MMA legend Vitor Belfort knocked out 58-year-old former heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield in the main event.
MMA legend Vitor Belfort knocked out 58-year-old former heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield in the main event, as Anderson Silva continued to raise his stock on the boxing side of his post-UFC combat career in one of the most bizarre fight cards in recent memory.
Vitor Belfort’s pressure proved to be too much for Evander Holyfield.
— ESPN Ringside (@ESPNRingside) September 12, 2021
Forget for a moment how fit he looked standing inside the ring, any state commission would’ve allowed Holyfield, who was one week shy of turning 59, to box a capable slugger with such a decorated history in performance-enhancing drug issues like Belfort. For everyone involved, let alone Holyfield, himself, let’s just be thankful his first-round TKO loss was quick and largely painless.
Holyfield argued about the fact that the knockdown he suffered before he was stopped on his feet was more the effect of a push than a clean punch landing. He also said multiple times that he wasn’t hurt. Yet it was obvious right off the bat that this wasn’t a competitive matchup. Belfort had fought at the elite levels of MMA as recently as three years ago. Holyfield, meanwhile, had been retired for a decade following a 27-year pro career which featured 57 fights and countless damage accrued for one of boxing’s toughest warriors.
In this fight, there was simply nothing to gain. Any level of debate regarding whether referee Sam Burgos made the right call in stopping the bout as Belfort was flurrying on Holyfield as he took shelter behind his gloves needs to be put on hold. Old guy fights always seem fun in theory but inevitably will get sad and dangerous should promoters continue to try and profit from them. The best thing that happened on this night was that Holyfield walked off on his own power.
It might be fair to say that the current trend of circus fights and celebrity crossovers began when the YouTube stars and social media influencing brothers, Logan and Jake Paul, decided to throw their hat into the ring just a few years back. Both have taken the sport seriously enough of late that each have headlined a Showtime pay-per-view bout and become legitimate boxing draws. But neither appear to be as dangerous at the moment within this bubble than Silva, the 46-year-old UFC legend. Three months after his upset of disgraced former boxing middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Silva set the internet on fire by knocking fellow former UFC champion Tito Ortiz out cold on Saturday with a counter right hand just 81 seconds into the opening round.
Silva (3-1, 2 KOs) has made the transition between combat sports with seeming ease and has retained a good amount of speed and reflexes to go with his boxing-ready footwork. Silva has looked so good, in fact, through two fights this calendar year that one has to wonder given his size and speed whether he’s too dangerous for either of the Paul brothers to seek a fight against him. Either way, the event would likely be a blockbuster. Among all the entertainers, MMA fighters and ex-boxers who have made their way to the ring during this bubble, Silva looks the most equipped to keep doing damage should he decide to fight on.