Daniel Zlatkov versus Atanas Mihaylov

On the 13th of January in Armeec Arena, Sofia we witnessed amazing fights in the stacked fight card of Spartacus Fighting Championship 6. Thanks to the president of Combat Promotion, Mr. Georgi Anadolov, we had the pleasure to watch high level K-1, MMA and Muay Thai. Combat Promotion brought together the very best Bulgarian professional fighters and top fighters from other European countries, such as England, Italy and The Netherlands.

Besides fights full of technical mastery and professional athleticism, we had the opportunity to see what would happen if we put two regular men in the cage, without any professional fighting experience. Two ordinary men with no martial arts background faced each other in an MMA fight. Despite having zero professional fights in their records, Daniel Zlatkov and Atanas Mihaylov put on a great show for us and fought as good as they can.

Daniel Zlatkov is an ex-football player. He wanted to make a statement with his fists, that footballers are not as soft, as people think they are. He had just about a month of martial arts training, coached by the Bulgarian world grappling champion Angel Karaivanov. Despite the fact that he has never been in a professional fight, Daniel Zlatkov believed that he will get the win because of his will power and good conditioning.

Atanas Mihaylov is a TV announcer. He stepped in to fight Daniel with the intentions to prove the ex-footballer wrong and send him back to less violent sports. Despite being taken down by a flu just a few days before the fight, Atanas did not back out and went to war with Zlatkov.

The fight looked more like a street brawl, rather than a professional MMA bout. Just like 90% of the street fights between two average Joe’s, the fight quickly went to the ground.

Zlatkov managed to get up to his feet quickly and held the centre of the cage for the next minute of the round. The ex-footballer had a better fight stance than his opponent and threw hard leg kicks. His football background surely did help him to kick with such power.

Zlatkov gained some confidence after rocking Mihaylov’s lead leg with a few low kicks and decided to go all in. He pressed his opponent to the cage and took him down.

However, Zlatkov landed in the TV announcer’s closed guard and did not inflict any damage from there. Atanas held his opponent tight and did not let Zlatkov posture up and throw power shots at him. Just before the end of the round, Atanas managed to sweep Zlatkov and ended up in mount position. The bell saved Daniel Zlatkov from a very dangerous spot to be in.

Daniel Zlatkov started Round 2 more aggressively than he should have and hit the cage after rushing with full speed towards his stunned opponent.

Zlatkov went into full offence mode and started throwing punches recklessly. In desperation, the TV announcer attempted a takedown, but the tattooed ex-footballer defended with a sprawl and stabilized top position on his turtled up opponent. Both fighters took some time to catch a breath. Atanas recovered quicker and exploded from the turtle position, lifting up his opponent and throwing him on the ground.

Atanas did not utilize to the fullest the dominant position he just got into. He tried controlling his opponent with just one hand while punching him with the other. I think we can all forgive him about that, though.

Mihaylov exhausted himself by throwing way too many punches (most of which hit anything but Zlatkov’s face) and eventually lost the “modified” side control. Zlatkov ended the round on his opponents back.

The fight was stopped by the referee in between the second and the third round. Atanas could not continue the fight. The TV announcer’s gas tank was empty and that was clearly visible as he was barely standing.

Both men put it all on the line and went to war for two very hard rounds. Not only to prove their warrior spirit to themselves, but to the ones who doubted them. Regardless if we ever see them again in the cage, they battled out their right to be called fighters.

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