Crossover combat sport contests are becoming more and more popular these days.
You had a pro boxer vs. pro wrestler match-up back in the day, i.e. Muhammad Ali vs. Antonio Inoki in Japan; a pro boxer vs. MMA fighter in a boxing match, i.e. Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor; and an MMA fighter vs. social media personality/boxer in a boxing match, i.e. Tyron Woodley vs. Jake Paul.
If it captures the interest of the viewing public, it will continue, and continue it has in a big way, leading to Saturday night in South Florida.
Boxing great Evander Holyfield against MMA great Vitor Belfort headlined Triller Fight Club Legends II at Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in South Florida near Hollywood, and it streamed on FITE TV (PPV / app).
This one was boxer vs. MMA fighter in a boxing match.
Belfort won the fight by TKO when the referee stopped it at 1:49 of the first round. Belfort landed more and dominated, knocking the former champ down, but Holyfield, who took the fight on short notice, got up and continued. The ensuing barrage of punches was too much.
Afterward, Belfort challenged Jake Paul with a $30-million winner-take-all battle on Thanksgiving Day.
For this one on Saturday in South Florida, even former U.S. President Donald Trump appeared.
Trump, who has residence in West Palm Beach, helped call the broadcast via FITE along with his son, Donald Trump Jr., UFC standout Jorge Masvidal of (South Florida) American Top Team and former WWE broadcaster Todd Grisham. Junior Dos Santos also of American Top Team joined the broadcast, too.
They were nestled above the lower level – suite type area, open air but with plenty of security – where The President did his talking. Some chants of “Trump” during the event.
President Trump spoke to the live crowd after the event from the booth, congratulating Belfort and Holyfield.
Trump, 75, is a veteran of the fight game. He hosted many boxing matches in the 1980s and 1990s at his casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey, as well as WWF (WWE) WrestleMania IV and V in 1988 and 1989, respectively.
If that was not your cup of tea, there were two other options of listening/watching in English or Spanish with Ray Flores and former boxing champion Shawn Porter on the call.
Originally scheduled as Oscar De La Hoya against Vitor Belfort, plans changed recently. De La Hoya tested positive for COVID-19, and the legend Holyfield stepped in on short notice.
Holyfield’s last fight was against Brian Nielsen on May 7, 2011. He won via TKO in the 10th round. Holyfield is 58.
Belfort’s last MMA fight was a loss to Lyoto Machida on May 12, 2018. He had one pro boxing match against Josemario Neves that he won on April 11, 2006. Belfort, who lives in (South Florida) Boca Raton, is 44.
In the co-main event, MMA legends Tito Ortiz vs. Anderson “Spider” Silva competed in a boxing match. Ortiz entered the ring to “I Am A Real American,” the theme music for pro wrestling legend Hulk Hogan.
Ortiz muscled Silva into the corner, but maybe Anderson was playing possum. He saw an opportunity and countered from the corner with a devastating right hook at 1:21 in round one for the knockout victory.
Actor Mario Lopez was one of the hosts. Rapper, television producer, actor, and businessman 50 Cent added insight.
Cuban reggaeton duo Gente de Zona (Alexander Delgado and Randy Malcom) performed to kickoff the Triller fight card. Anitta, a Brazilian singer, songwriter, actress, and dancer, also entertained.
Your ring announcers Lupe Contrera and Michael Buffer.
No upper deck seating for this one. The lower level and ringside were packed.
One protester was escorted out when she started yelling at President Trump during a 10-bell salute for those who lost their lives in 9/11.
For complete results:
Miami’s Fat Joe Verzuz Ja Rule in a music battle is set for Sept. 14 in New York City.
Check out https://trillerfightclub.com/.
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