Jake Paul’s business plan of battling it out in the boxing ring with retired MMA stars continued to bear fruit on Saturday night.
Throwing down at the Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona, Paul fought perhaps his hardest contest yet — in the end going the distance with an opponent more than two decades his senior. One who had come to fight, making for a highly entertaining scrap for the better part of eight rounds.
If there was one word to describe the opening round of Jake Paul vs. Anderson Silva, it was “uneventful.” If you wanted to be generous and recap the opening frame with two words, “downright dull” would suffice. Silva threw all of zero punches through the opening minute, though he did land the most significant strike of the round, landing a left hand flush to the face of Paul. Paul threw slightly more, but connected, well, slightly less. Less than one, really, at least in terms of anything significant.
Round two out of necessity, and with few other options really, was more active. Silva backed Paul into a corner, hunted him down, and landed an uppercut. He rolled with Paul’s counters, not there to be hit when Paul swung. After a clinch, Silva danced, circling the ring. Paul came over the top with a huge right hand, just missing. A reminder that over two decades younger than Silva, Jake Paul had the sort of energy and power that was hard to match at 47.
That didn’t stop “The Spider” from showboating, and hunting down Paul again, firing uppercuts. Then caught him with a left hook. As if to emphasize that taking him lightly would be folly, however, Paul answered with a right hand. They finished the round clinched up.
In the third, Silva slipped and ripped, then tied things up. Paul was fighting a more defensive fight than was customary, and Silva’s many different looks appeared to have him guessing. Paul partially landed with a right, Silva returned in kind. After another clinch, Paul swung big, and fanned again. In a game of inches, Paul had so far fallen short with his biggest punches. But Silva’s nose was bloody; he had not escaped the third unscathed.
Between rounds, Paul complained that Silva was pulling his head down. “The Problem Child” perhaps showed no bigger sign that he was having problems. Still, he hit home with a right hand in round four, which Silva answered with an uppercut. Again, it was Silva pressing forward, Paul looking to counter. Silva slipped some punches, but approaching the midway mark of the round, the gas tank of 47-year old Silva could come into question. Silva finished the frame unloading on Paul.
Between the fourth and fifth frame, the ref warned Silva for hitting after the bell. In a close fight, a point deduction wasn’t what anyone wanted. Paul found some success early in the round that ensued, Silva’s movement having slowed. He still managed to back Paul up, with Paul using the ropes to his advantage and avoid the biggest shots Silva had to offer. Uppercuts out of the clinch landed for Silva, and Paul appeared to be slowing as well. That uppercut connected several more times by the end of a round that Silva appeared to have won.
Paul connected early in round six, far from out of the fight. His next jab fell short, as would another big swing near the midway mark of the round. Silva’s output had dropped perceptibly, and that allowed Paul to open up. At the end of the round, Silva would unleash a flurry of strikes as Paul weaved and covered up. That was accompanied by an accidental headbutt. A much closer round for Paul, and another warning by the ref for throwing after the bell.
In round seven, Paul was busy again early. Silva was less lackadaisical than he had been the previous frame, but Paul’s activity had him back in the fight. Silva’s nose, as it had throughout, continued to leak blood, and he finished the round with a solid right hook.
Silva took the fight to Paul to open round eight, and it cost him. Silva was dropped, a right hand doing the damage and trailing a left that had also connected, though he made it back to his feet. Silva now had a hole to climb out of, and he had slowed considerably in terms of his reaction time. Silva managed to get Paul to the ropes, working from the inside later in the round, but the knockdown sealed the deal.
Jake Paul was awarded the decision win when all was said and done — and if nothing else, he’d earned it. Age discrepancy not withstanding, Anderson Silva showed up in form on Saturday. The only downside, Paul, as expected, called out Nate Diaz after the fight. Given a backstage altercation between the Paul and Diaz camps, it’s not all that surprising, but it seems Paul is back to challenging undersized former UFC stars.
Official Result: Jake Paul def. Anderson Silva by unanimous decision (77-74, 78-73, 78-73)