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Report: Ilir Latifi to fight Aleksei Oleinik at UFC Columbus

Ilir Latifi’s heavyweight march continues.

Ilir Latifi after he beat Tanner Boser at the UFC APEX.
Ilir Latifi after he beat Tanner Boser at the UFC APEX.
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Two of the UFC’s more popular heavyweights are set to collide on March 26, that is according to bjpenn’s Cole Shelton. He reports that the UFC have booked Ilir Latifi vs. Aleksei Oleinik for their UFC Columbus card.

Latifi, now 38, moved up to the heavyweight division in 2020 after exhausting his potential at light heavyweight. His UFC heavyweight debut was a decision loss to Derrick Lewis at UFC 247.

He rebounded from that disappointment with a split decision win over Tanner Boser at the UFC APEX last June. The Sledgehammer has a record of 15-8 (1 NC) and he holds notable UFC wins over Ovince Saint Preux, Tyson Pedro and Gian Villante.

The fight with Latifi will by the 77th pro bout for the 44-year-old Oleinik. The Boa Constrictor is currently on a three fight losing skid with TKO losses to Lewis and Chris Daukaus and a unanimous decision loss to Sergey Spivak.

Prior to those losses he notched a win over former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum. He also holds wins over Mark Hunt and Travis Browne. His record is 59-16-1.

Latifi and Oleinik both recently had other fights fall through. Latifi was supposed to face Alexander Romanov on February 19. Oleinik was scheduled to face disgraced former NFL player Greg Hardy last month.

The Columbus card was slated to feature Jan Blachowicz vs. Aleksander Rakic in the main event. However, an injury to Blachowicz has forced that fight to be postponed. The UFC are yet to announce a new main event for the card.

Other bouts set for the card include Michelle Waterson vs. Amanda Ribas, Sara McMann vs. Karol Rosa, Askar Askarov vs. Kai Kara-France and Matt Brown vs. Bryan Barberena.