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WICHITA, Kan. – After a tough and grueling battle to get his first UFC win, it’s understandable if Blagoy Ivanov employed an economy of words to look back.
Ivanov (17-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC), a former WSOF heavyweight champion, took a unanimous decision from Ben Rothwell (36-11 MMA, 6-5 UFC) on the UFC on ESPN+ 4 main card Saturday at INTRUST Bank Arena in Wichita, Kan. The event streamed on ESPN+.
“I feel good – Ben, he’s a hell of a fighter,” Ivanov told MMA Junkie backstage after the fight. “He’s a very tough opponent, and I want to thank him for spending time together in the cage.
“I was feeling comfortable with the pressure. But he’s a tough puncher, and his chin’s very tough. I was prepared for this kind of a fight to move forward, throw more jabs and throw more punches than him. That was my game plan.”
From a statistical standpoint, on paper it looked like Ivanov should have done enough to get the decision win – but it was close. And many of the fans in Wichita let it be known they seemed to think Rothwell should’ve gotten his hand raised.
In fact, most media outlets tracked by MMADecisions.com scored the fight for Rothwell. But all three judges had it 29-28 for Ivanov, which got him back on track after a loss to former champion Junior Dos Santos in his promotional debut in the UFC Fight Night 133 main event in July 2018.
Ivanov said he was pretty sure he would get his hand raised after American Kickboxing Academy coach Javier Mendez told him he had done enough. But then again …
“I asked Javier and he said, ‘You won the fight.’ And I was good when he told me that. (Rothwell) is American, so you never know (what the judges see),” Ivanov said.
Now he’s ready to take some time to heal up before getting back into the cage. For more from Ivanov, including his vacation plans, check out the video above.
News | MMA Junkie