By the Numbers: Tai Tuivasa vs. Blagoy Ivanov

By Mark Raymundo Jun 7, 2019
The ordering process for Ultimate Fighting Championship pay-per-views has changed: UFC 238 is only available on ESPN+ in the U.S.

Back after the first loss of his professional career, Tai Tuivasa takes on former World Series of Fighting heavyweight champion Blagoy Ivanov at UFC 238 in Chicago, Illinois. Will the Aussie catch his opponent with one of those heavy hands or will the Bulgarian use his grappling to eke out a victory? The numbers below may just tell the story:

Age and pro experience

The 32-year-old Ivanov is six years older than Tuivasa, who made his pro mixed martial arts debut on Aug. 31, 2012. That time, Ivanov was recovering from a near-death experience following a barroom brawl. Tuivasa, meanwhile, went 5-0 fighting in his native of Australia before getting signed by the Ultimate Fighting Championship. During that stretch, he won and defended the Australian Fighting Championship heavyweight title once. He is currently 3-1 in the UFC, with his lone defeat coming at the hands of former champion Junior dos Santos.

Ivanov made his pro debut on Oct. 13, 2007. After a few fights in regional promotions, he was signed by Bellator where he went 6-1 and reached the finals of its heavyweight tournament. He also fought for the WSOF/Professional Fighters League where he became the heavyweight champion. Before going to the UFC where he now has a record of 1-1, he finished his WSOF/PFL stint with a 5-0 record.

Common opponent: Junior dos Santos

Having successfully defended the WSOF/PFL heavyweight title four times, Ivanov was given a tough task on his UFC debut and a headliner at that. He and dos Santos engaged in a five-round boxing match, with the former UFC heavyweight king outpointing him. When the dust settled, all three judges saw it for dos Santos 50-45. Record from Fightmetric shows the Brazilian vastly outpointed him 110-51.

Tuivasa and dos Santos’ match was also a main event. In the first round of their UFC Fight Night 142 match, Tuivasa landed some vicious low kicks as well as elbows that hurt dos Santos. But when “Cigano” found his groove in the second round, it was only a matter of time until he dropped Tuivasa and landed the fight-finishing blows. The end came at 2:30 of round two.

Wins by knockout

Of Ivanov’s 17 career wins, six have come by KO or TKO. His victims include Kamen Georgiev, Jancho Dimitrov , William Penn, Ricco Rodriguez, Derrick Mehmen and Shawn Jordan. Tuivasa, on the other hand, owns seven wins by KO or TKO, having starched Aaron Nieborak, Erik Nosa, Gul Pohatu, Brandon Sosoli, James McSweeney, Rashad Coulter and Cyril Asker in his first seven fights.

Wins by submission

When it comes to grappling, Ivanov is quite the talent. The black belt in judo and International Master of Sports in sambo is the owner of six submission victories. He tapped out Svetoslav Zahariev, Zak Jensen, Manny Lara, Keith Bell, Lavar Johnson and Smealinho Rama. However, he also has one defeat by submission, no thanks to fellow UFC heavyweight contender Alexander Volkov. Unlike Ivanov, Tuivasa has yet to score a submission victory. Advertisement

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