Vitor Belfort Beats Evander Holyfield via 1st-Round TKO in Triller Fight

Nate Loop@Nate_LoopFeatured ColumnistSeptember 12, 2021

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - SEPTEMBER 10: Evander Holyfield (L) and Vitor Belfort (R) pose during the weigh-in ahead of their fight on September 11 at The Harbor Beach Marriott on September 10, 2021 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
Eric Espada/Getty Images

Former UFC superstar Vitor Belfort made quick work of boxing legend Evander Holyfield in the main event of Triller's Fight Club Legends 2 on Saturday night. Belfort scored a knockdown in the first round and then landed a string of punches as soon as the count was over, forcing the referee to stop the fight and hand him a win in a high-profile exhibition match.

Here's a look at how the fight ended, via FITE TV:


IT IS ALL OVER! @vitorbelfort STOPS EVANDER IN THE FIRST!!! Catch the replay! #TRILLERFIGHTCLUB LIVE RIGHT NOW ON #FITE! [ #HolyfieldBelfort | https://t.co/jpCvXLI1j3 ] https://t.co/IwQgJUqQBB

Sporting News' Andreas Hale and Yahoo Sports' Kevin Iole felt that the event should not have taken place considering Holyfield is 58 years old:

Kevin Iole @KevinI

This clown from the Florida Athletic Commission who approved this “bouts” should be fired pronto

Kevin Iole @KevinI

This clown from the Florida Athletic Commission who approved this “bouts” should be fired pronto

Holyfield was a late replacement for Oscar De La Hoya, who had to pull out of the bout after he was hospitalized with COVID-19.

Holyfield's involvement led to Triller moving the fight from California to Hollywood, Florida, in the hopes of getting the main event sanctioned as a professional bout. While the Florida Athletic Commission did say it would approve the fight, boxing journalist Dan Rafael reported Friday that the fighters' contracts stated it would be an exhibition match. The bout was not listed on BoxRec as of Saturday night.

It was clear Holyfield wasn't in the right shape to take on a fighter in Belfort, who is 14 years younger. After a minute of feeling each other out and a slip near the ropes from Holyfield, Belfort rocked the former heavyweight champion with a combination and sent him tumbling to the canvas.

Holyfield bounced right up, but he didn't put up any fight. Belfort came after him with a barrage of punches and didn't see any return fire from his opponent. The referee had seen enough and waved off the fight.

According to TalkSport's Michael Benson, Holyfield felt he should have been allowed to continue:

Michael Benson @MichaelBensonn

Evander Holyfield immediately after his defeat to Vitor Belfort: “I’m not hurt. It’s kinda sad. It is what it is. I think it was a bad call, I think the referee shouldn’t have stopped the fight that quick.”

Belfort, 44, called out Jake Paul in his post-fight comments, per Hale:

Andreas Hale @AndreasHale

Vitor Belfort challenges Jake Paul to a $25 million fight where the winner takes all on Triller. The deepest sigh.

Belfort got the win, but he didn't have to do much to earn it. He will be facing an uphill battle trying to land a fight against Paul, who can be very selective with who he fights next after beating Tyron Woodley in August.

There had been chatter of an exhibition between Holyfield and Mike Tyson, who returned to the ring in an exhibition match against Roy Jones Jr. in November. But after Saturday's showing, there may no longer be an appetite for the two icons to go at it considering their age and the risks involved.