The previously scheduled scrap between UFC heavyweights Blagoy Ivanov and Augusto Sakai has found a new home.
Originally booked for UFC 250 in Brazil, Ivanov vs. Sakai was left in limbo due to the coronavirus pandemic. Mass gathering bans and travel restrictions have put events in the South American nation on hold. The card was originally scheduled for May 9, which now sees UFC 249 take place in Jacksonville.
The rebooked UFC 250, for parts unknown, is expected to play out on June 6. But for Brazil’s Sakai and Bulgaria’s Ivanov, there’s no need to wait that long.
Combate was first to report that instead, the pair will share the octagon on May 23.
Ivanov (18-3, 1NC) will enter the fight off a split decision loss to Derrick Lewis at UFC 244 back in November. That loss snapped a two-fight win streak, leaving “Bagata” 2-2 in the UFC overall. Ivanov previously competed for Bellator MMA, and was a WSOF (later PFL) heavyweight champion.
Sakai (14-1-1) has been on an impressive run ever since a 2017 defeat to Cheick Kongo under the Bellator banner. He’s won all five of his subsequent fights, with four finishes in that span. That includes three bouts in the UFC, and a Contenders Series appearance.
The UFC’s May 23 date does not yet have a location announced, though Florida and Nevada appear to be in the running.