The Jake Paul show returns in Arizona tonight as he faces UFC legend Anderson Silva in a high-profile boxing crossover clash. It’s been a frustrating few months for Paul, who has seen a showdown with arch-rival Tommy Fury fall through once again before his proposed fight with former sparring partner Hasim Rahman Jr was cancelled due to a weight dispute.
But finally the internet sensation returns to the ring in a bid to extend his professional record to 6-0 and continue to defy his critics, having produced a stunning knockout of Tyron Woodley in their December rematch last year. He is likely to face his toughest test to date against another MMA great in Silva, who, while almost 50 now, was one of the UFC’s finest strikers and long-reigning champions and has four professional boxing bouts to his name.
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and Tito Ortiz have both been defeated by ‘The Spider’, who will be eager to continue that winning streak and put a huge dent in Paul’s ambitions in the process.
Schedule and results
Jake Paul vs Anderson Silva
Ashton Sylve vs Braulio Rodriguez
Alexandro Santiago vs Antonio Nieves
Uriah Hall vs Le’Veon Bell
Chris Avila vs Dr Mike Varshavski
Jeremiah Milton vs Quintin Sumpter
Danny Barrios Flores vs Edgar Ortiz Jr
Adrian Rodriguez bt Dominique Griffin
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Flores vs Ortiz Jr
Into our second prelim fight of the evening now, a six-round super-bantamweight tussle involving another local favourite in Danny Barrios Flores.
It’s been a great start from the Arizona native, who went through the gears nicely in that opening round, showing great variety and punch precision.
This could be a long night for opponent Edgar Ortiz Jr, who looks comfortably second best.
Jake Paul: To be a legend, you’ve got to be a legend
Jake Paul has once again tapped into his troublesome alter-ego ‘The Problem Child’ ahead of tonight’s main event.
After plenty of respect and niceties between the two men this week, the 25-year-old exploded with a passionate rant for the cameras after yesterday’s weigh-in.
“I said it’s my generation,” he snarled. “It’s my time. To be a legend, you’ve got to beat a legend. It’s time for war. I asked him if he’s ready.
“It’s been nice, nice, nice. It’s been sweet, sweet, sweet. I respect that man. But he’s trying to take the food off my plate. He’s trying to stop my run.
“And tomorrow, guess what? I’m f***ing him up! I’m f***ing him up! I’m f***ing him up!”
Rodriguez beats Griffin on undercard
The prelim action is underway at the Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona.
Exciting Glendale-born prospect Adrian Rodriguez has just defeated Dominique Griffin via unanimous decision (40-36, 40-36, 40-36) to move to 3-0 as a professional.
Anderson Silva targets MMA farewell fight in Japan
That is not to say that Anderson Silva is done in the MMA world, however.
Speaking to MMA Junkie this week, he revealed that he wants to sign off from the cage with a retirement fight to be staged in Japan, scene of his first overseas contest against Tetsuji Kato at Shooto 2 in Tokyo in 2001.
Silva competed six times in Japan in total during his illustrious career, with the Shooto and Pride promotions.
“You know, my goal is my last fight in MMA in Japan because I started my international career in Japan and that’s why I try to do it,” he said. “That’s my plan. My last fight in MMA is in Japan.
“I don’t have (an opponent in mind) because I need to give back to Japan everything Japan gave to me. I believe my last MMA fight is go to Japan for my fans in Japan. Of course my fans in the world, but especially my fans in Japan.”
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Anderson Silva’s boxing record
Unlike Ben Askren and Tyron Woodley before him, Anderson Silva does at least have some professional boxing experience.
The Spider lost to Osmar Luiz Teixeira on his debut in his native Brazil way back in 1998, when he had already begun an MMA career.
He won his next fight against Julio Cesar De Jesus in 2005, his last boxing bout before turning back to the sport after his exit from the UFC.
Silva stunned former WBC middleweight champion Julio César Chávez Jr via split decision in a big upset in Mexico last summer and then just two months later knocked out fellow former UFC champion Tito Ortiz in the first round in Florida.
Has Paul potentially bitten off more than he can chew this time?
Jake Paul vs Anderson Silva big bet stakes
As ever with a Jake Paul fight, there was a pre-bout bet agreed to at the final press conference this week.
The stakes are thus – if Silva wins tonight, then Paul has agreed to a rematch with kickboxing rules, having initially pledged an MMA bout – only for Silva to remind him that he doesn’t compete in that world anymore.
Meanwhile, if Paul wins, Silva must join him in creating a united fighters’ association to help UFC athletes get better pay and better healthcare – with Silva himself serving as the interim president.
“The fighters need to band together and Anderson is the perfect guy,” Paul told ESPN. “He’s all of our idols, every fighters’ idol. So, he would be a very powerful figure. This type of thing just needs to happen for fighters.
“It’s not gonna be just a couple fighters who are gonna be able to pull this off. But he’s a legend, right? He’s one of the most respected ever. And that’s important. I think a lot of fighters have animosity towards me, so they might not listen to me. So, I need help in getting this done.”
Jake Paul at career-lowest weight for Anderson Silva clash
Tonight’s main event is being fought at a catchweight of 187lbs, between light-heavy and cruiserweight.
Anderson Silva tipped the scales at 186.1lbs yesterday, while Paul weighed in at a career-lowest 186.5lbs.
‘The Problem Child’ was at 191.4lbs for his rematch with former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley last December, a memorable fight that ended with a vicious sixth-round knockout.
Paul has no doubt deliberately come in lighter in an attempt to neutralise the strengths of Silva, who, even at almost 50, will be no slouch in terms of his movement and footwork.
Anderson Silva wasn’t the only UFC icon in attendance as the two fighters weighed in and stared each other down for the final time pre-bout on Friday afternoon.
A certain Georges St-Pierre was also front and centre….
The doctor will see you now…
The other fighter flying the flag for MMA tonight is Chris Avila, the former UFC and Bellator veteran and friend of Nate Diaz who defeated former rival Anthony Taylor on the Paul-Woodley 2 undercard in Tampa last December.
The Stockton native battles Mikhail Varshavski, the YouTube favourite more commonly known as Doctor Mike.
Varshavski’s previous experience came in a white-collar cruiserweight bout against fellow internet celebrity Ian Carter – AKA IDubbbz – back in May.
A lot riding on the reputation of the MMA community tonight, although it’s worth pointing out that Anderson Silva has not fought in the UFC since October 2020.
In another of the high-profile contests in Glendale tonight, former NFL star Le’Veon Bell takes on ex-UFC middleweight Uriah Hall.
Bell made his boxing debut by knocking out fellow former running back Adrian Peterson in an exhibition in Los Angeles last month.
This evening is his pro bow, against a man whose last MMA contest was a defeat by André Muniz at UFC 276 in July.
Hall abruptly retired from the UFC over the summer.