Predictions for Derrick Lewis vs Ilir Latifi bout at UFC 247
A heavyweight bout between Derrick Lewis and Ilir Latifi will open the UFC 247 pay-per-view card on February 8. Below, you’ll find our analysis of this matchup and predictions for Lewis vs Latifi fight.
Betting odds: Lewis (-290), Latifi (+230).
Derrick Lewis: #6 ranked UFC heavyweight, 22-7-0, 6’3 height, 79 in. reach, 34 years old;
Ilir Latifi: heavyweight debut, 14-7-0, 5’8 height, 75 in. reach, 36 years old.
When you are first looking at Lewis vs Latifi fight, it might seem like a complete mismatch.
On one hand, you have “The Black Beast” who is a very well-known, established, and experienced heavyweight fighter. Not long ago in November 2018, Lewis fought Daniel Cormier for the heavyweight title.
On the other hand, we have a Swedish mixed martial artist, Ilir Latifi, who previously competed in the Light Heavyweight division of the UFC. Not exactly successfully as well as Latifi is on a 2-fight losing streak (lost to Corey Anderson and Volkan Oezdemir). Latifi’s last win came almost 2 years ago against Ovince St. Preux on February 24, 2018.
“The Sledgehammer” Latifi will be making his heavyweight debut against Lewis. He will have a disadvantage in height, weight, and reach in comparison to “The Black Beast”. Does he even have a chance against such an experienced fighter as Derrick Lewis? He does if you look at the betting odds. According to the bookmakers, Latifi is more likely to beat Lewis than Dominick Reyes to beat Jon Jones.
Let’s see why that is the case.
Latifi will be better at heavyweight than he was at 205lbs
It’s a known fact that Ilir struggled with cutting weight to 205lbs. He is only 5’8 tall but built like a tank, very strong and very muscular. That’s why he struggled at light heavyweight because he would cut down muscle to make 205lbs which affected his conditioning, cardio, as well as power.
As an example, Daniel Cormier, 5’11, was a lot more comfortable and successful fighting as a heavyweight than light heavyweight because he didn’t have to worry about weight cuts and was able to simply focus on his training. This could be the same case for Ilir Latifi.
I can really see Latifi having a successful run in the UFC’s heavyweight division. He is extremely strong and athletic, he will have a significant speed advantage on most of his opponents, he will have more power than he did at light heavyweight.
Ilir Latifi is a bad matchup for Derrick Lewis
Derrick Lewis got beat up badly when he fought Daniel Cormier. Latifi is not Cormier but he is still a solid wrestler. What do you think is going to happen when Lewis will be out there with his 53% takedown defense against Latifi?
Lewis got an incredible power in his shots but as long as Latifi fights smart and uses grappling to his advantage, he will have a decent chance at beating “The Black Beast”. Derrick is a tough guy and he has that ability to turn things around pretty quickly (remember that Volkov fight).
Anyways, a fight with Latifi is not going to be a walk in the park for Derrick Lewis. It will be very interesting to see how the Swede will do against Lewis because if he does manage to pull off an upset victory, he will jump straight inside the top 10 of the heavyweight division.
In this fight, we are predicting a unanimous decision win for Latifi who will dominate Lewis with his athleticism and wrestling skills. What do you guys think of the matchup between “The Sledgehammer” and “The Black Beast”? What is your prediction for this heavyweight bout at UFC 247? Can Latifi beat Derrick Lewis?