UFC on ESPN 9 intro: After holding three events in the span of eight days in Jacksonville, Florida, the UFC returns to Las Vegas, Nevada for UFC on ESPN 9 tonight, Saturday, May 30.
Taking place at the UFC Apex, the event is headlined by former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley and Gilbert Burns. In the co-main event, Blagoy Ivanov takes on Augusto Sakai in a heavyweight clash.
In our heavyweight co-main event of the evening, Blagoy Ivanov faces Augusto Sakai in a bout that was originally slated for UFC 249.
Sakai made his way onto the UFC radar by defeating Marcos Conrado on Dana Whites Contender Series. Since then, the heavyweight knockout artist has been undefeated in his UFC run thus far, with 2 of his 3 Octagon wins coming via TKO. His lone loss came from a split decision to Cheick Kongo back in 2017, and Sakai has been on a tear ever since, winning all 5 fights since that loss. He enters his bout with Ivanov after a spectacular 59 second TKO win over Marvin Tybura at UFC on ESPN+ 16. Sakai also holds notable wins over Chase Sherman and Andrei Arlovski.
Blagoy Ivanov hasn’t had an easy day in the office since he’s signed with the UFC, going 2-2. He was welcomed to the promotion by former heavyweight champ, Junior Dos Santo whom handed Ivanov his 2nd loss in his professional career via decision. Ivanov bounced back with consecutive wins over Ben Rothwell and Tai Tuivasa, only to suffer a split decision loss in his last outing at UFC 244 against Derrick Lewis.
Here’s how the co-main event between Blagoy Ivanov vs. Augustro Sakai went down at UFC on ESPN 9, including round-by-round scoring. For full event results, check them out right here.
Both fighters touch gloves to start this heavyweight bout. Sakai is the first to commit with feinting shots but both fighters use the opening minute for a feeling out process. ASakai stays behind a few jabs to keep his distance. Ivanov walks Sakai against the fence. Sakai throws a head kick and Ivanov blitzes through with an overhand right. Sakai jabs his way back to the center of the cage. Ivanov continues with pressure, measuring when he rushes forward with punches in bunches. Sakai is able to avoid any damage utilizing his reach. Sakai is circling the cage until Ivanov rushes again with heavy missed punches. Sakai gets the bout back to center cage, momentarily. Ivanov is relentless with his pressure, backing up Sakai against the fence time and time again while throwing wild hooks upstairs. Sakai starts working behind his kicks to reassess his distance. Push kicks, and several leg kicks score for Sakai. In a back and forth round full of action, Ivanov’s pressure inched the fight in his favor.
MyMMANews scores round 1: 10-9 Ivanov
Ivanov lands a straight left down the middle from the start of the round followed by several heavy body shots. Sakai returns the favor with a huge counter right hand. Ivanov shoots for the takedown but is shrugged off. Both fighters sling heavy leather to the head simultaneously. The fight works its way against the fence for a brief exchange. Sakai pressures Ivanov against the fence but Ivanov circles to center cage with a few missed punches. Sakai starts working behind his reach again, picking away at Ivanov. Ivanov backs up to the cage and lands a right-left and Sakai makes him pay with a thudding kick to the body. Sakai presses Ivanov against the fence again and utilizes his dirty boxing , scoring an inside knee, and securing range with a nasty backfist. The fight gets back to center cage. Ivanov swings wildly, looking to take Sakai’s head off. Sakai counter strikes with more kicks to the body and some hard punches, upstairs. Ivanov attempts to stay in the scuffle, but the momentum is taking a swing with Sakai landing heavy leg kicks. Ivanov is swinging and missing his mark before the The fighters trade briefly. Both fighters are showing signs of fatigue. With a minute left, Sakai looks to get his opponent against the fence again, walking him down with some knees. Ivanov finds enough space to score a takedown late in the round, looking to steal the round.
MyMMANews scores round 2: 10-9 Sakai
The final round begins and Ivanov starts first with the punchesin volume. Sakai mixes it up between his punches and kicks as he looks to walk down Ivanov, again. A few missed straight punches from Sakai and Ivanov takes advantage with a solid straight punch upstairs. Sakai lands a big punch combination, finishing with a left hand and he takes flight with a flying knee attempt. Ivanov comes forward with his own punches with little landing. Both fighters trade a few punches in a brief scuffle. Sakai secures a body lock and escorts Ivanov against the fence, looking to take control using his dirty boxing. Between sweep attempts, and landing an exploding uppercut, Sakai is looking to take control of this heavyweight outing. Ivanov secures the neck and attempts to trip Sakai to the floor. Unfortunately, Sakai grabbed the fence for leverage to avoid the trip. The referee sees it, pauses the action and resumes the bout standing. Both fighters trade punches for a short period. Sakai lands a teep as Ivanov throws a looping overhand that misses by a long shot. Sakai continues working behind his kicks, switching it from low to high with nothing significant finding its home. Ivanov presses the action forward with a looping punch upstairs and closing the onslaught with a nasty left hook. Ivanov walks Sakai down, eating a few shots to give his own. Both fighters are clearly exhausted and throwing strikes with minimum impact. Sakai presses Ivanov’s back against the fence to draw a close to this heavyweight co-main event.
MyMMANews scores round 3: 10-9 Sakai
Official Result: Augusto Sakai wins via split decision