UFC Boise main event headlines a former WSOF heavyweight champion, the Bulgarian powerhouse, Blagoy Ivanov (16-1-1NC). Former WSOF champions in the UFC in Marlon Moraes, Justin Gaethje and David Branch are causing waves in their respective divisions, hence same can be expected from Ivanov.
The 31-year-old has had a lot of ups and downs. From capturing the WSOF heavyweight belt to spending nearly three months in a medically-induced coma back in 2012.
In February 2012, Ivanov was attacked in a bar by a group of eight men. Ivanov was stabbed below the armpit, with the blade of the knife penetrating his heart. After multiple surgeries, he was discharged from the hospital in May and has never looked back since then.
“When I got out, my first thing I thought was that I will come back stronger,” said Ivanov. “I always knew this time would come,” he said. “I watched (the UFC) all the time. I think the best heavyweights are here, and I’m happy to fight with the best guys in the world.”
Ivanov has been training on and off in the United States since 2011. However, this time around he plans to make his home here and is using the best facilities in Xtreme Couture Gym and Daniel Cormier’s training ground, the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA).
“At first I went back and forth to Bulgaria, but now I’m concentrating more on being here in the United States,” he said. “It was big (adjustment), but I brought my family here and they helped me too.”
“It’s a good experience for me with both champs,” said Ivanov. “You learn all the time when you spar with good guys and they push you. It’s a good thing to be educated by somebody.”
Ivanov believes a win over former champ in Junior Dos Santos would cement his place not only in the rankings but also in the UFC title picture.
“I believe one good win will put me on top,” said Ivanov, who promises that fans who may not know him now will know him on Saturday night.
“They will see me and they will see one of the best heavyweight fights.”