Jake Paul got the biggest win of his career, knocking down Anderson Silva in the final round and winning a well earned decision.
Perhaps it was Father Time finally catching up to the 47-year-old UFC legend, old habits showing up, or a bit of both, but Silva again spent too much time being tentative or playing to the crowd. Like many of his past MMA fights, Silva’s output was way too low and he just waited for long stretches, giving up important rounds even when he had clear advantages in many areas.
Every time Silva pressed and put Paul on his back foot, he looked like the much more technical and more complete boxer, despite lacking that pro boxing experience on paper. Unfortunately, he didn’t do that enough, and sat in the middle of the ring and unnecessarily allowed Paul to play his game.
Maybe it was age and his body not being able to keep that pace up, but Silva lacked urgency and only tried to pressure forward in spurts. Paul didn’t really get to truly impose his game, as much as Silva just decided to fight his kind of fight, but to his credit, Paul did very well every time he got — or was given — those chances. He was obviously more comfortable from distance, and when Silva engaged him there, Paul was able to rack up his punch count, bloody his nose, and take pivotal rounds.
Maybe it was also a good sign of late fight adjustments, but that the knockdown at the end was actually from an exchange on the inside, landing a right as Silva was trying to break away. I’m not sure about the two other wide scores, but Paul clearly deserved that hard fought decision.
As expected, the YouTuber turned boxer still clearly has a lot to improve on — like his footwork, inside-fighting, and even his basic composure when he fights off his back foot — but he passed an important test at this point of his young career.
- Paul probably deserves a good step up next, but I’m not sure he will get it. They’re already hyping up a future bout against UFC superstar Nate Diaz, which will be a much more lucrative show than this, but will it actually be a harder fight?
- Askren and Woodley were both undersized against Paul, but Diaz has even fought a division lower than them both. Diaz will be the much smaller man, which means Paul’s power will probably translate better than it did against Silva here. Even with his toughness and historically good chin, I’m not sure if a past-prime Diaz can still push a high pace against the larger, younger opponent. I do hope he gets that payday though.
- UFC vet Uriah Hall was on the undercard, and while he also had spurts of tentativeness that he (and Silva) have both been criticized for before, he did pitch a shutout. Hall won his pro boxing debut, taking all four rounds against NFL vet Le’Veon Bell. He then called out Jake Paul, but without a highlight reel finish and with more lucrative match ups available, I’m not sure why the YouTuber would accept it.
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