Anthony Taylor – C
Of all the fighters on Saturday’s card, Anthony Taylor likely had the least to lose. A fledgling MMA fighter, Taylor was inserted into a bout with Fury as a means of raising the profile of the Englishman in front of an American audience.
However, Taylor was adamant during the press events in the lead up to his fight with Fury that he would make the most of his opportunity, and become the first man to defeat the Brit as a professional.
Having competed as low as bantamweight in his MMA career, Taylor was dwarfed by the likely 200+lbs Fury when the two met in the ring.
Despite being outmatched in both size and experience, to his credit Taylor fought valiantly, and while he could have no complaints about the judges ultimately ruling in favor of his opponent Taylor did himself proud by keeping the fight even remotely competitive.
Tommy Fury – D
From a promoter’s perspective, Tommy Fury’s clash with Anthony Taylor was supposed to be a perfect way to build towards a clash with the Brit and Jake Paul.
Unfortunately, what should have been little more than a lay-up for Fury proved to be a significantly difficult challenge for the Brit, who couldn’t seem to parlay his considerable size advantage into any truly damaging strikes.
Fury’s performance was not a total disaster. After all, he walked away with his hand raised and undefeated record intact. However, he will need to continue to develop if he has any aspirations of competing with elite fighters at 200lbs.
Still, a nearly $1 million guaranteed payday to face an 0-1 boxer several weight classes below yourself is pretty good business, and if anything, Fury’s vulnerabilities demonstrated throughout the fight may have made him a more attractive future opponent in the eyes of Paul’s team.
Joe Cusumano – D
Holder of the lightly-regarded World Boxing Council United States (USNBC) Heavy Title, Joe Cusumano was always going to be an underdog against a fighter like Dubois.
Given the opportunity to enjoy his Buster Douglas moment in front of a packed live crowd, Cusumano failed to keep up with the power of his opponent and it quickly became apparent that the knockout was a matter of when, and not if for Dubois.
To his credit, Cusumano rose from the first knockout, but after being returned to the canvas just minutes later, the referee had seen enough and stopped the action.
Daniel Dubois – B
Unlike his countryman Fury, Daniel Dubois seemingly had no difficulty in understanding what his assignment was on Saturday night: Run through an overmatched opponent and cap it off with a knockout finish.
Just two fights removed from losing his undefeated record at the hands of fellow British prospect Joe Joyce, on Saturday night Dubois looked to have regained his confidence in the ring, immediately hurting Cusumano with a right hand at the start of the first round.
After scoring two knockdowns in the first round, Dubois’ inaugural stateside performance was over, having likely earned a legion of new fans and with another win on his record.
Yamileth Mercado – C
Despite losing a lopsided decision on Saturday night, Yamileth Mercado deserves a lot of credit for moving up a weight class in order to take on Amanda Serrano.
Unlike another fighter on the card that I’m sure we’ll get to soon, throughout the ten-round fight Mercado showed no apprehension in stepping into the pocket in an attempt to land strikes on her larger opponent.
Though she began to fatigue the longer the fight continued, Mercado gave a great account of herself against one of the premier talents in women’s boxing in Serrano.
Amanda Serrano – A
One of the pay-per-view’s true winners in every sense of the word, Amanda Serrano cemented her status as one of the greatest fighters on the planet with a solid victory against a tough opponent on Saturday.
Demonstrating all the ring-craft and savvy that you might expect from a veteran of 43 professional fights, Serrano masterfully worked her opponent’s body to prevent Mercado from building on an impressive start.
After retaining her unified featherweight titles, Serrano has set her sights on a showdown with Irish undisputed lightweight champion Katie Taylor in the near future.
Tyron Woodley – D
Anyone who had seen Tyron Woodley’s post-title-run career in the UFC (save for an outlier of performance against Vicente Luque) was primarily defined by his seeming inability to utilize the attributes that had once made him so successful in the Octagon.
Those who had hoped that Woodley’s lack of aggression was only due to the quality of his opponents would be sorely disappointed on Saturday night, when the former UFC Welterweight Champion once again settled into his plodding pace against Paul, never threatening to really start putting his punches together in combination.
Woodley did prove, albeit briefly, that he did still carry significant power in the fourth round but if anything that only made it all the more disappointing when he failed to follow up on his successes and found himself on the wrong side of a split decision.
With a reported career-high payday, It’s not surprising that Woodley is chasing a rematch but with his performance on Saturday, it seems that the MMA world will need to find another great hope to defeat Jake Paul.
Jake Paul – B
Jake Paul can box.
Can the YouTuber go on to contend for World Championships in the sport? Of course not, but in facing adversity for the first time in his burgeoning career in the ring Paul has proven that he has the resilience of a real fighter.
Paul’s vaunted power seen in his earlier bouts appeared to be almost completely absent against Woodley, he was close to being finished in round 4, and his technique suffered at the hands of fatigue as the contest wore on.
However, with all that being said, by ultimately getting his hand raised despite everything, Paul’s workman-like performance is the most impressive of his career thus far. A rematch with a clearly gunshy Woodley would only further favor the clearly ever-improving Paul.
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