Four months after his unceremonious exit from the world’s largest fight promotion, former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight roost ruler, Tyron Woodley, tries his hand at the sweet science TONIGHT (Sun., Aug. 29, 2021) in a FITE/Showtime pay-per-view (PPV) main event against aspiring pugilist, Jake Paul.
In the co-feature, seven-division champion Amanda Serrano defends her Featherweight belts against Mexican young gun Yamileth Mercado, who’s twice defended the WBC Super Bantamweight title. Earlier, British destroyer Daniel Dubois meets Joe Cusumano, prospect Montana Love steps up in class against former champion Ivan Baranchyk, Paul rival Tommy Fury meets “The Problem Child’s” sparring partner in Anthony Taylor, and 2016 Olympian Charles Conwell takes on late replacement Juan Carlos Rubio.
We all know what you’re here for, though, so let’s not waste time. I usually include little blurbs about each fighter’s past performances in the ring, but seeing as Woodley’s making his boxing debut and Paul’s career has been a three-fight sideshow thus far, I figured we’d skip that this time around.
No matter what sort of revisionist history his recent free fall may have inspired, it’s indisputable that Woodley can f—-ing punch. In his heyday, that overhand right was a proud member of the “Good Lord I Do Not Wanna Get Hit By That” pantheon alongside Edson Barboza’s switch kick, Cro Cop’s head kick, the H-Bomb and Raymond Daniels’ spinning back kick to the nuts. To re-use a metaphor from my short preview for Bad Left Hook, it had the same sort of chilling effect that made opposing pitchers walk Barry Bonds with the bases loaded.
That punch alone makes this a more compelling challenge than any Paul has faced before. AnEnsonGib, Nate Robinson, Ben Askren ... none of them were even remotely capable of shutting a man’s lights off with a single blow.
Unfortunately, it’s not that much. Even if he wasn’t 39 years old and moving up 20 pounds for his first fight in a new sport, Woodley is a solved game at this point: if you move forward, he’ll back himself to the fence/ropes and let you pick away while throwing one right hand every two minutes or so. Even Jake Shields managed to beat him on the feet with this strategy way back in 2013 and he can’t box his way out of a paper bag, so there isn’t much stopping Paul from doing the same.
That said, Woodley did go balls-to-the-wall against Vicente Luque and managed to hurt the iron-tough Brazilian before everything went pear-shaped, so there’s a chance he comes out guns-blazing here. That said, it’s unclear whether he’s still got the pop to starch someone this much bigger, especially since Paul has the benefit of the clinch to slow things down if it gets hairy. Even if Woodley does decide to swang ‘n bang, Paul has the tools to defuse it and get back to chipping away at a distance.
Honestly, I see this being Paul’s most conservative and boring effort to date. He’ll use his height and length to keep Woodley at arm’s distance, then smother him if he tries to burst in. So long as he’s got any sort of gas tank, Paul leans on punch-and-clutch for a wide win.
Prediction: Paul via unanimous decision
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE coverage of tonight’s main card right here. The $59.99 Showtime/FITE PPV kicks off at 8 p.m. ET, with Paul and Woodley likely to make the walk closer to 11:30 p.m. ET. For the complete Jake Paul vs. Tyron Woodley fight card click here. For more news and notes on their upcoming grudge match click here.