Jake Paul drops Anderson Silva in win then calls out Nate Diaz

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Jake Paul’s inexplicable boxing resume now includes a victory over one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time.

Paul, the YouTube star turned boxer, beat the longtime former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva via unanimous decision (77-74, 78-73, 78-73) Saturday night at Desert Diamond Arena. The fight was very competitive, but Paul pulled out late and sealed the victory by dropping Silva in the eighth round with a right hand.

Paul described beating Silva, someone he was a huge fan of as a child, as “surreal”.

“He was my idol growing up,” Paul said. “He inspired me to be awesome.”

It was the toughest match yet for Paul, the 25-year-old social media maven. Silva is 47, but he’s had some strong boxing performances, including a win over former world champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., after leaving the UFC in 2020.

Paul (6-0) now has wins over three UFC fighters: Silva, former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley (two wins including a knockout) and Ben Askren.

Afterward, Paul called out another UFC luminary: Nate Diazwho was present to support his teammate Chris Avila, who competed on the undercard. Diaz and his team and members of Paul’s team had a backstage altercation with drinks flying back and forth earlier in the evening. Diaz became a free agent after his fight last month at UFC 279.

“Nate Diaz, stop being a b—- and fight me,” Paul said.

Silva started off strong with some vintage “Spider” moments, including dropping his hands and cheering Paul on in the second round. Silva threw a lot of good combinations, but Paul took a lot on his gloves.

The intermediate rounds were very tight with Silva getting a brief second wind. Paul landed some hard punches in the final laps as Silva was clearly tired. And in the eighth, Paul clipped Silva with a right, dropping him, at the end of a combination.

“Jake was better than me today,” said Silva, who is now 3-2 as a professional boxer. “I have nothing bad to say about my opponent.”

Silva actually outshot Paul 66-51 in power punches, but Paul threw 215 punches, 140 more than Silva. Paul landed 32 of those jabs and edged Silva 83-79 in total punches.

Judges Dennis O’Connell and Chris Wilson both scored the fight 78-73 for Paul, and judge Paul Calderon scored it 77-74 for Paul.

“I’m a superhero, but sometimes my demi-human fails,” Silva said.

Paul and Silva agreed a bet during Thursday’s press conference. If Silva won, Paul would do a rematch with him in kickboxing. If Paul won, which he did, Silva would help Paul start an association for MMA fighters to help them get paid more and get better health care. Silva, proposed Paul, would be the acting president of this association.

“Now we will come together and create a united fighters association to help UFC fighters, all MMA fighters and boxers get more pay and long-term health care,” Paul said. “It’s a big business that I’ve wanted to do since the beginning of my career.”

Paul’s move into boxing doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. And now the polarizing pugilist has a victory over a combat sports icon on his belt, albeit well past his prime.

“If I walked on water, people would say I can’t swim,” Paul said. “So there will always be enemies, there will always be critics.”

The end goal, Paul said, is to one day become a world boxing champion. He also called Canelo Alvarez immediately after beating Silva.

“It definitely pushes me in that direction,” Paul said. “[Silva] is incredibly hard. Incredibly tough. It’s just been a great experience for me. And like I said, it’s only been 2 and a half years. Who knows what I can accomplish? I know, but I’ll let you find out.”

In an undercard fight, the former UFC fighter Urie Room beat the former NFL star Le’Veon Bell by unanimous decision (40-36, 40-36, 40-36) in a four-round bout. Both men were making their professional boxing debuts, although Hall has been a professional MMA fighter for 17 years.

“It’s the toughest sport in the world, and I give you so many props,” Hall said of Bell in his post-fight interview. “I’m proud of you, man. … He definitely surprised me. He’s pretty good.”

Bell, 30, knocked out his former NFL running back Adrian Peterson in an exhibition fight last month. Bell, and a native of Ohio, is a former All-Pro and Pro Bowl running back for the Pittsburgh Steelersamong other teams.

Hall, a 38-year-old Jamaican fighter who lives and trains in Dallas, is tied for the most knockouts in UFC middleweight history with eight. He retired from the UFC in August.

After his fight, Hall called Paul up for a fight.

“I’m the guy who’s gonna come in here and expose it,” Hall said. “If Anderson doesn’t do it, I’m going to fuck you up.”

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