It’s rather telling that those in attendance for the main event of Triller Fight Club: Legends II gave a bigger cheer for Donald Trump than either Evander Holyfield or Vitor Belfort.
The event was, after all, a circus sideshow whose only redeeming moment was Anderson Silva making short work of fellow UFC legend Tito Ortiz.
It wasn’t entirely Triller’s fault. The original main event pairing between Oscar De La Hoya and Vitor Belfort at least had a little more intrigue to it. Belfort had power in his hands, had forgone a boxing run earlier in his career, and was taking on a former champ. De La Hoya was set to start on the comeback trailer, albeit against an MMA athlete, years removed from his prime.
When De La Hoya had to withdraw due to COVID-19, however, Evander Holyfield stepped in. 58-year old Evander Holyfield, a full 14 years Belfort’s senior.
It felt iffy on paper. It played out that way in the ring. Belfort stalked Holyfield, and his first solid punch hurt the former heavyweight champion. A big swing and a miss from Belfort put Holyfield off-balance, and he nearly fell right through the ropes. Moments later, Belfort would drop the older man with an uppercut.
To Holyfield’s credit, he made it back to his feet, answering the 10-count. But Belfort smelled blood in the water. He went right after the finish, working the body and landing more shots to the head. While Holyfield was still standing, the ref had seen enough, stepping in and waving off the contest — saving Evander Holyfield from unnecessary damage.
Holyfield immediately protested the stoppage, and if he weren’t a 58-year old man coming off a decade-long layoff, he’d have a valid argument. In this particular instance, however, it felt like the ref did everyone a favor.
Whatever you think of the stoppage, Holyfield vs. Belfort was not a “win” for MMA in the pointless MMA vs. boxing debate. As with Anderson Silva, the other big winner on the night, Belfort at least will live to fight another day. Despite claiming he “wasn’t hurt” after the fight, Holyfield would be best served to stay in retirement.
Official Result: Vitor Belfort def. Evander Holyfield by TKO, Round 1, 1:49