Tuivasa, who is coming off of the first loss of his career, faces Ivanov, a former World Series of Fighting/Professional Fighters League champion who is coming off of his first UFC win, on the main card.
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Round 1: Tuivasa comes out and takes the center of the cage. Not much action for the first minute. Tuivasa punches his way into the clinch with Ivanov and now is grinding the sambo practitioner against the fence and landing the occasional good elbow. They two separate and Ivanov drops Tuivasa with a big shot! Tuivasa gets to his feet and forces a clinch to clear his head. Ivanov reverses and goes for a standing guillotine but it’s not close and Tuivasa gets his head free. The separate briefly and both swing huge haymakers but nothing lands. Now they’re back in the clinch. Another separation and Tuivasa lands a good step in knee. Tuivasa is more active but Blagoy is landing some big shots when Tuivasa steps in and visibly hurting the Aussie. Now they are standing at range and Ivanov cannot miss with his hands. Tuivasa is getting his head batted around but he’s eating the shots pretty well. Fun first round.
MMAFighting scores the round 10-9 Ivanov.
Round 2: During the break, Tuivasa’s corner was pretty adamant that Tuivasa needs to respect Ivanov more which is good advice as Tuivasa has not defended too well. The two return to the center of the cage to start round two and Tuivasa is starting to really land some good leg kicks. Tuivasa lands a big right hand that wobbles Ivanov! Tuivasa forces Ivanov up against the fence but quickly separates back to range. Ivanov is throwing single shots and Tuivasa’s speed and combinations are starting to take over. Tuivasa seems to have blown his gas tank though as he is now breathing very heavily and his output has slowed to a crawl. Ivanov is starting to come on now against the fading Tuivasa. But Tuivasa is still landing good leg kicks. Tuivasa’s punches are coming hard now and Ivanov is starting to tag him again with the left hand. Ivanov is definitely tiring as well but he seems to be handling the fatigue a little better than Tuivasa. Tuivasa is now really slowing down and forces a clinch. Ivanov gets a guillotine that forces Tuivasa to the mat. The horn sounds and then Tuivasa taps after the round is over. He looks completely spent but will see the third round.
MMAFighting scores the round 10-9 Ivanov (20-18 Ivanov)
Round 3: Tuivasa looks like the break did him good and he comes out for the third with a bit of bounce in his step. Ivanov lands a huge left hand to start the round but it’s clear both men’s power has faded with their gas tanks. Tuivasa continues to land good leg kicks and lands a couple of good punches too boot, forcing Ivanov to step in for a clinch. Ivanov lands a groin strike that goes unnoticed but Tuivasa reverses position and ends up back in a guillotine. Ivanov forces Tuivasa to the ground with it and briefly gets the back but Tuivasa stands right back up. A prolonged clinch ensues with both men looking for a rest. This fight has gone full heavyweight. Another standing guillotine for Ivanov and he lands a couple of huge knees on Tuivasa before the Aussie gets his head out. They finally separate and Tuivasa hurts Ivanov with leg kicks. Ivanov’s lead leg is locking out but Tuivasa is not going after it and Ivanov is still landing sharp left hands. Now Tuivasa is gunning for that leg and Ivanov is struggling. They stand and throw punches for the final 15 seconds but this fight will see the judges’ scorecards.
MMAFighting scores the round 10-9 Tuivasa and the fight 29-28 for Ivanov.
Official result: Blagoy Ivanov wins by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28).