Ilir Latifi believes he was “robbed” of a win against Derrick Lewis at UFC 247 last week.
Latifi made his heavyweight debut against Derrick Lewis on the UFC 247 pay-per-view (PPV) last week from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. After three rounds of fighting, Lewis was awarded the decision win in front of his adopted hometown. Speaking to MMA Fighting this week, Latifi noted that he knew it was going to be difficult getting a decision win against Lewis in his hometown.
Add to the fact that Lewis is a huge fan-favorite and one of the UFC’s now most notable stars, it was a tall order for the Swede. Latifi said his true fight that night was against the judges.
“To be honest, I know I was on his home turf,” Latifi. “I’m coming from Sweden. I’m coming to the U.S. I’m coming to Houston. I’m fighting the hometown pride, Derrick Lewis, who is one of the most favorite fighters in the UFC. I like him, too. He’s funny as hell. He’s humble. Nothing to take from that but I knew that I wasn’t fighting just Derrick.
“I was fighting the judges. I was fighting everybody in that arena that night. When I came there, I knew what it was. When the fight was over, you saw Derrick’s face. He knew that he lost that fight.”
Latifi says he controlled the majority of the fight with his grappling. While Lewis landed some nice flying knees, kicks, and punches, Latifi believes he controlled where the fight went for the full 15 minutes they shared the Octagon together.
“If you see it this way, I controlled my opponent for 15 minutes,” Latifi said. “I practically put him in the situation I wanted. I put him against the cage. I was grinding him and making him tired, taking out those power shots. I took him down. He threw some fancy knees and some kicks but I blocked everything and I saw everything.
“I felt very, very comfortable. He didn’t catch me with nothing. It was maybe one punch but I saw everything. I blocked it and I took it with no problem. Not taking credit from Derrick, for being such a heavy guy, doing that stuff is impressive but I think I had total control of the fight. To be honest, I controlled a 270-pound opponent with ease. Most people can’t control their puppy dog for like a minute. That’s the truth. You maybe don’t like it, but that’s what I did.”
Now, Latifi is calling for some accountability on the judges’ part of things. While fighters are penalized financially for breaking rules, missing weight, and more, the UFC veteran feels that the same should be in practice for judges.
“I wasn’t shocked that they robbed me,” Latifi said. “It’s so sad to see that they do that. Because this is the future of the sport. They’re playing around with athletes, fighters’ lives that put everything on the line. We sacrifice so much. We sacrifice our health. We leave our families. We do so much and to leave that in the hands of the judges or a commission that doesn’t understand the sport or favors somebody, that’s wrong. There should be consequences for that, too.
“When fighters do wrong or they break the rules, they get punished for that. But when judges do wrong or rob people from their fights, there’s no consequences for that. It’s bad. It affects the fighters. People can say ‘on to the next one, you did a great fight’ but in a way f*ck that. I did everything for that fight. I came in as a big underdog. I think honestly the judges and everybody there didn’t think I’d last a minute and I came in and dominated him. It wasn’t maybe the way they thought but that’s the truth.”
What do you think about Latifi saying he feels “robbed” by the UFC 247 judges?