Blagoy Ivanov

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Blagoy Ivanov
BornBlagoy Aleksandrov Ivanov
(1986-10-09) October 9, 1986 (age 32)
Sofia, People's Republic of Bulgaria (today Bulgaria)
Native nameБлагой Иванов
Other namesBagata
ResidenceSofia, Bulgaria
Height1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Weight116.5 kg (257 lb; 18.35 st)
Reach73 in (185 cm)
StyleCombat Sambo, Judo, Kickboxing
TeamCombat Sambo - Bulgaria
American Kickboxing Academy
RankInternational Master of Sports in Sambo[1]
Black belt in Judo[1]
Years active2007–present
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout6
By submission6
By decision4
By submission1
By decision1
No contests1
Other information
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog
last updated on: March 27, 2011
Blagoy Ivanov
Medal record
Men's Combat Sambo
Representing Bulgaria
World Sambo Championships
Bronze medal – third place 2006 Sofia 100 kg
Gold medal – first place 2008 St. Petersburg +100 kg

Blagoy Ivanov (Bulgarian: Благой Иванов; born October 9, 1986) is a Bulgarian mixed martial artist and Sambo practitioner who won the 2008 Combat Sambo World Championships in Saint Petersburg, Russia. He is signed to the Ultimate Fighting Championship where he competes in the Heavyweight division. He previously fought for the World Series of Fighting, where he attained success as the promotion's Heavyweight champion. Blagoy has also competed in Judo as a heavyweight national representative for Bulgaria. He competed in the 2003 Balkan Junior Championships and placed first. He then continued in competition up to the European Championships level but only placed 7th in the 2007 U23 Tournament, and did not make an attempt to represent Bulgaria in the 2008 Olympic games. Ivanov chose to enter into a career in mixed martial arts as opposed to representing Bulgaria in the 2012 Olympic Games.[2]

Sambo career[edit]

He notably defeated four-time World Combat Sambo Champion and mixed-martial arts fighter Fedor Emelianenko in the semi-finals of the 2008 World Sambo Championships on November 16, 2008. (He went on to win the finals over Germany's Janosch Stefan the following day.)[3] Ivanov previously faced Emelianenko in February 2008 at Russia’s Presidents Cup Sambo competition, losing the match to Emelianenko.[3]

Mixed martial arts career[edit]

Ivanov started a career in mixed martial arts in his home country (2 wins and 1 NC) before going to World Victory Road, where he signed a three fight deal. His first fight took place at Sengoku 9 where he defeated Pride FC veteran, Kazuyuki Fujita[4] by split decision, breaking both hands in the process.

Ivanov was set next to face Fedor's brother, Aleksander Emelianenko, but that fight and eventually the entire event on which the fight should have occurred was canceled because Blagoy had broken both his hands in the fight against Fujita and was not able to heal and prepare properly for his fight with Aleksander.

Recently, in the capital city of Bulgaria - Sofia, Bagata defeated other well known Bulgarian MMA fighter Svetoslav Zahariev who was European champion in grappling, heavyweight division. In the interview given after the fight, Bagata said that he was ready for rematch with Svetoslav, but also with his brother, who is a fighter too. He added that he needs more easy matches like the last one in order to get in shape for the real challenges. According to Blagoy, in December 2010 he would go to fight and train in Las Vegas, USA.

Bellator MMA[edit]

On March 15, 2011, Ivanov announced that he had signed a deal to fight for Bellator.[5] He debuted on March 26, 2011, at Bellator 38 against William Penn and won via first round TKO.

Ivanov was expected to face Thiago Santos as part of a quarterfinals tournament at Bellator 52 on October 1 at the L'Audberge du Lac Casino Resort in Lake Charles, La. The tournament will determine a No. 1 contender to face champion Cole Konrad. Santos, however, was unable to travel from Brazil for the event and was replaced by Zak Jensen.[6]

Ivanov defeated Jensen by technical submission due to a guillotine choke at 2:35 into round 2. The 2008 Combat Sambo World Champion Ivanov used superior boxing technique, speed and accuracy to bloody the face of Jensen in round one. Jensen offered little offense, and it bordered on a 10-8 round. An outside trip takedown from Ivanov started off the second frame, where he immediately began to crank on an americana attempt. Jensen gave up full mount attempting to defend. Eventually, Jensen was able to scramble out, but as he drove forward attempting to push Ivanov against the fence he left his neck exposed. Ivanov locked in a tight guillotine choke that left Jensen unconscious and unable to tap. The impressive performance from Ivanov furthers his career winning streak to eleven.

