UFC: Ilir Latifi vs. Alexander Romanov Announced for February 19

UFC Vegas 13 Alexander Romanov
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 07: Alexandr Romanov of Moldova punches Marcos Rogerio de Lima of Brazil in a heavyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on November 07, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

The UFC has announced a heavyweight showdown between Sweden’s Ilir Latifi and Moldova’s Alexander Romanov, set to take place in February.

Promotion officials revealed the match-up via social media on Tuesday. The fight will be the first bout back for Latifi since suffering a significant, career-threatening eye injury in June — an injury that left him blind in one eye for weeks.

Latifi (15-8, 1NC) snapped a three-fight losing streak when he captured a split decision win against Tanner Boser at UFC Vegas 28 in June. He also incurred the aforementioned eye injury due to an accidental poke. Prior to that fight, Latifi had lost bouts to Derrick Lewis, Volkan Oezdemir, and Corey Anderson.

The Lewis fight marked the heavyweight debut for “The Sledgehammer” inside the UFC, though he had previously competed in the weight class on the regional circuit.

Romanov (15-0) has been perfect through four UFC fights to date. And for the entirety of his career, for that matter. Most recently, “King Kong” stopped Jared Vanderaa by TKO in October. In his 15 fights as a pro, 14 have come by way of finish. The only decision came against Juan Espino back in April, when a low blow left Romanov unable to continue in the fight. With the action having made it to the third round, the fight went to the judges, with a technical split decision the result.

The UFC’s February 19, 2022 card does not yet have a location, venue, or broadcast plan officially announced. Thus far, the following bouts have been reported for the Fight Night event:

Jesse Strader vs. Chad Anheliger
Austin Lingo vs. Jonathan Pearce
Chas Skelly vs. Mark Striegl
Kyle Daukaus vs. Julian Marquez
Khalid Taha vs. Mario Bautista
John Makdessi vs. Nasrat Haqparast
Diana Belbiţă vs. Gloria de Paula
Jessica-Rose Clark vs. Stephanie Egger
Ilir Latifi vs. Alexander Romanov