EDMONTON, Alberta -- Australian prospect Tyson Pedro maybe had things go a little bit too easy in his career’s early going. He won each of his first six fights via first-round finish.
A meeting with a pit bull like Ilir Latifi will correct that in a hurry.
The Swedish light heavyweight Latifi, while at a significant height and reach disadvantage, nonetheless used veteran know-how to grind his way to a victory on Saturday night at UFC 215.
The judges’s scores at Rogers Place were a pair of 29-28s and 30-27 for the unanimous decision.
“It feels great,” said Latifi. “I had a long break because of injuries and stuff. It’s very nice to be back.”
The opening round was the fight’s closest. Both competitors took some time feeling one another out. But Latifi ducked under multiple high kick attempts, scored a takedown, and was the more active fighter by the time the horn sounded.
In the second, Latifi got the better of his larger foe in the clinch, and scored a slam which turned the round in his favor.
The pace slowed a bit in the third, but Latifi scored a takedown midway through and owrked him from top position til the horn.
The 34-year-old Latifi, who had been out of action since last September, improved to 13-5 (1 NC). He’s won four of his past five bouts. Pedro (6-1) dropped to 2-1 in the UFC.