Jake Paul faced the toughest test of his young career and he delivered a stunning knockdown against Anderson Silva in the final round to secure his victory to remain undefeated.
While the scorecards looked like it was a much more lopsided fight, Paul did not have an easy night at the office as he took some hard shots from Silva round after round as he constantly attempted to connect with his infamous knockout punch. Silva ate Paul’s best shots all night long until he finally got caught with a counter right that sat him down on the ground.
That was obviously the best punch of the night for Paul, who moved to 6-0 in his career after the judges gave him the fight with scores reading 77-74, 78-73 and 78-73.
“It’s a surreal moment,” Paul said afterwards. “Hard work pays off. I want to say thank you to Anderson. He was my idol growing up. He’s a tough mofo. A legend. I have nothing but respect for him.
“He took so many hard shots throughout the fight. He’s a real dog. He’s the toughest guy in the world. I just wanted it more. I left it all in the ring.”
Paul started the fight aggressively as he attempted to walk down Silva, throwing a variety of jabs to the head and body and then going back up top with powerful hooks. A counter puncher by trade, Silva avoided many of Paul’s punches before measuring up a well-timed straight left that got his opponent’s attention.
As the second round got underway, Silva was moving forward and essentially daring Paul to engage with him while ducking and dodging most of the shots coming back at him. Silva connected with a well-timed uppercut that snapped Paul’s head back and the Brazilian’s confidence was starting to surge.
Paul was continuously loading up on his right hand, which has been the punch that has delivered him several knockouts, but Silva was doing a good job evading and the firing back with combinations of his own. When Silva started cutting off the ring, Paul was struggling to stay out of the corner and using the clinch to try and slow down the former UFC champion.
As time ticked away into the fourth round, Paul looked to get more active and that allowed him to land a few more punches including a slick right hook that clubbed Silva on the jaw. Silva came back late after he pushed Paul towards the corner and unleashed a flurry just as the bell sounded.
When Silva closed the distance, he was connecting with more regularity including a right uppercut that kept catching Paul off guard. When fighting in a phone booth, Paul was having trouble avoiding Silva’s short, inside punches.
During the exchanges where Paul could operate from the outside, he was able to clip Silva with better accuracy, although he was still wary of the counters coming back at him.
With just three minutes remaining, Silva came out firing right away but it was Paul who answered back with a huge counter right hook that dropped the mixed martial arts legend. It was a perfectly placed punch that scored the knockdown for Paul as he silenced many doubters as he secured his victory in the eight-round battle.
For his part, Silva gave Paul all the credit for besting him in the fight with no complaints about the scores handed down by the judges.
“That’s the game. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose,” Silva said. “I’m born for this. The judges got it right. Listen, it’s tough to come inside and fight with a young kid. I tried to do my best.
“Jake is better than me today. I don’t have nothing bad to say about my opponent. I think everybody needs to respect this kid. It was a very hard fight for me today.”
Paul, who opened as an underdog before eventually becoming a 2-to-1 favorite at sportsbooks, came through with the biggest win of his career and now he’s setting his sights on a personal grudge with another ex-UFC fighter who happened to be in attendance on Saturday.
“I want Nate Diaz,” Paul shouted. “He’s a b****. He tried to come into my locker room. He tried to cause some s***. Then he always leaves the f****** arena. Nate Diaz, stop being a b**** and fight me and you too, ‘Canelo’ [Alvarez].
“You said ‘you can’t beat a striker, you can’t be a legend like Anderson Silva.’ I just did it. So why can’t I beat Canelo. F*** ya’ll. Anyone, any time, any place.”