Swedish UFC light heavyweight Ilir Latifi is a big, big man. Whether he’s levelling opponents like he did when he fought Sean O’Connell and Hans Stringer, or coming up short as he did in a recent fight with Ryan Bader, his fights tend to shake the Octagon.
Current World Series of Fighting heavyweight champion Blagoy Ivanov, who is famous for defeating Fedor Emelianenko in a combat sambo match, is also a big boy. Tipping the scales at 251 pounds of mean, Bulgarian bulk, his fights also undoubtedly put a strain on the cage.
Given the size and power of these two men, any number of results could have been expected when they fought back in 2008. The complete destruction of the ring, however, was a not an outcome many people expected – and that’s precisely what happened. Not long into the fight, Sweden’s Latifi attempted to drive his Bulgarian foe into the ropes, only to destroy the ring as he did, putting an end to the entire card with his absurd size and power.
This bout, which occured under the Real Pain Challenge banner in beautiful Sofia, Bulgaria, was unsurprisngly ruled a no contest – undeniably not the result Latifi was hoping for for his MMA debut.
Since then, however, Latifi’s career has yielded much more favorable results, as he’s established an overall record of 12-5 and a strong 5-3 mark in the UFC’s Octagon.
Ivanov has realized arguably even more success, having defeated fighters like Kazuyuki Fujita, Ricco Rodriguez, and Lavar Johnson, before winning the WSOF heavyweight title from Smealinho Rama and defending it against Derrick Mehmen and Josh Copeland.
Latifi and Ivanov’s 2008 encounter is not the only time a fight has ended due to the structural failure of the ring or Octagon. Another high profile incidence of this problem occured under the Strikeforce banner in 2006 when Bobby Southworth and James Irvin fell through the door of the cage, forcing an end to the bout as a result.
What do you think of Latifi’s strange MMA debut? Sound off, PENN nation!