Ivanov won the 2008 Combat Sambo World Championships, notably defeating Fedor Emelianenko in the semifinals, reportedly ending an eight-year undefeated streak for Emelianenko in Combat Sambo. Ivanov has also competed in Judo as a heavyweight national representative for Bulgaria.
Since transitioning to mixed martial arts, Ivanov has gone undefeated with an impressive 8-0 professional record, including three (T)KO’s and three submission victories.
The fast rising 24-year-old is expected to make his U.S and Bellator debut in 2011. Ivanov currently trains out of the TapouT Training Center in Las Vegas and has recently spent time training with the likes of Randy Couture, Roy Nelson, and Vitor Belfort. Ivanov also recently spent time working his hands with former boxing champion and uncle to Floyd Mayweather Jr., Jeff Mayweather.
“Blagoi is a great signing for us at heavyweight,” said Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney. “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.”
Although many changes will come with his newly minted Bellator contract, Ivanov says that he is more than excited to get started.
“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.”