Blagoy Ivanov earned his first UFC victory the hard way at UFC Wichita, taking his fair share of damage but ultimately getting his hand raised against Ben Rothwell.
Wichita, Kansas — Former WSOF heavyweight champ Blagoy Ivanov earned his first win Saturday at UFC Wichita. It was no easy task. Taking on ‘Big’ Ben Rothwell, Ivanov battled it out for the full three rounds, and was looking worse for the wear after. The decision came down to volume: Rothwell had constant forward pressure, and found some success with his straight punches. But Ivanov threw more, bloodied up ‘Big’ Ben, and sealed the deal.
The Bulgarian told reporters including Cageside Press that he felt good following the bout at the Intrust Bank Arena. “Ben, he’s a hell of a fighter, he’s a tough opponent. I want to thank him, [because] we spent time together in the cage.”
One thing Ivanov, who improved his record to 17–2 (1), did learn Saturday is that when it comes to Rothwell, “his chin is very tough.”
Luckily, he saw it coming. “I was prepared for this kind of fight. To move forward, throw more jabs, and throw more punches than him. This was my game plan.” For the most part, he executed, especially in the volume department.
Of course, when going to the judges, you never really know. “I asked [coach] Javier [Mendez], he said ‘you win the fight.’ I was good when he told me this.” But he admitted that “[Rothwell]’s American, so you never know. What they see, the judges.”
On securing his first UFC win, Ivanov said that “it’s a very special moment for me, to fight with this kind of fighter. Top in the world. I feel very, very happy, and great right now.” It might be a little bit before we see the Bulgarian back in action, however, “I need some time. Maybe I will take a vacation, I didn’t take a vacation last year. Then I’ll get ready for the next one.”