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© Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports
© Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports
Odds and Ends

Combat Sports Legends Square Off!

by Ike Feldman
Updated On: September 10, 2021, 11:19 pm ET

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The boxing world gets another spectacle event as legend of the sweet science, Evander Holyfield, steps in on short notice to face former UFC champion Vitor Belfort after another boxing legend, Oscar de la Hoya, tested positive for COVID-19. Also on the card, MMA legends Anderson Silva and Tito Ortiz throw down in what should be an epic display of striking master (Not from Tito, of course). Lingering in the background for all four fighters is a potential massive payday against one of the Paul brothers, who also fight under the Triller Fight Club promotion.

+170 | Evander Holyfield, 58, has not stepped into the square circle since 2011, but the boxing great is relentless when it comes to his health and fitness regimen. Though being in “fight shape” is much different than just living a healthy and fit lifestyle, Holyfield should be able to go the full fight (8 rounds x 3 minutes) simply because of his boxing IQ and muscle memory. Sadly, the Alabama native was scheduled to fight about three months ago until another headliner, Teofimo Lopez, tested positive for COVID-19 and the event was canceled. With the thirst for competition being on “The Real Deal’s” mind for some time now, it will be quite interesting to see if the old lion has anything left to show. It’s hard to picture Holyfield getting off anything significant against Belfort. On a good note, though, he can itch that competitive bug at least one more time and a rematch against Mike Tyson, who fought earlier this year, as a very real possibility.

VS.

-210 | Vitor Belfort, 44, is one of the most genetically gifted - sometimes with the aid of banned supplements - fighter we’ve ever seen compete in combat sports. Becoming a UFC champion over 24 years ago, Belfort was given the nickname “The Phenom." The Brazilian native has competed with some of the most respected warriors in MMA history and a fight against Holyfield this Saturday will add another plaque to his storied career. It goes without saying that the one black eye on Belfort’s career is his change in physique throughout the years. The knockout artist found a loophole in the UFC’s drug testing policy and was allowed to be on TRT (testosterone replacement therapy). Belfort was able to extend his violence inside the octagon. A few knockouts later and the UFC ironed out that wrinkle and as you could guess, Belfort started losing – badly. Now clear for the UFC’s testing pool, Mr. Belfort is looking good. I think it’s money in the bag for Belfort to win the fight. Does he get a knockout with the bigger gloves against a savvy old lion? That’s something I’d lean towards no.

+115 | Does the fight go the distance? Yes. Holyfield will survive Belfort’s flurries and see the bell.

-210 | Who wins? Belfort is new to boxing, but he should have enough juice (haha) to get the W.

+350 | How do they win? Belfort should get the victory pretty decisively because of pure ferocity and pressure.

The second half of this Saturday night’s Triller fights features two Mixed Martial Arts legends swapping out their 4oz gloves for 10oz gloves and boxing shoes when they square off in the co-main event.

-800 | Anderson Silva, 46, is one of the all-time legends in Mixed Martial Arts. At one point Silva rattled off a remarkable 17 wins in a row. One of those knockout victories came against the headlining Vitor Belfort. To some, Silva is considered the greatest to step inside a cage. To others, similarly to Belfort, lingering PED issues have held Silva back from being considered the universal G.O.A.T. of MMA. But, all that history aside, Silva is looking to make it two consecutive victories inside the ring. We last saw “The Spider” live a career-long dream of finally facing a top-level boxer when he took on former champion Cesar Chavez Jr. back in June. Silva shocked many with his boxing IQ and skillset, seemingly turning back the clock looking like his old self. It was a really scintillating scene for combat sports fans for many reasons. Now, Silva is chasing that Jake or Logan Paul fight if he puts on a clinic against Tito Ortiz this Saturday – which he should! Silva - before lacing up the 10oz gloves in June - does possess boxing experience and is extremely fond of the art of two hands. In his prime, he was known for his slick head movement, counter punching and beautifully timed precision punches. It should be another fun night at the office for the former UFC king.

VS.

+550 | Tito Ortiz, 46, who is one of the MMA pioneers for not only being a champion, but because he has an amazing capability of bringing eyeballs to screens. Whether it was a raging rivalry with fellow fighters, UFC brass or in office (yes, in office, Mr. Ortiz is a politician … long story) the “Huntington Beach Bad Boy” is always holding the center pole for the circus tent. If you can forget about his trash talk for a second, Ortiz is still one of the hardest workers to ever compete in combat sports. Dealing with many forms of adversity, Ortiz seems to always find a way upwards and onwards to bigger and better milestones. Typically, when fighters hang up their UFC gloves, they tend to sputter out. Ortiz, however, has managed to not only stay relevant, but increase his popularity to new audiences each and every year. Ortiz is in his element when he’s promoting a big fight against big named opponents, but he will quickly realize on Saturday night that this is very different from past competitions, making his professional boxing debut. Looking at the odds will give you a pretty good idea how this will end for Ortiz. I respect Ortiz for stepping in the ring against a truly dangerous opponent, but there are levels to this and Silva is many levels ahead of Tito in the striking department. The good news for Ortiz is win, lose or draw he will always find another way back into our minds.

-170 | Does the fight go the distance? No. Silva is a master of methodically breaking down his opponents. The tree will fall inside of 8 rounds.

-800 | Who wins? Silva is in a new chapter of his life. He is motivated, he can almost taste the Paul bros fight. Silva will take this seriously and put on a show. Ortiz on the other hand, has been known to fold with a few good shots to the face and in boxing there’s no grappling as an escape route.

-150 | How do they win? Silva will implement all the classic moves we’re used to; hanging his hands, counter striking and then swarming his wounded prey. Fight will be stopped around the 4th or 5th round.

If you can see this event for what it is, then it’s a grand old time (literally), no doubt about it, but if you’re expecting super high-level boxing don’t hold your breath and PLEASE go check out my Fall blockbuster fights you don’t want to miss!

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Ike Feldman

Ike Feldman is not only a longtime combat sports practitioner, but he is also an Edgy broadcaster that has been covering and handicapping combat sports on a high level since 2016. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @IkeFeldman to get unrivaled MMA and Boxing content, insight and entertainment.