Undefeated Heavyweight and Bellator veteran Blagoi Ivanov is reportedly clinging to life in a Bulgarian hospital after being stabbed in the heart early Sunday morning. The former Sambo champion was attending the after party of a boxing tournament when he and his two friends were attacked by a group of eight men carrying guns and knives. The reasoning behind this altercation has yet to be determined, but police have already made several arrests of those believed to be involved in the incident.
Although his friends were able to walk away from the incident with minor injuries, Ivanov was immediately rushed to a nearby hospital following the incident when it was determined that the knife blade, which entered through his armpit, had penetrated his heart. The six hour surgery that followed was successful, but the next 48 hours are critical in determining the fate of the 25 year old, according to inside sources.
Ivanov is perhaps best known for winning the 2008 World Sambo Championships, and specifically, beating none other than four time champ and former PRIDE heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko in the semis along the way. The Bulgarian made the transition to MMA shortly thereafter, and has gone 6-0 with 1 no contest in his MMA career thus far. Aside from scoring two victories inside the Bellator ring, TKO’ing William Penn in just under three minutes at Bellator 38 and choking out TUF 10 alum Zak Jensen back in October, Ivanov most recently dispatched former UFC Heavyweight Champion Ricco Rodriguez by way of TKO due to retirement on Christmas Eve.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Ivanov and his family.