Jivko Stoimenov versus Falco Neto Lopes – when a grappler becomes a striker

The Bulgarian up and coming MMA fighter Jivko Stoimenov took on the much more experienced Falco Neto Lopes in one of the most anticipated and exciting fights in the stacked fight card of SFC 6 – Warrior Honour.  Just 21 years old, Jivko Stoimenov stole the show with a highlight reel knockout which made the crowd in Armeec Arena, Sofia go bananas. 

Jivko Stoimenov has been dominating the grappling and MMA scene in the welterweight division in his home country. He has won numerous grappling and MMA titles as an amateur, and as a professional MMA fighter he has won 5 of his 8 fights via submission. He is particularly well known with his guillotines and Achilles locks. When Jivko grabs a hold of your neck or leg it is pretty much game over.

  The Bulgarian phenom has even tested his skills with some of the best fighters in the United Kingdom. He took part in the UK MMA reality show Born to Fight and even reached the finals of the competition.

Stoimenov had the tough challenge in front of him to take out the much more experienced Portuguese fighter Falco Neto Lopes (9-8). As usual, the Bulgarian came out aggressive and game. Something that he has been doing since his amateur days, Jivko opened the fight with a double-leg takedown attempt, just before or just after, both fighters have touched fists.

Lopes sprawled to defend the takedown, but the Bulgarian continued his drive and pushed Lopes to the cage. The Portuguese fighter managed to reverse the position and pressed Jivko to the cage. Stoimenov defended Falco’s takedown attempt from there by controlling his wrists and threatening him with the guillotine.

Jivko decided to “float like a butterfly, and sting like a bee” before shooting for a takedown. The Bulgarian moved in and out of fight range with great foot work and landed a vicious right hand, set up by a jab. As soon as he landed the heavy blow on his opponent’s head, Stoimenov got out of fight distance.

Stoimenov had no intentions to stay stationary in front of his opponent at any moment of the fight. He attempted the same combination (jab->right overhand), this time followed by a takedown attempt. Falco Lopes defended the takedown properly again and Jivko went back to just throwing punches and moving away, which worked pretty well for him.

Confused whether his opponent will strike or attempt a takedown, Falco Neto Lopes made the terrible mistake to drop his hands for a split second and that cost him the fight and probably his memories of the last hour or two. Jivko Stoimenov landed a perfect kick to his opponents chin. Jivko placed the kick with accuracy and technique of world class level. The kick was perfectly timed – as soon as Falco dropped his hands and leaned forward, the kick landed and sent him to the ground unconscious. 

The young Bulgarian fighter proved that he has matured a lot as a fighter with his well calculated movement and organized game plan in the cage. Jivko looked a lot more confident in his stand up game than in his fights so far and his knockout victory will surely be remembered as the moment Jivko showed he is not just a grappler anymore.  Just 21, Bulgaria’s biggest MMA talent is yet to add more and more weapons in his striking arsenal and he will most certainly mesmerize us again in future Spartacus Fighting Championship events.

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