Blagoy Ivanov enters UFC Vegas off of a controversial loss to Derek Lewis at UFC 244 last November.
Despite the loss, Ivanov is getting a key placement on the ESPN card this weekend, in the co-main event against fellow Bellator alum Augusto Sakai. Of course, things are a bit different now for Ivanov, who since his time in Bellator became the WSOF (later PFL) heavyweight champion, prior to jumping to the UFC.
Ivanov (18-3, 1NC) is 2-2 inside the octagon to date. He’ll try to improve on that Saturday against Sakai. But of course like everyone else, he’s been forced to contend with the restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic. Though in his case, Ivanov says there wasn’t much difference.
“So was nothing different like, but I think I was like, the whole camp, more focused,” he told Cageside Press at the UFC Vegas virtual media day. “You don’t have too many places to go. When you’re professional, you have to train all the time and be ready. So it’s nothing different.”
One thing that is different for Ivanov was working with Francis Ngannou in preparation for this fight.
“We did like a few weeks, four or five weeks with him, because his fight was close to my fight,” Ivanov said. “It was a good camp. It was a very good sparring session, and good to work with him. It’s a pleasure to work with this guy.”
Hopefully, working with the hard-hitting “Predator” will help him towards his goal of earning his first UFC finish. Thus far, all four of Ivanov’s UFC bouts, win or lose, have gone to the judges.
“I’m ready to do this. I’m ready to stop him,” said Ivanov. “This is my goal, to stop him.”
UFC on ESPN 9 goes down this Saturday, May 30 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV. The event airs live on ESPN (TSN in Canada).