In a very Tyron Woodley like performance, the former UFC champion lost an eight-round boxing match to YouTuber turned professional boxer Jake Paul. Woodley had his moments, but like the end of his UFC run, which saw him go 0-4, the ex-welterweight kingpin didn’t have what he needed to get the win or go for the finish.
MMA fans might have been disappointed in Woodley’s performance, but if they watched the Showtime pay-per-view card with an open mind, there were some performances they should have appreciated namely Amanda Serrano’s win over Yamileth Mercado and Montana Love’s excellent stoppage victory over Ivan Baranchyk. There was also Daniel Dubios doing what was expected of him in a first-round victory over Joe Cusumano.
As a whole, I felt the event was worth it, mostly because it sparked an interest in some boxers that MMA fans might now have known about before tonight. If that gets those MMA fans interested in at least giving boxing more of a chance, well, that’s a good thing, and if you don’t feel that way after Love’s win, well, that’s your loss.
Read on for the winners and losers from the Jake Paul vs. Tyron Woodley fight card.
Jake Paul: I vacillated on this one. On one hand, I was not all that impressed with Jake Paul’s boxing. His footwork was lacking, he lunged with his strikes; he left his chin exposed and his cardio was suspect. But then I remembered, he hasn’t been boxing all that long. And with that, I decided the young man deserved some respect.
Yes, we can be critical of Paul as a legit boxer, but I find it difficult to look past that he pursued boxing at an age where it was an inadvisable career change and he’s actually made a go of it and got people interested. On Sunday, he beat Tyron Woodley, a former UFC champion who hurt Paul and pushed him more than anyone has in the past. Will Paul ever be a top-notch fighter? No. But I think he deserves a tip of the cap for what he’s done in a short amount of time in the boxing game.
Amanda Serrano vs. Yamileth Mercado: Amanda Serrano won her 41st bout and 27th fight in a row on Sunday with an impressive performance against Yamileth Mercado. Serrano was just too good for her opponent, but it was an entertaining scrap because even though she was overmatched, Mercado was game and did not back down over the course of the 10-round scrap.
Daniel Dubois: Judging from the odds, Daniel Dubois was supposed to get a highlight reel knockout over Joe Cusumano. Mission accomplished. Dubois, who made his American debut on Sunday, dropped Cusumano three times in the first round and earned himself an easy first-round stoppage. The fight lasted 2:10. Dubois, who turns 24 in early September, moved to 17-1 as a pro with the win. He’s gone the distance once in his career.
Montana Love and Ivan Baranchyk: I came into this event pretty blind and I wasn’t expecting the fight that I saw between Montana Love and Ivan Baranchyk. That’s on me, but from now on I will be sure to catch Love’s fights. Love’s speed and movement were too much for Baranchyk in the early going, but Baranchyk’s power kept him in the fight until the seventh round. Love was noticeably more aggressive at the start of the seventh. He opened up with movement, but he also showed a lot more power than he had in the first six stanzas. Love dropped Baranchyk in the closing seconds of the seventh and his corner waved things off before the start of the eighth. Montana Love is for real.
Fight Fans: Some folks might have purchased this event out of curiosity, but they got themselves a real fight and their money’s worth from the very entertaining bout between Montana Love and Ivan Baranchyk.
Phoenix Carnevale: Kudos to Phoenix Carnevale for not giving up her microphone when Jake Paul tried to take control of the mic. Paul should know better. If he didn’t before Sunday, he does now.
Tyron Woodley: Fight fans expecting Tyron Woodley to find whatever allowed him to starch Robbie Lawler in 2016 were disappointed to find that the same Woodley who dropped fights to Kamaru Usman, Gilbert Burns and Colby Covington was the Woodley who showed up to face Jake Paul. I don’t know if Woodley is unable or unwilling to commit to combination striking and power striking, but the inability to pull the trigger cost him another fight on Sunday night.
Anthony Taylor: I’ll give Anthony Taylor some points for stepping into the ring against the much larger Tommy Fury and even more points for going the four round distance, but outside of that, Taylor survived.
Jake Paul: Maybe I’m a cynic, but it felt to me that Jake Paul put Anthony Taylor on this card to get knocked out by Tommy Fury and set up a possible Paul vs. Fury matchup. If Taylor was in on that and got paid well for that role, that’s fine, but if he was just being set up, that doesn’t sit well.
Showtime: I would like to know why Showtime is working with Barstool Sports, an organization that Media Matters For America described as a “cesspool of misogyny and bigotry.”
Amanda Serrano: The two minute rounds in the women’s fight was a detriment to Amanda Serrano. No reason the women can’t fight three-minute rounds.
Jordan Maldonado: I don’t know what Amanda Serrano’s corner man, Jordan Maldonado, thought he was doing during the fight in taunting Serrano’s opponent, but he took a bit of the shine off of Serrano’s victory.
Tyron Woodley: In the lead up to this fight, there was a lot of talk about how this fight would affect Woodley’s combat sports legacy. I didn’t buy that before the fight because, while striking is a part of mixed martial arts, boxing is a different beast. I still felt that way after Woodley lost the fight by split decision. However, my position might have softened after Woodley seemed to agree to get an “I love Jake Paul” tattoo in the hopes of getting himself a rematch against Paul. If that’s the last memory we have of Woodley in a combat sports competition, it’s going to be a hard thing for Woodley to shoulder.
Defensive MMA Fans: Sorry, folks, but this needs to be said. After Woodley’s loss, I saw a fair share of tweets expressing similar sentiments. The words seemed to focus around embarrassment or lack thereof. Most of the messages were along the lines of “well, at least Woodley didn’t embarrass himself.” Granted, most of those messages were sent before Woodley debased himself and agreed to get an “I love Jake Paul” tattoo and totally embarrass himself. Last time I checked, that’s not the goal of a professional athlete, to not embarrass themselves. The goal is to win the competition. Woodley didn’t do that. There’s no need to justify the performance as “not embarrassing.”
Tommy Fury: Tommy Fury received a loud round of applause when he was announced inside the ring for his matchup opposite Anthony Taylor. And as Andreas Hale noted, if Jake Paul was listening, those cheers had to be music to Paul’s ears as there has been talk of a Paul vs Fury fight. However, Fury, who is still young in the game, could not land a knockout of his much smaller opponent. It was not the best showing from Fury, but his popularity and his family name could still keep him in the mix for a possible Paul fight.
Tremendous pop for Tommy Fury. Didn’t expect that. Jake Paul just heard a cash register.— Andreas Hale (@AndreasHale) August 30, 2021