Ben Rothwell is back.
Rothwell will return to the Octagon in March after nearly three years off. According to Bulgarian MMA website MMA.bg, Ben Rothwell will fight former Bellator champion Blagoy Ivanov in March. The bout was later confirmed by MMAJunkie, however, a date and venue for the fight has not been revealed.
Ultimately, Rothwell was last seen in April of 2016 when he took on Junior dos Santos in which he suffered a unanimous decision loss after going all five rounds. The heavyweight contender has been fighting professionally since 2001. He is currently 36-10 and was riding a four-fight winning streak with wins over Brandon Vera, Alistair Overeem, Matt Mitrione, and Josh Barnett before losing to dos Santos.
Rothwell was supposed to fight former heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum at UFC 211. However, that fight never came to fruition due to Rothwell being suspended two years for a drug violation from USADA. Rothwell has now served that suspension and can finally return to the Octagon. The 37-year-old has always been a top contender in the heavyweight division. Now, it will be interesting to see just what Rothwell can do after nearly three years off from fighting.
His opponent as mentioned is Blagoy Ivanov who used to be the Bellator heavyweight champion. Ivanov made his UFC debut in July of this year when he took on Junior dos Santos and suffered a unanimous decision loss to the former champ. Prior to that, the 32-year-old fought in the World Series of Fighting and PFL where he was the WSOF and PFL heavyweight champion.
Ivanov has notable wins over the likes of Shawn Jordan, Lavar Johnson, and Derrick Mehmen among others. He also has lost to Alexander Volkov in Bellator and fought to a no-contest against Ilir Latifi way back in 2008. Ivanov has been fighting professionally since 2007 and is currently 16-2-1.
Whoever wins the fight may very well see themselves into the heavyweight rankings. With that, it is an important fight for both fighters to start off 2019 right.