Triller Fight Club's third event, topped by an exhibition boxing match between Evander Holyfield and Vitor Belfort, was the grim spectacle everybody anticipated.
We all knew what was going to happen long before the action began on Saturday night in Hollywood, Florida. We all knew 58-year-old boxing legend Evander Holyfield had no business in the ring with Vitor Belfort, a 44-year-old UFC outcast with an appetite for blood and no concept of mercy, a man who wants to fight a Paul brother for a few million dollars and is willing to slaughter a legend to make it happen.
Belfort, the former UFC light heavyweight champion, looked ready to box, which shouldn't surprise anybody, given his reputation as one of the fiercest punchers in MMA history. Holyfield, regarded as one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time, looked unprepared to blow out the 59 candles on his next birthday cake—let alone conquer a former UFC champ.
It was a fight begging for parody. A carnival screaming for a carnival barker, somebody craven enough to step up onto the soapbox and peddle tickets to an execution. Former president Donald Trump answered the call, providing color commentary as Belfort reduced Holyfield to rubble in less than two minutes.
Holyfield had not fought since 2011 when he battered the outmatched Dane Brian Neilson to a stoppage victory. That was a storybook ending for a legend—and he set it ablaze the moment he signed a contract to fight Belfort.
Belfort, meanwhile, last fought in 2018, when he was knocked out by his fellow Brazilian Lyoto Machida. His win over Holyfield helped erase that ugly memory, but it comes with an asterisk given Holyfield's age, and the fact that the heavyweight legend accepted the fight on just a few weeks' notice, stepping in after Oscar De La Hoya was sidelined with COVID-19.
Post-fight, Belfort called for a showdown with Jake Paul, the 24-year-old social media star who has quickly become one of the highest-profile opponents in pugilism.
"We got $25 million dollars winner takes all,” the former UFC champ snarled into the microphone. “Hey, Jake Paul. Stop running from me, man. 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 little bitch."
For Holyfield, the future is murky. The heavyweight legend could seek out other challenges in the ring, but after he was brutalized by Belfort, it's unlikely that any athletic commission with even a modicum of integrity will allow him to compete.
Triller Fight Club's Saturday night card was co-headlined by a 195-pound boxing exhibition between former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva and former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz. Silva, one of the greatest strikers in prizefighting history, made quick work of Ortiz, putting the wrestling specialist to sleep in just over 80 seconds. The 46-year-old legend's highlight reel KO follows a surprising upset win over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in June.
The card also featured an eight-round heavyweight clash between former two-division champion David Haye and businessman-turned-boxer Joe Fournier.
Haye, who was returning from a three-year hiatus, won the fight by unanimous decision, distancing himself from a pair of TKO losses to Tony Bellew.