UFC legend Anderson Silva's transition to professional boxing continues to make big headlines.
Three months after the 46-year-old Silva scored an upset win over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., the Brazilian icon returned on Saturday to record a highlight-reel knockout in the first round over fellow former UFC champion Tito Ortiz.
The Triller Fight Club pay-per-view co-main event was over not long after it started inside the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel in Hollywood, Florida. After being backed up into the corner by Ortiz, who was making his pro boxing debut, Silva (3-1, 2 KOs) emerged from behind his high guard to land a single right hand which turned Ortiz's chin and dropped him to the canvas.
Silva partially landed a pair of follow-up right hands as Ortiz was going down. The native of Huntington Beach, California, appeared to be knocked out cold by the first blow and was unable to beat the 10-count before regaining consciousness.
After the victory, the former UFC middleweight champion said he wasn't surprised by the result.
"No, I'm training hard for this fight and training hard to show my respect for boxing," Silva said. "I continue to work everyday to show my respect to martial arts."
Despite finishing his UFC career with just one win in his final eight bouts, Silva still has the reflexes and hand speed to be a problem in this current era of celebrity crossover boxing which has recently been dominated – at least in the headlines – by YouTube stars and brothers, Logan and Jake Paul.
The fight against the larger Ortiz was scheduled for a contract weight of 195 pounds, although Ortiz was unable to make the weight limit after coming in at 200. But Silva had both a reach advantage coming in and an edge in experience considering he had competed in a pair of pro boxing fights in 1998 and 2005. Silva also relied much more throughout his MMA career on his hands compared to the wrestling-heavy style of Ortiz.
"The grandmaster Bruce Lee said, 'Be water,' and that's what I tried to do," Silva said. "I am going to go home and do more training."
Ortiz, 46, came out early as the aggressor but didn't appear to have much power on his shots as he squared up and pressured Silva to the ropes. Silva remained patient and appeared to willingly take shelter in the corner knowing he could set up a counter shot, which ultimately produced the knockout just 81 seconds into the fight.
The bout served as the co-main event to an eight-round heavyweight bout pairing former four-time champion Evander Holyfield against MMA legend Vitor Belfort.