Heavyweights kicked off the UFC Vegas 76 card on Saturday, with Alexandr Romanov looking to snap a two-fight skid against former Bellator MMA heavyweight contender and WSOF/PFL champ Blagoy Ivanov.
The fight began with Romanov looking to cut off the cage and put Ivanov on the back foot. A minute went by in the fight and not a single strike had been thrown, showcasing just how this fight was going to go. Around one minute and 15 seconds in, the first strike of the fight was thrown and it was Romanov who tried to land the big over-hand left.
Blagoy Ivanov began to work on his counter-striking and was able to land a counter left hook to the body of Romanov. With just over two minutes left, Romanov attempted a level change but Ivanov was wise to it and stuffed the takedown with complete ease. Ivanov landed a big 1-2 down the pipe moments after with that being clearly the biggest moment of the fight to that point. Alexandr Romanov looked to begin landing the low calf kick but as he stepped in to land it, he found himself getting hit with counters. With just under 10 seconds left of the round, Romanov clinched up and pushed Blagoy back against the cage, marking the end of the first five minutes.
With the first round being relatively close to call, both fighters came into round two knowing they’d need to up their output. Romanov was the one who was clearly trying to lead the dance and make this his fight, but Ivanov was the one who seemed to be landing more frequently with his counter strikes. A double jab landed for Ivanov as Alexandr looked to once again land his low kick. Similarly to round one, both fighters were relatively passive through the second round, but with just over one minute left, Romanov landed a 1-2 of his own that backed Ivanov up. From there Romanov was able to secure himself a takedown where he controlled for the rest of the round, where he was able to inflict a small amount of damage.
As a result of Romanov’s ground-and-pound, Ivanov’s left eye began swelling and looked slightly compromised. Ivanov’s heart is something that is never in question though and he was able to make it to the final round. The first few shots Romanov threw in the opening moments of round three were the calf kicks as they clearly seemed to compromise the 36-year-old. The two big hitters began to let their hands go with them both landing big punches as they both seemed to tire. Ivanov’s counter striking continued to play a part and present Romanov with something to think about, but it wasn’t enough to halt the forward pressure of Romanov. With just over a minute to go the two began just trading leather in the centre of the Octagon, something we didn’t expect coming into this matchup. Ivanov’s left eye looked increasingly compromised. Again at the end of the round, Romanov landed himself another takedown looking to finish the fight on top and in a dominant position.
Official Result: Alexandr Romanov def. Blagoy Ivanov via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)