Jake Paul sure does talk a big game, but there’s no denying the YouTuber turned burgeoning boxing star backs it up.
The 25-year-old won a unanimous decision over 47-year-old mixed martial arts legend Anderson Silva on Saturday night in their eight-round cruiserweight main event to remain undefeated as a professional boxer.
Paul (6-0) had never previously faced anyone with Silva’s reputation, although he earned viral knockout wins over former UFC champion Tyron Woodley, ex-Olympic wrestler Ben Askren and former NBA star Nate Robinson as his popularity in the combat sports world grew rapidly. Paul also had bouts with pro boxers Hasim Rahman Jr., and Tommy Fury fall apart prior to the bout with Silva coming together.
Silva holds multiple UFC records and is considered among the greatest talents to ever compete in MMA. He had four pro boxing bouts prior to Saturday’s pay-per-view event, including an impressive 2021 victory over former world boxing champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Paul hadn’t faced a southpaw prior to Silva. Because of the opposite stances, Paul pressed the action early and fired straight right hands to Silva’s body while mixing in lead left hooks to the head as Silva downloaded information and assessed Paul’s timing, throwing only five punches in the first three minutes.
Silva began playing games and occasionally showboated like we saw him do so often in the UFC cage, bobbing and weaving and moving forward with loose defence.
The action began heating up in the middle rounds. Silva was a two-to-one underdog due to his age and Paul’s ascending skills, but Silva still managed some nice moments throughout the bout.
The Brazilian had a two-inch height and four-inch reach advantage over his much younger American opponent, however he didn’t utilize his jab nearly as often as Paul, who relied mostly on conventional techniques, including his powerful right hand that he routinely landed on Silva.
Paul began pulling ahead on the scorecards after solid rounds six and seven. Silva then came out a tad too aggressive in the final round and it cost him with Paul timing a heavy right that resulted in Silva touching canvas.
The biggest moment of the fight ensured a 10-8 round eight and the final scorecards read: 77-74, 78-73, 78-73 all in favour of Paul.
“I’m extremely impressed by Jake Paul’s performance,” said former two-weight UFC champion and fellow MMA great Georges St-Pierre, who was in attendance at Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Ari., as part of the broadcast team.
In the co-main event, vaunted 18-year-old prospect Ashton Sylve finished Braulio Rodriguez in the opening round of their super featherweight tilt.
In other action, former UFC fighter Uriah Hall won a four-round judges’ decision over former NFL running back Le’Veon Bell. Hall just happened to be Silva’s final UFC opponent. He finished Silva when the two fought in an empty venue on Halloween in 2020. Hall gave praise to Bell, who knocked out fellow former NFLer Adrian Peterson earlier this year, before proceeding to call out Paul.
Hall won’t likely be Paul’s top choice for his next opponent, especially considering Paul called out longtime UFC superstar Nate Diaz during his post-fight interview, as well as pound-for-pound boxing great Canelo Alvarez. Diaz attended the event, supporting his teammate Chris Avila who won in the first bout on the main card.