DOS SANTOS vs IVANOV
In his first bout since a title fight loss to Stipe Miocic in May 2017, former heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos returned to the win column with a grueling five-round win over UFC newcomer Blagoy Ivanov in the UFC Fight Night main event at CenturyLink Arena in Boise, Idaho.
The unanimous decision read 50-45 across the board for the Brazilian star.
Pressuring Ivanov as soon as the bout began, Dos Santos kept his opponent on the defensive, but a right hand in the second minute got the attention of “Cigano” and cut him. Neither the punch nor the blood deterred Dos Santos, but Ivanov was equally unbothered by his opponent’s aggressive stalking.
There were less feints and more strikes from Dos Santos in the second round, and as he began using his movement to counter instead of lead, he had a lot of success against Ivanov, who had not found a striking rhythm yet.
A right hand in the second minute of round three briefly stunned Ivanov, but he was firing back moments later, still invested in scoring the upset in his Octagon debut. With two minutes left, Ivanov snapped Dos Santos’ head back with a wild left hand, and though he was cut over the left eye, the Bulgarian kept pressing.
The pace dipped in the fourth as fatigue set in, with Ivanov looking to be the more tired of the two.
Dos Santos opened the fifth with a right hand, but it was Ivanov who began swinging wildly in an effort to turn the fight around, cutting Dos Santos on the nose in the process. An eye poke by Dos Santos brought a brief halt to the action, and when the fight resumed, the two big men threw bombs, Dos Santos landing his right hand while Ivanov missed. Down the stretch, Dos Santos landed a few solid rights and lefts down the middle, dodging Ivanov’s swings as the bout concluded.
With the win, the No. 8-ranked Dos Santos moves to 19-5. Ivanov falls to 16-2 with 1 NC.