It wasn’t a masterpiece, but it was another win for light heavyweight contender Corey Anderson, as he bested Ilir Latifi on the scorecards at UFC 232 in Inglewood, California. Latifi came out hard and aggressive in the opening round, but his aggressiveness proved to be his undoing against the better conditioned Anderson, who took Ilir’s best shots, stuffed his takedowns, and landed more shots overall on his way to his third straight victory. The defeat marks Latifi’s first since he was KO’d by Ryan Bader in 2016.
Round one was a slow-paced kickboxing match, seeing as Latifi was unable to take Anderson down and Anderson didn’t really attempt to get Latifi to the ground. Latifi stunned Anderson with a 1-2 just past the midway point of the opening frame, having previously buckled his foe with calf kicks several times beforehand. However, Latifi looked a bit tied after exerting so much energy.
Anderson began round two with a hard body kick to Latifi’s midsection, and later clipped him with a left hook on the bridge of the nose. Corey’s chin withstood a big overhand right by Latifi, who countered an Anderson takedown with a shot of his own. Corey showed tremendous strength to stay on his feet. Latifi had clearly slowed down and his mouth was agape. Anderson upped his aggression, but Latifi charged forward with whatever was left in his gas tank and threw some power punches, which Anderson mostly avoided. Anderson made it a point of emphasis to attack the body as Latifi tired.
Round three wasn’t exactly thrill-a-minute stuff. Latifi seemed to wobble Anderson with one of those calf kicks, and he connected on a right hand on the break as Corey overextended himself. Anderson scored with a right of his own but his takedown was easily stuffed out. The crowd got excited and perhaps surprised when Latifi threw a spinning high kick and his heel landed behind Corey’s ear. Anderson charged back with a couple of body shots. He ate a left hook but then cracked Latifi with a big right hand. One more power punch cracked Latifi, who egged him on for a last-second exchange but to no avail.
Official Result: Corey Anderson def. Ilir Latifi by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)