Bellator Signs Unbeaten Heavyweight Sambo Champion Ivanov

By Mike Whitman Mar 15, 2011
Sambo champion Blagoi Ivanov has joined the Bellator roster. | Daniel Herbertson/

Bellator Fighting Championships today announced the signing of undefeated Bulgarian heavyweight prospect Blagoi Ivanov.

A sambo specialist, the 24-year-old currently trains at the Tapout Training Center in Las Vegas and is expected to make his American debut for Bellator later this year.

“Blagoi is a great signing for us at heavyweight,” Bellator head Bjorn Rebney stated in a release. “He brings an incredible sambo background to the cage and is developing his hands with some of the best in the business. I’m very happy that he and his management have decided to move his career forward under the Bellator banner.”

Ivanov won the heavyweight division of the 2008 World Combat Sambo Championships, defeating former Pride Fighting Championships king Fedor Emelianenko en route to the title. The Bulgarian is a veteran of Sengoku competition, defeating another Pride vet in Kazuyuki Fujita in 2009. Most recently, Ivanov earned a first-round October submission victory over Svetoslav Zahariev at a local Bulgarian event.

“I can’t wait to have the chance to show what I’m capable of to all of the Bellator fans watching on MTV2 all across the United States,” said Ivanov. “I’m already hard at work preparing for my first fight with Bellator. My ultimate goal is to fight Cole Konrad for the Bellator world heavyweight championship. My mission is to become the Bellator champion, and that’s what I intend to do.”
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