In heavyweight action at UFC 238, Blagoy Ivanov went the distance with Tai Tuivasa, earning a unanimous decision win in a fight where both men had knockdowns.
Heavyweights opened the UFC 238 PPV card, as Blagoy Ivanov looked to build on a win against Ben Rothwell at UFC Wichita in March. His opponent, Tai Tuivasa, was looking to bounce back from his first loss, against Junior dos Santos late last year.
After some feeling out, it was Ivanov throwing first in this heavyweight clash, but he couldn’t land clean. Tuivasa then had his turn, and bullied Ivanov into the fence. He’d repeat that a moment later, pressing against his opponent as they grappled for control. Tuivasa would work in an elbow or two as they clinched, then fire a spinning back fist off the break. However, a moment later, Ivanov would drop Tai Tuivasa with a right hand! The punch landed right behind the ear. Ivanov went right for a choke, but Tuivasa fought it off. In a clinch, Ivanov went for the neck again, locking on with a guillotine, but Tuivasa popped free. They’d wind up back in the middle trading, Ivanov looking confident, but Tuivasa landing a couple of punches. Ivanov then landed his right, and then a left just before the end of the frame!
Tuivasa ripped a few low kicks to open round two, then landed a right on Ivanov. A moment later, he wobbled Ivanov with another punch! Tuivasa then drove him into the fence, which allowed Ivanov to hold on and buy some recovery time. Tuivasa, perhaps sensing that, moved to separate, adding an elbow. Back in the open, Tuivasa landed a left a couple of times. Ivanov went on the attack, backing his opponent into the fence. Cardio was becoming an issue for Tai Tuivasa. Still, he continued to fire kicks, one or two of which nearly took Ivanov’s legs out from under him. Both men landed standing elbows, both men landed some hard punches. Ivanov would lock on with a guillotine late in the round, and Tuivasa would tap — only after the bell had sounded.
"This is crazy!"
— UFC (@ufc) June 9, 2019
Both men looked exhausted between rounds, and whoever had more left in the tank would likely come out the winner. The pair exchanged kicks, and Tuivasa’s were certainly more effective, though Ivanov’s legs weren’t looking too bad overall. After a back-and-forth second round, a lot of the third was spent against the cage, where again, Ivanov looked for a guillotine. Controlling the neck, he managed to land a handful of knees, the crowd reacting to each blow. Tuivasa, however, slipped free. More leg kicks from Tuivasa, and Ivanov was unsteady on his lead leg now. He gutted it out to the end, however, and took the decision.
Blagoy Ivanov def. Tai Tuivasa by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)