The promotional banner may have changed, but Blagoy Ivanov keeps rolling along.
The former World Series of Fighting heavyweight king captured a unanimous verdict against Caio Alencar in the Professional Fighters League “Fight Night” headliner at the Washington Hilton, in Washington, D.C., on Thursday night. Two judges scored the bout 29-28, while a third had it 29-27 — all in favor of Ivanov, who has won five consecutive fights.
After a slow start, Ivanov had Alencar reeling in the second frame, and he stalked his opponent with heavy punches in the waning seconds of the period. Alencar, who had some success landing at distance early, was unable to mount enough significant offense down the stretch. Ivanov was also briefly slowed by an eye poke in the second frame, but managed to do the most effective work of the fight in close quarters.
“It was a charity event but this is still a very important fight for me. I wish he [wouldn’t] have circled away over and over but it did not help him because I still won the fight,” Ivanov said. “The eye poke made it hard to see for a couple minutes there but it wasn’t too bad. I could see and was able to continue the fight. I am happy I was able to keep fighting and get the win.”
Lance Palmer was in prime form in the evening’s co-main event. The former World Series of Fighting featherweight king swept the scorecards against nine-time UFC veteran Stephen Siler, earning a pair of 30-27 tallies and a 30-26 nod from the cageside judges.
A former NCAA All-American wrestler at Ohio State University, Palmer grounded Siler repeatedly over the course of the bout’s 15 minutes. Siler did his best to remain active from guard and threatened with submissions, but he was unable to put Palmer in serious peril. Perhaps Palmer’s best moment occurred in the opening stanza, when he floored Siler with a left hand standing and unloaded with purposeful ground-and-pound. “The Ultimate Fighter 14” cast member was able to recover and survive the onslaught.
“There were a lot of things I think I could have done better out there but Steven Siler is a tough guy. He is really long to it was hard to pass but I was really happy I landed a big shot that knocked him down,” Palmer said. “I’ve been working on my hands and it was nice to see it pay off. In the end, I made it through the fight without getting my face messed up too bad before my wedding next week.”
Elsewhere, Mike Kyle made short work of Daniel Gallemore in a heavyweight clash, finishing the contest just 61 seconds after it began. The American Kickboxing Academy product stunned his foe with an uppercut and then pursued the finish, battering Gallemore with a series of knees near the fence. Once Gallemore dropped to his knees, referee Mario Yamasaki intervened to halt the contest.
“I saw him ducking down and knew I would be able to find the uppercut. I hurt him early and then he came back and caught me with a good left,” Kyle said. “I regathered myself and put together a couple good knees and the referee stepped in. It was a good stoppage, I hurt him pretty bad.”
In the evening’s first bout, Timur Valiev scored a submission of Josenaldo Silva in a flyweight tilt. The end came 2:12 into the third round, as Silva succumbed to a rear-naked choke from his Dagestani opponent.
The 27-year-old Valiev controlled the action through takedowns and top control, giving his Brazilian very few opportunities to land offense in exchanges. In the final stanza, Valiev softened Silva with ground-and-pound to set up the fight-ending maneuver.
“This is a victory for my coaches, not for me. Without Mark Henry and Ricardo Almeida and my Dagestani coaches I wouldn’t have been able to win tonight,” Valiev said. “I had a year off and worked with them everyday to improve and I am very happy to finish the fight tonight.”