Ilir Latifi used his wrestling skills to get the better of Tyson Pedro tonight at UFC 215 in Alberta, Canada.
Pedro with an early kick. Latifi feeling for an early takedown, but leaves it for now. Hard low kick from Pedro and then he briefly spins around to the back of his opponent. Then into the clinch they go with Latifi landing to the body with punches and Pedro with a knee.
They separate and Latifi commits to a takedown. Pedro stays upright on the first attempt, but Latifi keeps working for it and then does put Pedro on his back.
Soon after Pedro is able to scramble and gets back to his feet. Latifi goes on the attack, but Pedro responds with a nice counter-kick to the body that seemed to take some of the steam out of Latifi.
Pedro tries for a head kick, but Latifi uses that to take him back to the mat. Latifi in side control with 90 seconds of the round remaining.
Pedro manages to explode back to his feet, but Latifi presses him against the cage. Not much happening from here and they break in the final 10 seconds with Pedro just winging a head kick over the head of the ducking Latifi.
Pedro misses with a low kick to start the second round. Latifi bursts forward with a right hand. Oblique kick for Pedro.
Front kick to the body for Pedro. Now Pedro steps into another kick. Latifi with a good uppercut after being threatened by another kick. Pedro lands a solid punch.
Latifi with a short flurry of strikes and then gets into the clinch against the cage looking for a takedown. He hoists Pedro up in the air and hurls him to the mat.
Latifi in half guard and landing ground and pound. Pedro manages to use the cage to stand, with Latifi continuing to press him to the cage.
A few short elbows from Pedro, ut Latifi’s hard lefts upstairs in the clinch look more dangerous as the round ends.
Jab from Pedro. Low leg kick for Pedro and a right hand in response from Latifi. Front kick to the body attempted by Pedro, but a hard counter punch comes in return from the Swede.
Back to the front kick to the body for Pedro and then one of the calf. Now another one. Latifi still looking to land on the counter though and is swinging for the fences.
Uppercut for Latifi and a left behind it. Couple of body kicks for Pedro. Now one to the low kick and eats a counter from Latifi for his troubles.
Latifi into the clinch and is able to get Pedro to the mat at a crucial moment in the fight. Latifi working from full guard, then moves to half guard.
A minute to go and Latifi is back in full guard and happy to just control Pedro as the seconds tick down, landing the occasional punch to stay busy, but not going all out for a finish.
Pedro had some promising moments on the feet, but Latifi’s wrestling proved to be the biggest factor in the fight and leads him to a unanimous decision victory (29-28 x2, 30-27).