‘Sheer violence and sweet science’: Gamebred Boxing 4 a UFC veteran showcase with boxing legend mixed in

·4 min read

Anthony Pettis has returned to Milwaukee to fight in his home city for the first time in nearly a decade, but the circumstances are nothing like they were back then.

The last time Pettis competed in Milwaukee was in MMA for the UFC lightweight championship, which he claimed after submitting Benson Henderson in the first round at UFC 164. Ten years later, Pettis is gearing up for a boxing match this Saturday against legend Roy Jones Jr. to headline Jorge Masvidal’s Gamebred Boxing 4 event at Fiserv Forum. It streams on UFC Fight Pass pay-per-view for $49.99.

The card is chalk full of former UFC fighters as Vitor Belfort takes on Ronaldo Souza in the co-main event; Jose Aldo and Jeremy Stephens run it back from their 2018 UFC fight; and Pearl Gonzalez takes on Gina Mazany.

Not even Masvidal knows what to expect from Saturday night’s fights.

“If you’re on the fence about buying this pay-per-view, we don’t blame you,” Masvidal said in a statement. “You more than likely don’t have a clue how these fights will play out, and to tell you the truth, neither do I. …

“If there’s one thing we can promise and deliver on, it’s that we will be sheer violence and sweet science.”

Pearl Gonzalez and Gina Mazany during the Gamebred Boxing 4 news conference. (YouTube)

Pettis, 36, is making his boxing debut against former multiple-time champion Jones in an eight-round cruiserweight (200 pounds) matchup. For a period during his prime, Jones was considered boxing’s pound-for-pound No. 1, but that was many moons ago.

Jones is 54 now. There’s nothing at stake in this fight except proving something to themselves.

“It feels good to be back in Milwaukee,” Pettis said during Thursday’s news conference. “Last time I was here, I won the UFC world title 10 years ago. Coming back here to fight a legend in Roy Jones Jr., it’s a blessing.”

Said Jones: “Thank God for giving us all the opportunity to come perform. I want to say I’m delighted to be able to be here to perform, but I’m so damn old I ain’t sure if I get delighted no more. It’s kind of fun to be able to still do what you love doing at my age.”


Jose Aldo: Floyd Mayweather boxing match 'could go down in Saudi Arabia'

Full fight card announced for Jorge Masvidal's Gamebred Boxing 4, includes 9 UFC alumni

Paul Daley off Gamebred Boxing 4 due to visa issues, says Jorge Masvidal

Don't call it a comeback, but Roy Jones Jr. explains why he couldn't say no to Anthony Pettis bout at Gamebred Boxing 4

Souza, known more for his standout Brazilian jiu-jitsu, hinted at hearing from people who are against him stepping in a boxing ring for the first time at 43. “Jacare” said he took his preparation seriously.

“I did a very hard camp for this fight,” Souza said. “Everybody’s sad for me. ‘Why, Jacare, are you boxing right now?’ Because I can. … I’ll show ‘Jacare’ can box, too.”

Can he against a once-dangerous knockout artist in Belfort? The former UFC light heavyweight champion got a taste of the ring in September 2021 when he TKO’d Evander Holyfield in the first round of a Triller Fight Club headliner.

Belfort is grateful to be able to compete on his birthday for the first time.

“God is everything in my life. I’m gonna be 46 on Saturday, so first time I’m fighting on my birthday. And I’m fighting a tremendous, legendary fighter from Brazil,” Belfort said. “I have a lot of respect for ‘Jacare.’ … It’s a privilege to be an example for my kids, how to live a righteous life. Sports has helped me a lot. It’s good to give back and be able to perform at this age. I’m very privileged.”

That was the general sentiment from all eight fighters on stage: blessed, privileged to be able to fight, regardless if it’s MMA or boxing.

This just so happens to be the latter.

“The fight gods have blessed us,” Stephens said. “This is an honor to be up here with Roy Jones and Pettis and Vitor right here. I’ve been watching this guy a long time, and here I am sitting right next to him on the big stage, on the big show. It’s a tremendous opportunity. If you really, truly knew what this meant, it’s amazing. I feel like I’m in a dream right now.”

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie