Ilir Latifi needed less than a round to put away former interim title contender Ovince Saint-Preux with a devastating standing guillotine choke that came just seconds after he nearly landed a knockout.
After a stutter step delayed the two light heavyweights from squaring off a few weeks ago, Latifi and Saint-Preux both stepped into the Octagon looking to make an impact to put the winner into a position where a title shot could be looming soon.
While it took Latifi a little while to figure out Saint-Preux’s reach advantage, he eventually found his way inside and that’s where “The Sledgehammer” earned his nickname.
Latifi clubbed Saint-Preux with a short left hand that dropped him to the mat and then followed up with another as the former University of Tennessee football standout crashed to the ground.
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Latifiy rushed in with a flurry of punches but then saw an opening for a standing guillotine choke so he latched onto the neck and pressed Saint-Preux against the cage. A few seconds later, Saint-Preux went limp as the referee stopped the fight and Latifi released the hold, which then saw his opponent crumble to the mat.
Afterwards, Latifi made a bee line for UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, who was calling the fights sitting cage side.
“Let’s fight for the title, you and me,” Latifi shouted after getting his second win in a row. “Light heavyweight, heavyweight, I’m up for it.”
With Cormier tied up awaiting his fight against heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic in July, Latifi will probably have to fight somebody else instead but that doesn’t take away from his eye popping performance on Saturday night in Orlando.