Anderson Silva beats Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. by split decision in impressive return to the ring

The 46-year-old UFC legend shined in the ring on Saturday night in Guadalajara. (Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images)

Anderson Silva knows how to fight, there’s no doubt about that.

The UFC legend, however, hasn’t boxed in more than 15 years.

That, though, didn’t seem to matter one bit on Saturday night.

Silva beat Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. at Estadio Jalisco in Guadalajara, Mexico, via split decision in an eight-round fight. The bout was part of the Tribute to the Kings event, which was capped by Julio Cesar Chavez Sr.’s fight with Hector Camacho Jr.

“I feel so happy,” Silva said after the win in the ring. “I’m very, wow … I need to say thank you because my coaches work a lot and when I started this camp training, I talked to my coach and I said I need to do this because I love fighting and boxing is my dream for many, many years.”

Flashes of the UFC came out in the early rounds on Saturday night, as Silva was warned about using his forearm more while he settled into the different sport. He didn’t hesitate to showboat early, either.

By the fourth round, though, he seemed to have found his rhythm. Silva landed multiple solid shots and had Chavez Jr. backed into the ropes for most of the round while taking control of the bout.

Silva had him back pinned on the ropes again just two rounds later, too, while Chavez looked gassed. Chavez’s eye started bleeding significantly by the end of the seventh round, too, as Silva just cruised through the eighth round with ease.

While the fight came back as a split decision — 77-75, 77-75, 75-77 — Silva still got the win he clearly deserved

Chavez Jr. entered Saturday’s fight with a 52-5-1 record, but has lost three of his last five fights. He last stepped into the ring in November, when he beat Jeyson Minda with a fourth-round TKO. The former WBC middleweight champion missed weight by two pounds on Friday and was fined $100,000 — marking at least the third time in his career that he’s missed weight.

Silva entered Saturday’s bout with a 1-1 record in professional boxing, but hadn’t stepped into the ring since 2005. The 46-year-old was granted his release from the UFC last year, and left as one of the best fighters in the sport’s history. He holds an incredible 34-11 record and has the longest winning streak in the UFC at 16.

While it's unclear what his fighting future holds, Silva clearly isn't ready to completely step away from the sport just yet — and is still capable of holding his own, too.

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