Going into his matchup with fellow light heavyweight Ilir Latifi at UFC Uruguay, it was no secret that Volkan Oezdemir badly needed a victory.
Luckily for “No Time,” Latifi exhausted his gas tank, became slow and eventually exposed himself for a few massive left hooks in the second round. Oezdemir flattened his Swedish adversary in sensational fashion, knocking Latifi out with 29 seconds remaining in the frame, thus keeping his career as a contracted UFC fighter afloat.
The Swiss veteran had dropped three in a row – two via stoppage – and a loss to Latifi could have spelled doom for his future inside the promotion. But he has dynamite in his fists and it detonated on his foe’s face, giving him the best knockout of UFC Fight Night 156 on Saturday.
Oezdemir wasn’t shocked at the outcome.
“The fight went the way I planned,” he said after his hand was raised. “I knew he was a really strong opponent, but the pace I was about to offer him was going to gas him out in the second round. I caught him with a few shots and was able to finish the fight.”
It was a game plan that worked well, and it keeps the Hard Knocks 365 product in the hunt for bigger, better foes at 205 pounds. While it’s unlikely Oezdemir will sniff another shot at the light heavyweight crown anytime soon, the Swiss fighter knows he has to build upon his weekend win and continue surging back up the ladder. But unlike many fighters who remain mum after a win, Oezdemir knows who he wants to lock horns with next time he steps through the Octagon’s door.
“The most logical fight for me now would be Jan Blachowicz to get me close to a title shot again,” he said. “But I would like get my revenge on Dominick Reyes. Everybody knows the fight wasn’t his, and I will prove it next time.”
Oezdemir lost a split decision to Reyes at UFC London in March, a result which was disputed by many MMA media members scoring the fight. Blachowicz, meanwhile, has won five of his last six Octagon appearances and is coming off a second-round knockout of former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold.