World Series of Fighting’s longtime heavyweight champion Blagoy Ivanov isn’t wasting any time starting his UFC run.
A heavyweight tilt between former UFC titleholder Junior dos Santos and ex-WSOF heavyweight king Ivanov has been slated for July 14 as the main event of UFC Boise. The bout will serve as Ivanov’s Octagon debut after the 31-year-old Bulgarian amicably parted ways with the re-branded WSOF (now called the Professional Fighters League) earlier this month.
MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani confirmed the matchup Monday following an initial report by ESPN.
Ivanov (16-1, 1 NC) rides a five-fight win streak into his promotional debut, a run highlighted by a quartet of successful defenses of the WSOF/PFL heavyweight title. A contender with ample experience competing in Bellator as well, Ivanov carries notable wins over UFC veterans Shawn Jordan, Lavar Johnson, and Ricco Rodriguez.
Ivanov’s miraculous recovery from a near-fatal stabbing in 2012 was previously profiled by MMA Fighting’s Chuck Mindenhall.
Dos Santos (18-5), meanwhile, has been sidelined since an unsuccessful title bid against UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic ended via first-round knockout in May 2017.
Following the loss, “Cigano” fell victim to a contaminated supplement in a August 2017 drug test administered by USADA. Dos Santos tested positive for the banned substance hydrocholorothiazide, however he and fellow Brazil countrymen Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Marcos Rogerio de Lima were ultimately granted reduced, six-month suspensions after a USADA investigation confirmed the failed drug tests were the result of two Brazilian pharmacies selling contaminated supplements.
Dos Santos, 34, has alternated wins and losses since the end of his title reign in 2012, going 3-4 over his last seven contests. Over that time, dos Santos has defeated the likes of Ben Rothwell, Miocic, and Mark Hunt.
UFC Boise takes place at the CenturyLink Arena in Boise, Idaho. The night’s main card will air live on FOX Sports 1.