Alexander Romanov vs. Blagoy Ivanov prediction | UFC on ESPN 48 1

Previously undefeated at 16-0, Alexander “Polar Bear” Romanov, has lost his last two most recent fights to top ten heavyweight contenders. His opponent in this bout, Blagoy Ivanov (19-5), is too on a recent losing skid, having lost his last three of four fights in the UFC.

Both Romanov and Ivanov are ranked heavyweight fighters who have contending aspirations. In this bout, a win will re-enter themselves into the top 10 status, but with a loss, they face the threat of getting cut given the perpetual defeat. This high-stakes affair for ranked fighters is unique and will certainly result in an entertaining affair.

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Betting Odds

The commonality of styles accompanied by each having similar levels of success rationalizes the -110 price tag in each direction.

  • Alexander Romanov: -140 (BetUS)
  • Blagoy Ivanov: +110 (BetUS)

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Fight Breakdown

Alexander Romanov was, not too long ago, touted as one of the most exciting heavyweight prospects on the roster. Beyond having an undefeated record, the style and dominance in the octagon of Romanov excited many fans, particularly because his style is the antithesis of so many, that is, wrestling over all else.

When Romanov is fighting his best, he shoots a tackle-like takedown early in the fight, controls his opponent, and inflicts devastating ground and pound. This style, of using a blitz, tackle tactic suits him coming in as heavy as possible come fight night, but, he has experimented with coming in light and agile in the past, and this experiment has cost him. So, I expect him to be heavy, but in shape, and if Romanov is that, then he can fight in his high-end prospect ways. If done, I do believe he will rinse and repeat the style of tackling his opponent and finishing it on the mat, but if he fails to secure an early takedown, he may need to strike to set up an angle for a shot, and the longer he strikes, the more susceptible he is with wearing damage and falling behind in the fight.

Placing importance in the grappling department is certainly important for Blagoy Ivanov as well. The difference though between him and Romanov is that where Romanov relies on athletic ability and natural strength to secure a blitz takedown, Ivanov prefers to grind his way to the ground. He does so often by pressuring his opponent the best he can, and then, getting the fight against the cage where he can slowly work his way to the ground. On paper, a pressure striker who prefers to grapple in the subpar grappling division that is the heavyweight division is highly successful, but the issue for Ivanov is that while he wants to pressure to close distance, he needs to do so through a hyper-cautious way given he is less than agile coupled with him not having the severe power threat his opponents often possess, thus making him have a cautious-pressure approach which is certainly an oxymoron.

In this fight, Ivanov will have a key advantage if he can pass the initial test of Romanov. That advantage is the ability to patiently and methodically land strikes on the feet and perform well against the cage. While the case, Ivanov will need to show the ability to stuff the unique takedowns of Romanov, and while Ivanov does have strong grappling defense, if he is tripped up and put on his back, the top game of Romanov will likely prove too much for him.

Prediction and Betting Guide

The way in which this fight will start will be largely dependent on how heavy Romanov comes into this fight. If light, I expect Romanov to strike from the outside, and then, Ivanov close distance and make this a fight against the cage. If heavy, I expect Romanov to blitz Ivanov with a tackle-like takedown. Trusting Romanov will come in heavy, I believe Romanov will indeed blitz Ivanov, and given the slow nature of Ivanov coupled with Romanov having good takedown offense early, I expect Romanov to get this fight to the mat and quickly inflict damage, which will either end the fight or allow him to find success later through a damaged Ivanov.

Pick: Romanov to win (-140 odds at BetUS)

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