Jake Paul hit Nate Diaz with everything he had but ultimately had to settle for a convincing points win in a cruiserweight fight in Dallas on Saturday night.
Paul, the 26-year-old YouTube personality turned prizefighter, clearly held the advantage for much of the 10-round bout. Diaz, a mixed-martial arts fighter who left the UFC in 2022, appeared on the verge of being knocked out at various points.
Paul (7-1) showed he was better conditioned throughout the fight as he bounced back from his first career loss – a split-decision against Tommy Fury in Saudi Arabia in February. The three judges scored this fight 97-92, 98-91, and 98-91 in Paul's favour.
“He’s tough, that’s what he’s known for,” Paul said of Diaz. “Of course [I expected to win]. I knocked him down.”
The 38-year-old Diaz, making his pro boxing debut, struck several blows near the end of the third round, briefly leaving Paul wobbly before the bell. Diaz continued his offensive in the fourth round, landing several jabs to the roars of the decidedly pro-Diaz crowd.
In the fifth round, however, Diaz appeared fatigued and Paul jumped on the opportunity. He sent Diaz to the floor with a clean left hook before landing successive blows to the head later in the round.
Neither fighter scored big in the sixth round, though Diaz was battling swelling around both eyes. Diaz scored with a combination of punches in the seventh, and both fighters exchanged blows during a particularly eventful eighth round.
But it was Paul who closed the show, with Diaz at times looking as if he wouldn't hear the final bell.
The win was Paul's third win against a former UFC champion. He beat Tyron Woodley with a one-punch knockout in December 2021 and Anderson Silva in a unanimous decision last September.
After the decision was announced, Diaz shook Paul’s hand and admitted he was second best.
“He’s tough and he’s big,” Diaz said. “I wish I could have done better. He won this one, it’s good.”
When it comes to what’s next, Paul said he wants a rematch with Diaz under MMA rules. However, he also talked up a rematch with Fury, although he’ll have to wait until after October when the British reality star and brother of WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury takes on KSI.
“I want to run it back in MMA,” Paul said. “Let’s run it back in MMA. There’s a lot of names in boxing. Tommy Fury rematch, he won by a split decision. I’m going to try to get that back. I’m just happy with this win. I never expected to be here.”