Jake Paul got back in the win column with a unanimous decision victory over Nate Diaz on Saturday night.
‘The Problem Child’ dropped Diaz in round five and survived a late flurry from the UFC legend to earn 97-92, 98-91, and 98-91 scorecards from the ringside judges in Dallas.
In the very first round, the fight appeared it could be over before it even got started.
Paul wobbled Diaz early and proceeded to unleash a flurry of shots that had the combat sports icon on the ropes as he desperately tried to stay in his boxing debut.
The MMA star managed to keep his balance but never landed anything of consequence during a very tough first three minutes inside the squared circle.
It was a much better round for Diaz in the second, Paul still had the more eye-catching shots, but he looked a lot less comfortable as his 38-year-old opponent closed the distance and scored with punches.
The YouTuber-turned-boxer continued to impress with his crisp strikes and clearly looked like the superior technician in round three.
Despite his amateurish style, Diaz did have occasional success with his returns but they didn’t have the same snap to them, and his opponent looked unbothered.
Conor McGregor’s rival really started to come into his own in round four.
Diaz was unrelenting with his attacks and Paul started to look a bit tired for the first time in the fight and he was even forced to hold on at one point.
Paul responded to the adversity in round five, when he caught Diaz with a clean left hook to score a knockdown and almost send his opponent flying out of the ring.
The 26-year-old rushed in for the finish but was unable to find it and Diaz actually ended up landing some scoring blows just before the bell sounded.
Paul showed his growing maturity as a boxer in the sixth stanza as he landed clean shots and refused to rush in for the stoppage against a fighter renowned for his elite-level cardio.
A scrappy few minutes followed as Diaz enjoyed a successful round seven by throwing lots of strikes to make Paul cover up even though the power wasn’t troubling him.
The UFC legend appeared to win back-to-back rounds for the first time as he pushed the pace in the eighth and seemed to have a tiring Paul in trouble.
Entering a ninth round for the first time in his career, Paul answered any questions about his gas tank by landing eye-catching shots.
It wasn’t long before Diaz began to push him back as the fight reverted to what it had been for the previous six minutes.
Paul survived Diaz’s final flurry and looked good doing so for most of the tenth round which ended with the UFC fan favourite pretending to lock up a guillotine choke.
During his post-fight interview, Paul offered his rival a rematch in MMA and Diaz appeared open to the idea after previously scoffing at a $10million offer.
“I’ll fight anybody. I don’t give a f***,” he said.
Asked later on whether he would face Paul in the cage, Diaz added: “Yeah, I think I would fight him.
“It’s easy to take him down. Two, three, four months [from now], I’m ready to rock. We’re going to talk.”
Both men have beef to settle, with Tommy Fury and Conor McGregor waiting in the wings, and it remains to be seen if they will face each other next or revisit their rivalry down the line.