Belfort spoils Holyfield's return to boxing with early finish
Warning: Story contains coarse language
Former UFC champion Vitor Belfort defeated boxing legend Evander Holyfield via TKO at the 1:49 mark of the first round in the Triller Fight Club main event Saturday night.
Belfort tagged Holyfield with a left hand and began teeing off on him. Moments later, he dropped the 58-year-old with an uppercut, but the legend returned to his feet. Belfort, sensing a stoppage, immediately punished Holyfield some more, and the referee waved off the contest.
Afterward, Holyfield said he wasn't hurt and could have continued.
Meanwhile, Belfort called out Jake Paul and referred to him as "the Disney World kid."
"Hey Jake Paul, stop running from me, man," Belfort said. "I'm going to teach you a lesson. You can be my kid. You're going to meet daddy over here at Triller. Stop running. You're a little b----."
Triller officials appeared on the broadcast and proposed a winner-takes-all bout between Belfort and Paul on Thanksgiving weekend, with the victor receiving $30 million.
Paul, a YouTuber-turned-boxer who most recently defeated former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley in August, competed in two fights with Triller in 2020 and earlier in 2021. However, the 24-year-old is currently under contract with Showtime, and it's unlikely he'd be allowed to accept a fight outside that promotion.
Belfort made his first professional boxing appearance since 2006 against Holyfield and improved his record to 2-0. "The Phenom" hadn't competed in combat sports since 2018, with his most recent MMA bout being a knockout loss to Lyoto Machida.
"I came to knock people out. ... Get ready, boxers, you have to come to my world," Belfort added, signaling that his newfound boxing career has just begun.
Holyfield, one of the greatest-ever heavyweight boxers, returned to the ring for the first time since 2011. He stepped up on short notice to fight Belfort after Oscar De La Hoya withdrew from the original bout following a positive COVID-19 test.
The Triller event was scheduled for Los Angeles, but it was moved to Hollywood, Florida, at the last minute because the California State Athletic Commission wouldn't sanction the Holyfield-Belfort matchup.