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We have a showdown in the Heavyweight division, as Blagoy “Baga” Ivanov takes on Marcos Rogerio “Pezao” de Lima. Looking to halt a two-fight skid, Ivanov may need to avoid the scorecards – seeing that he has been on the wrong side of back-to-back split decisions. Still ranked 15th, Ivanov is positioned to still garner big fights. Meanwhile, de Lima comes into this fight on the heels of back-to-back wins. The most recent fight being a career highlight, as de Lima stopped the durable Ben Rothwell in 32 seconds via strikes. Something which hasn’t been done to Rothwell since Cain Velasquez stopped him via strikes 12 years ago.

As for a prediction, I have Ivanov winning. While de Lima is certainly coming into this fight on a high, he’s still the same fighter. A powerful striker, who has some wrestling abilities and about a round’s worth of cardio. With thirteen of his nineteen wins coming in the first round alone, de Lima can be a nightmare to be in the cage with early. However, Ivanov presents some legitimate issues. Having fought some heavy handed strikers throughout his twenty-two fight career, not once has Ivanov been stopped via strikes. In five UFC fights, which include fighting the likes of Junior Dos Santos, Tai Tuivasa, Ben Rothwell and Derrick Lewis, not once has Ivanov even been dropped. A sambo fighter who is comfortable wherever the fight goes, Ivanov isn’t one to shy away from grinding a foe against the cage and looking for the takedown. Considering de Lima sports a 47% takedown defense, that could be worrisome, especially if the fight goes past the first round. In the end though, I see Ivanov weathering any initial danger and eventually winning via submission.

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