Jake Paul defeated UFC legend Anderson Silva with a knockout in the final round.
Paul led on all three scorecards entering the eighth round, when Silva was knocked out by a right hand. The Brazilian regained his composure to complete the remainder of the bout before suffering his second boxing loss.
Paul said, “Man, this is a surreal moment, but hard work pays off.” “I would like to thank Anderson for inspiring me to be great. Without him, this year’s fight would not take place. I have only the highest regard for him. I began boxing two and a half years ago, and I just defeated one of the greatest strikers of all time.”
Paul, age 25, was seeking his sixth professional victory against UFC legend Silva, age 47, having previously defeated fellow content creator AnEsonGib, NBA star Nate Robinson, and former MMA champions Tyron Woodley and Ben Askren.
Silva had defeated former world champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and fellow MMA veteran Tito Ortiz since his departure from the UFC two years ago, following a legendary run in the organisation. As the opponents approached the ring, he received the loudest applause from the Phoenix crowd.
Paul opted to attack Silva’s body in the first round, but it was the Brazilian who landed the round’s hardest left hook. Silva’s output was limited in the first round, but he landed the round’s hardest left hook. Paul struggled to land punches from his back foot as Silva danced around the ring and taunted him by urging him to come forward.
Silva’s low guard allowed Paul to find success with his jab in the fourth round, as Paul began to increase his output. The Brazilian’s awkward head movement was causing Paul problems, and at the middle of the fight, Paul landed a good flurry. As they broke from the clinch, Paul was getting caught by Silva’s uppercut, and the fight was tied going into the sixth round.
Fans grew impatient with the lack of output from both players, but Paul silenced their jeers with a flurry before Silva responded with his own. When Paul was backed up against the ropes, the UFC legend continued to have his best moments, smothering him with pressure and setting up combinations.
In the final round, both fighters increased their output, and Paul scored the only knockout by dropping Silva with a right hand. The Brazilian regained his composure and returned to his feet to walk Paul down, but he was taking blows during this time. The judges scored the match in Paul’s favour with scores of 77-74, 78-73, and 78-73. Despite Silva’s valiant effort and hearing the final buzzer, he lost the match.
On the undercard, Braulio Rodriguez was knocked out in 60 seconds by the 18-year-old prospect Ashton Sylve, who was the first fighter signed by Paul’s Most Valuable Promotions. Sylve, who entered the ring wearing a Minions costume, knocked Rodriguez to the ground with a check hook. Rodriguez regained his feet but stumbled into the ropes, resulting in the fight being called off as Sylve earned his eighth victory and maintained his perfect knockout percentage.
Earlier on the card, former NFL star Le’Veon Bell gave a valiant effort against UFC veteran Uriah Hall but was defeated by unanimous decision. In his professional debut, ‘Doctor Mike’ Varshavski was outclassed over four rounds by Nate Diaz’s teammate Chris Avila. He was subsequently defeated.
Arizona natives Adrian Rodriguez and Danny Barrios Flores won by unanimous decision earlier in Phoenix, while Silva’s training partner Eliezer Silva knocked out Anthony Hannah in the evening’s opening bout.