With Romanov Fight Off, Ilir Latifi Gets Aleksei Oleinik at UFC Columbus

Aleksei Oleinik UFC 246
Aleksei Oleinik, UFC 246 Ceremonial Weigh-In Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

With both men seeing recent booking fall through, Ilir Latifi and Aleksei Oleinik will face each other at UFC Columbus this March.

BJPenn.com was first to report the news, which Latifi subsequently confirmed on social media.

Latifi (15-8) had been expected to face Alexander Romanov on February 19. However, as Romanov pulled out, it left “The Sledgehammer” in need of a new opponent.

The Swedish fighter last fought against Tanner Boser in June of last year, picking up a split decision win. That snapped a career-worst three-fight skid for Latifi. Since returning to heavyweight, where he fought prior to his UFC run, Ilir Latifi is 1-1.

Oleinik (59-16-1), now the oldest and most experienced fighter on the roster, was supposed to face off with Greg Hardy at UFC 270. Forced out of the fight, he’ll go up against Latifi in March looking to snap a three-fight losing streak, which has seen him fall short against Derrick Lewis, Chris Daukaus, and Sergey Spivak.

“The Boa Constrictor” holds notable wins over former UFC champ Fabricio Werdum, former title challenger Mark Hunt, and outside the UFC, the legendary Mirko Cro-Cop. Oleinik holds a mind-boggling 14 career finishes by way of Ezekiel choke — two of which have come inside the octagon.

No other fighter has successfully used the choke in UFC history.

UFC Columbus is set to take place on March 26, 2022 at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. The following match-ups have been reported for the card to date:

  • Askar Askarov vs. Kai Kara-France
  • Matt Brown vs. Bryan Barberena
  • Michelle Waterson vs. Amanda Ribas
  • Nate Landwehr vs. Lerone Murphy
  • Joanne Wood vs. Alexa Grasso
  • Tucker Lutz vs. Seung Woo Choi
  • Sara McMann vs. Karol Rosa
  • Montel Jackson vs. Danaa Batgerel
  • Matheus Nicolau vs. David Dvořák
  • Aliskhab Khizriev vs. Abusupiyan Magomedov
  • Max Griffin vs. Neil Magny
  • Bruno Souza vs. Luis Saldana
  • Marc Diakiese vs. Viacheslav Borshchev
  • Ilir Latifi vs. Aleksei Oleinik