Blagoy Ivanov started to make his name in 2008, one year after his professional MMA debut, when he won the 2008 Combat Sambo World Championship that included a semi-final victory over the legendary Fedor Emelianenko. Ivanov, in spite of a near-two-year layoff, went 6-1 in Bellator and won a heavyweight championship outside of the promotion. Ivanov enters this fight with four losses in his last five, most recently dropping a decision to Alexander Romanov in July.


Sergei Bilostenniy made his professional MMA debut in 2015 and built his name around Russian MMA promotions, entering this fight with an 11-3 record with eight finishes, seven of which came in the first round. Bilostenniy, who has won four of his last five, signed with Bellator in 2023. Bilostenniy went 1-1 in Bellator, getting disqualified against Tyrell Fortune at Bellator 294 before a highlight, first-round knockout via spinning wheel kick against Kasim Aras at Bellator 299.


Will one of these two be able to make a statement to start their 2024 PFL campaign?



Round 1


Bilostenniy lands a low kick early on. Both men fire off their power early, with Ivanov landing a right hand. A left hand by Ivanov makes Bilostenniy stumble. The two continue to swing away! Bilostenniy locks up Ivanov in a clinch, landing a knee before briefly pinning him against the SmartCage. Ivanov lands a left hand. He lands another. Bilostenniy misses a right hook. Bilostenniy landed some strong clinch uppercuts. Ivanov looks to grab a leg, but Bilostenniy avoids it and the two exchange some dirty boxing.



Ivanov lands another strong left as the two exchange. Bilostenniy tries to land inside. Ivanov lands another big left. Ivanov lands another left and Bilostenniy misses a right. Ivanov makes Bilostenniy stumble again! The combinations from Ivanov seem to be wearing Bilostenniy down. Bilostenniy lands a short combination. Bilostenniy works over Ivanov’s body.



Round 2


Bilostenniy lands a left hand early. Low kick from Bilostenniy, but Ivanov lands a counter. One-two combinations from Ivanov. Bilostenniy misses the right and left. Ivanov misses a jab. Left hand lands to the body for Ivanov. Both men tag each other. Bilostenniy rocks Ivanov as he starts to put together a small flurry! Ivanov clinches to recover, and he lands a hook on the exit! The two go over toward the fence, with Ivanov looking for a takedown. Bilostenniy defends well, though his back is pinned against the fence.



Both men look a little tired from all they’ve been throwing. Ivanov lands a one-two and clinches back up. The referee warns about a clash of heads. Ivanov lands a one-two. Ivanov has Bilostenniy’s back against the fence, where he lands on the inside. Ivanov throws a combination. Ivanov gets Bilostenniy back against the fence. Knee to the body by Bilostenniy causes a separation. Bilostenniy continues to land on the body, though Ivanov is pressuring him. Bilostenniy throws a high kick, but it’s blocked. Ivanov with a strong jab. He lands three strong left hands, one of which knocks out Bilostenniy’s mouthpiece, before the horn.



Round 3


The two fired off to start once again. Bilostenniy lands to the body. Both men are trying to work combinations. Ivanov clinches up Bilostenniy and gets a hold of his neck, as Bilostenniy brings his knees to the mat. Bilostenniy breaks out, however, though not much action gets done before a brief pause for a mouthpiece coming loose. Bilostenniy starts to target the body again. Ivanov lands another left hand. Combination lands for Ivanov. Bilostenniy misses a big uppercut.


Bilostenniy lands a left hand that snaps Ivanov’s head back. One-two for Ivanov. Bilostenniy lands a left hand. Right hand for Bilostenniy. Left hand by Ivanov. One-two for Ivanov again, and Bilostenniy comes up the middle with an uppercut. Ivanov lands a jab. Bilostenniy lands a left to the body. Both men are tired but they’re trying to get off any combinations and any power they can. Low kick by Bilostenniy. Ivanov continues to press forward. The two give one last flurry before the final horn. Great fight from both men!



Ultimately, while it wasn’t a popular opinion amongst the San Antonio crowd, it was Sergei Bilostenniy who came on top on the judges’ cards.





Sergei Bilostenniy defeats Blagoy Ivanov by unanimous decision (29-28x3), earning 3 points in the PFL Heavyweight Division.