On 24 Dec 2011, Ivanov defeated Ricco Rodriguez in 3rd round via TKO with a kick to the upper body that some felt hit Rodriguez's head, as he was still getting up from his knees. The fight took place in Chekhov, Moscow suburb, and Ivanov fought under the Russian banner.

Return to MMA[edit]

Ivanov returned to MMA competition after a 21-month absence due to injuries sustained in a bar fight and fought Manny Lara on September 13, 2013 at Bellator 99.[7] He won the fight via submission in the first round.

Ivanov next fought on November 22, 2013 at Bellator 109 and faced Keith Bell. Ivanov was initially dropped by Bell early into the fight, but recovered and won the fight via submission.

In March 2014, Ivanov returned to the Heavyweight division. He faced Rich Hale in the opening round of the Bellator Season 10 Heavyweight tournament at Bellator 111 on March 7, 2014. He won the fight via unanimous decision. He faced Lavar Johnson in the semifinals at Bellator 116 on April 11, 2014 and won via submission in the first round. He faced Alexander Volkov in the tournament final on May 17, 2014 at Bellator 120. He lost the fight via submission in the second round, resulting in his first professional loss.

World Series of Fighting[edit]

On January 24, 2015 it was announced that Ivanov signed with WSOF.[8]

In his debut, Ivanov faced Smealinho Rama for the WSOF Heavyweight championship at WSOF 21 on June 5, 2015 [9] He won the fight and championship due to a submission in the third round.

Ivanov made his first title defense against Derrick Mehmen at WSOF 24 on October 17, 2015.[10] He won the fight via TKO in the second round.

For his second title defense, Ivanov faced Josh Copeland at WSOF 31 on June 17, 2016. He won the fight via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47).

For his third title defense, Ivanov faced Shawn Jordan. The bout was originally scheduled for February 28 (incorrectly reported as Feb 25)[11] but was rescheduled to March 18, 2017.[12][13] Ivanov won the fight via TKO in the first round.

Ultimate Fighting Championship[edit]

On April 25, 2018, it was reported that Ivanov was signed by Ultimate Fighting Championship.[14] He made his UFC debut against former UFC Heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos on July 14 at UFC Fight Night 133.[15] He lost the fight via unanimous decision.[16]

Ivanov is expected to face Ben Rothwell on March 9, 2019 at UFC Fight Night 146.[17]

Bar fight incident[edit]

In the early morning of February 26, 2012 a group of eight men entered the capital bar "Ice" on Graf Ignatiev Street and attacked Ivanov and his two friends, both of them with a criminal past. Ivanov was stabbed just below the xiphoid process that affected one of his lungs and his heart. He was in the intensive care unit after 6 hours of lifesaving medical intervention at Sofia's Pirogov Hospital, his condition stabilized with the aid of an artificial respirator. he remained in critical care for several weeks. The police apprehended a 23-year-old suspect, nicknamed "The Dumbbell," with a long criminal record, and charged him with the stabbing.[18] Bulgaria's Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, used the speed of the arrest as an argument for success in the country's battle against organized crime, in the speech he gave two days after the attack.[19][20][21]

On March 5, 2012 Ivanov was reported to be in stable condition, having regained consciousness over the weekend.[22] While his life was still considered to be in danger, he was switched to a milder treatment regimen. The problem is with his lungs, not his heart. "The Dumbbell" or Dampela, and his lawyer, Radost Karaivanova, are claiming that Ivanov initiated the fight, at one point slapping Dampela on the face. Dampela has a criminal record of extortion, drug dealing and fraudulent car registration. The defense story is that Dampela didn't know he stabbed Ivanov and went to the police immediately after finding out he did, whereas prosecution claims that Dampela bragged about the incident and intentionally picked the fight with Ivanov in drunken rage.

