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Jake Paul vs. Tyron Woodley: A frustrating but predictable debacle

Jake Paul vs. Tyron Woodley: A frustrating but predictable debacle

In Tyron Woodley, YouTube star Jake Paul was facing, by far, the biggest test of his young boxing career. Yes, Woodley was 39 years of age. Yes, he capped off his otherwise impressive UFC career with four consecutive losses; not winning a single round in any of them. And yes, Paul had a considerably size advantage against the former UFC welterweight champion.

But in Woodley, Paul was not only facing a real combat sports athlete, but one who - unlike Ben Askren - actually takes striking seriously, and was not coming off of hip surgery. Combat sports fans everywhere, myself included, bought into the notion that Woodley can't lose. This time, it will different. This time, Paul will finally be humbled.

Instead, we saw a performance from Woodley that was eerily similar to his last few MMA bouts. He was gun-shy; reluctant to let his hands go, even as Paul retreated for most of the fight. It was not that Paul dominated the fight; he won on the scorecards, mostly by virtue of the fact that he was the most active fighter. He threw considerably more punches than Woodley.

The best moment of the fight certainly belonged to Woodley: with a little under a minute left in the fourth round, Woodley landed a massive right hand that probably would have dropped Paul if not for him being held up by the ropes. However, what followed that exchange was the real story of the fight: in spite of Paul being hurt, and in spite of there being plenty of time on the clock, Woodley still was reluctant to let his hands go.

Indeed, what makes this performance so frustrating is that Woodley could have won this fight. But instead of fighting to win, it seemed he was more intent to avoid the embarrassment of a knockout similar to the one suffered by his close friend Askren earlier this year in April.

While MMA fans retreat into our cave to avoid the incoming horde of Jake Paul fans, the outside world will face the question: what is next for Jake Paul? Who will be his next opponent? It is a foregone conclusion that any regional level cruiserweight boxer could easily beat him, but the big payday that comes with Paul's celebrity status could be enough to entice more semi-retired MMA fighters to step into the ring.

We can only hope that they fare better than our fallen knight, Tyron Woodley.