half-guard. Latifi would eat up some clock there, but there was still over a minute remaining when they got back to their feet. Boser would see a high kick blocked, but hit home with his left hand before round’s end, as well as a kick to the body.
In the second, Latifi found the will to walk forward more, leading to more of a back-and-forth affair at times. Boser’s kicks continued to land when not at least partially blocked. However, what appeared to be an thumb poke gave Boser the upper hand as Latifi stumbled and covered up, leading Boser to unload on him. The Swede survived, with Boser unable to put him away. Instead Latifi would end up driving Boser into the fence at in the final minute. After a break, Boser walked his opponent down. Latifi was showing damage to the eye from earlier in the round.
In the third, Latifi was again able to get the fight to the mat, and Boser to his back. He spent plenty of time there, but try as he might, the Swedish light heavyweight turned heavyweight could not find the finish. Really, he never came close. He did, however, take home the split decision win, likely saving his spot on the UFC roster in the process.
Official Result: Ilir Latifi def. Tanner Boser by split decision (29-28, 29-27, 29-28)