On March 12, 2012, Ivanov's condition deteriorated. A second surgery was performed on him, and he was placed in an artificial coma. In a May 19 article, MMA Frenzy reported, in conjunction with the Sofia news agency, that Ivanov has been taken out of a medically induced coma, and has been speaking with doctors. He was expected to make a full recovery in six months to a year. His assailant a man named Dampela, 23, is in permanent detention.[23][24]

Around May 12, 2012, Ivanov regained ability to talk and gave a brief press conference on the 19th in the hospital. He declared that he is determined to return to the ring and the doctors confirmed that he would be able to recover in 6 months to a year. This was his first media appearance since the stabbing and Blagoy is scheduled to leave the hospital by the end of May.[25]

On May 28, Ivanov was discharged from the hospital's intensive care unit.[26] On May 29, he was discharged from the hospital. He stated that he was determined to return to competition[27] and doctors confirmed that he could return the next year. Ivanov made his MMA return in September 2013 and won his next four fights.

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 16–2 (1) Junior dos Santos Decision (unanimous) UFC Fight Night: dos Santos vs. Ivanov July 14, 2018 5 5:00 Boise, Idaho, United States
Win 16–1 (1) Caio Alencar Decision (unanimous) PFL: Fight Night November 2, 2017 3 5:00 Washington, D.C., United States Defended the PFL Heavyweight Championship.
Win 15–1 (1) Shawn Jordan TKO (punches) WSOF 35 March 18, 2017 1 1:43 Verona, New York, United States Defended the WSOF Heavyweight Championship.
Win 14–1 (1) Josh Copeland Decision (unanimous) WSOF 31 June 17, 2016 5 5:00 Mashantucket, Connecticut, United States Defended the WSOF Heavyweight Championship.
Win 13–1 (1) Derrick Mehmen TKO (punches) WSOF 24 October 17, 2015 2 4:33 Mashantucket, Connecticut, United States Defended the WSOF Heavyweight Championship.
Win 12–1 (1) Smealinho Rama Submission (guillotine choke) WSOF 21 June 5, 2015 3 1:17 Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Won the WSOF Heavyweight Championship.
Loss 11–1 (1) Alexander Volkov Submission (rear-naked choke) Bellator 120 May 17, 2014 2 1:08 Southaven, Mississippi, United States Bellator MMA: Season Ten Heavyweight Tournament Final.
Win 11–0 (1) Lavar Johnson Submission (americana) Bellator 116 April 11, 2014 1 4:08 Temecula, California, United States Bellator MMA: Season Ten Heavyweight Tournament Semifinal.
Win 10–0 (1) Rich Hale Decision (unanimous) Bellator 111 March 7, 2014 3 5:00 Thackerville, Oklahoma, United States Bellator MMA: Season Ten Heavyweight Tournament Quarterfinal.
Win 9–0 (1) Keith Bell Submission (rear-naked choke) Bellator 109 November 22, 2013 1 3:59 Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, United States
Win 8–0 (1) Manny Lara Submission (standing guillotine choke) Bellator 99 September 13, 2013 1 1:17 Temecula, California, United States
Win 7–0 (1) Ricco Rodriguez TKO (retirement) Chekhov MMA Tournament December 24, 2011 3 3:33 Chekhov, Russia
Win 6–0 (1) Zak Jensen Technical Submission (guillotine choke) Bellator 52 October 1, 2011 2 2:35 Lake Charles, Louisiana, United States Bellator Season 5: Heavyweight Tournament Quarterfinal.
Win 5–0 (1) William Penn TKO (punches) Bellator 38 March 26, 2011 1 2:58 Tunica, Mississippi, United States
Win 4–0 (1) Svetoslav Zahariev Submission (rear-naked choke) Real Pain Challenge 9 October 9, 2010 1 3:33 Sofia, Bulgaria
Win 3–0 (1) Kazuyuki Fujita Decision (split) World Victory Road Presents: Sengoku 9 August 2, 2009 3 5:00 Saitama, Japan
NC 2–0 (1) Ilir Latifi NC (ring broke) Real Pain Challenge 2 May 17, 2008 1 0:55 Sofia, Bulgaria
Win 2–0 Yancho Dimitrov TKO (punches) Real Pain Challenge 1 March 9, 2008 1 2:31 Sofia, Bulgaria
Win 1–0 Kamen Georgiev TKO (corner stoppage) Fitness Mania October 13, 2007 1 5:00 Pazardzhik, Bulgaria

