Sleeping Giants: A closer look at Bellator heavyweight Blagoi Ivanov


Blagoi Ivanov
220 lbs
3-0-1 (1 NC)

The Bulgarian born heavyweight is very undersized for the 265-pound weight class (to say the least). Barely cracking the required weight as of his previous weigh-in, he's set to make his North American mixed martial arts debut as Bellator's newest addition to their growing heavyweight division.

Ivanov is set to face Mississippi local John "Doo Doo" Brown (8-3) at Bellator 38 on March 26.

A classic Sambo fighter, he won the 2008 Sambo World Championships by defeating the legendary Fedor Emelianenko in the semifinals. His win over "The Last Emperor" avenged a loss that occured during the 2008 Russian Presidents Cup of Sambo.

Ivanov would go on to win the finals against Germany's Janosch Stefan.

The Bulgarian made his successful MMA debut in the main event of Real Pain Challenge 1 against Yancho Dimitrov by way of technical knockout (strikes) at 2:31 of the opening frame.

His second showing at Real Pain Challenge 2 showed just how bad a smaller promotion can get sometimes. Ivanov was facing Swedish-born fighter Llir Latifi when at 55 seconds of the first round, the ring being used broke! He then decided it was time for a step up in competition and traveled to Japan for Sengoku 9 to face Kazuyuki Fujita.

At the conclusion of three hard fought rounds and at the expense of two broken hands, Ivanov won a split decision to continue to go undefeated. He was set to face another Emelianenko, this time Aleksander in MMA rules, but his hands had not healed and Ivanov missed out on a huge opportunity to gain International exposure.

He would once again compete for Real Pan Challenge at their October 2009 event "Collision" against Bulgarian grappler Svetoslav Zahariev, winning his first fight by submission (rear naked choke) in round one.

Bellator's heavyweight division is far from the level of Strikeforce or the UFC but maybe a win this Saturday night over Brown and maybe Bellator heavyweight tournament finalist Neil Grove could give him the promotion's heavyweight champion, Cole Konrad.

The size he competes at could either be a detriment or a blessing in disguise.

I always give a fighter the benefit of the doubt when it comes to knowing what weight class they feel most comfortable at. The future looks bright for this Bulgarian heavyweight so let's see what he offers this Saturday night at Bellator 38!

Here is some clips of Blagoi Ivanov:


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