Alexey Oleynik vs. Ilir Latifi will take place in March at the UFC Columbus, Ohio show.
The heavyweight match-up was first revealed by Cole Shelton on Friday. UFC will make its highly anticipated return to the state capital of Ohio after the pandemic kept most of the UFC shows at the Las Vegas Apex, Florida, Texas, and Fight Island.
Following the fight announcement, Alexey Oleynik confirmed that he has signed his contract for the March 26 showdown.
“Contract is signed Fight in March 26” Alexey Oleynik shared Friday.
A Brief Look at Alexey Oleynik vs. Ilir Latifi
The 59-16-1 Oleynik returns to the cage after losing his last three octagon bouts. In 2020, “The Boa Constrictor” faced Derrick Lewis, but fell to the sheer power of “The Black Beast. While the veteran made it to the second round, Lewis managed to clip him with a right hook before ending the fight with ground and pound.
In 2021, Oleynik faced Chris Daukaus and once again lost the bout by TKO finish. In the end, it was the volume and pressure of Daukaus that ultimately saw him get his hand raised. Looking to get back into the win column, Oleynik faced Sergey Spivak in June. However, the fight dragged on and “Polar Bear” was awarded the unanimous decision.
With his back up against the wall on a three-fight losing skid, Oleynik needs a win in Columbus to stay relevant in a thriving heavyweight division. Meanwhile, Ilir Latifi recently broke a 3-fight losing skid of his own. Following three consecutive losses from Corey Anderson, Volkan Oezdemir and Derrick Lewis, Latifi seemed to be struggling to find his footing in the UFC’s heaviest weight division.
However, Latifi got back in the win column, and did so against the fast-rising Tanner Boser. Prior to his recent success, Latifi lost three straight fights but faced three former title challengers in the process. Latifi’s time in the UFC has never been an easy ride. The heavyweight was tasked with facing Gegard Mousasi in his very first UFC fight back in 2013. While Latifi would lose his debut, he won his next two fights with the promotion and remains a well-rounded mixed martial artist today.
With the recent addition of Alexey Oleynik vs. Ilir Latifi, here is a tentative lineup for the UFC card in Columbus, Ohio on March 26:
- Michelle Waterson vs. Amanda Ribas
- Sara McMann vs. Karol Rosa
- Askar Askarov vs. Kai Kara-France
- Matt Brown vs. Bryan Barberena
- Joanne Wood vs. Alexa Grasso
- Neil Magny vs. Max Griffin
- Tucker Lutz vs. Seung Woo Choi
- Montel Jackson vs. Danaa Batgerel
- David Dvořák vs. Matheus Nicolau
- Khizriev Aliaskhab vs. Abusupiyan Magomedov
- Nate Landwehr vs. Lerone Murphy
- Marc Diakiese vs. Viecheslav Borshchev
- Luis Saldaña vs. Bruno Souza
- Alexey Oleynik vs. Ilir Latifi