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Blagoy Ivanov - Official UFC Profile". Retrieved July 14, 2018.
  2. ^ "Blagov Ivanov (Bulgaria)". Retrieved 2014-03-01.
  3. ^ a b "Fedor Emelianenko loses at 2008 World Combat Sambo Championships". Retrieved 2014-03-01.
  4. ^ "Ivanov In SENGOKU! Three-Fight Deal? | Nightmare Of Battle". 2009-05-04. Retrieved 2014-03-01.
  5. ^ Whitman, Mike (2011-03-15). "Bellator Signs Unbeaten Heavyweight Sambo Champion Ivanov". Retrieved 2014-03-01.
  6. ^ "Bellator 52 weigh-in results: Tourney fighters on weight, Jensen tapped replacement". Archived from the original on 2011-10-02. Retrieved 2011-10-01.
  7. ^ "Bellator 99: What To Watch For". Retrieved 2013-09-13.
  8. ^ "Blagov Ivanov sign with WSOF". Retrieved 2015-01-25.
  9. ^ MMAjunkie Staff (2015-02-12). "Okami vs. Ford headlines WSOF 21, champ Rama faces Ivanov". Retrieved 2015-03-30.
  10. ^ Mike Sloan (2015-07-30). "Jon Fitch vs. Yushin Okami to Headline WSOF 24 in October". Retrieved 2015-10-15.
  11. ^ "Champ Blagoy Ivanov vs. Shawn Jordan slated for WSOF 35 on Feb. 25". Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  12. ^ Helwani, Ariel. "World Series of Fighting postpones its next event". Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  13. ^ Guillen, Adam (27 Jan 2017). "World Series of Fighting (WSOF) postpones upcoming WSOF 35 event (again)". Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  14. ^ "UFC signs former WSOF heavyweight champion Blagoy Ivanov". MMA Fighting. Retrieved 2018-04-26.
  15. ^ "Sources: Junior dos Santos-Blagoy Ivanov scheduled for UFC Fight Night".
  16. ^ "UFC Fight Night 133 results: Junior Dos Santos tops Blagoy Ivanov in five-rounder". MMAjunkie. 2018-07-15. Retrieved 2018-07-15.
  17. ^ "UFC Fight Night coming to Wichita". 2019-01-08. Retrieved 2019-01-08.
  18. ^ Mindenhall, Chuck (Sep 15, 2013). "The quiet, miraculous return of Blagoi Ivanov". Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  19. ^ "Bulgarian Heavyweight Blagoi Ivanov in Serious Condition After Stabbing". Retrieved 2012-02-27.
  20. ^ "Stabbed MMA Fighter Blagoi Ivanov Stabilized, Still in Danger". Retrieved 2014-03-01.
  21. ^ "Bulgaria's Grave Organized Crime 'Decreased', Top Cop Claims". Retrieved 2014-03-01.
  22. ^ "Report: Stabbed Bellator heavyweight Blagoi Ivanov in stable condition after regaining consciousness". Retrieved 2012-03-05.
  23. ^ [1] Archived October 10, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ "Condition of Stabbed Bulgarian MMA Champ Deteriorates - - Sofia News Agency". 2012-03-13. Retrieved 2014-03-01.
  25. ^ "Stabbed Bulgarian MMA Fighter Vows to Return to Ring - - Sofia News Agency". Retrieved 2014-03-01.
  26. ^ "Stabbed Bulgarian MMA Fighter Discharged from Reanimation - - Sofia News Agency". 2012-05-28. Retrieved 2014-03-01.
  27. ^ "Stabbed Bulgarian MMA Fighter Released from Hospital - - Sofia News Agency". 2012-05-30. Retrieved 2014-03-01.

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