Former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir was on his feet after taking several left hands from former boxing champ Kubrat Pulaev, but he was unconscious long before referee Dan Miragliotta stepped in to prevent more punishment at the 1:59 mark of the first round.
A left hook had Mir wobbling like a Mortal Kombat character, and after another one sent him staggering to the corner of the triangular ring, it was Pulaev’s restraint that prevented another brutal shot that might have had disastrous consequences.
After a long night of MMA fighters outpointing boxers, Pulaev made an emphatic statement for his colleagues in the squared circle, battering Mir with speed and power before the concussive finish on Saturday at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.
Check out the finish.
Kubrat Pulev STOPS Frank Mir in the first round! #TriadCombat pic.twitter.com/t0BmaKYPSs— FITE (@FiteTV) November 28, 2021
Kubrat Pulev just finished Frank Mir in the first round! Mir was out on his feet! pic.twitter.com/5ed82vbkoA— Chamatkar Sandhu (@SandhuMMA) November 28, 2021
Pulaev worked a jab early and soon found himself grappling with Mir’s bulk. The former UFC champ hoped to use the clinch to neutralize his boxing counterpart, but as soon as Pulaev got space, he started to tag Mir with heavy shots.
Afterward, MMA team chief Quinton Jackson stepped in to claim Mir was injured prior to the result. That touched off more jawing with rival boxing head Shannon Briggs until Pulaev stepped in to claim boxing’s superiority.
It was hard to argue otherwise after seeing Mir decimated, but of all the MMA vs. boxing matchups on display Saturday night, Pulaev was a sure thing. Just 11 months earlier, he had fought for the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO titles then held by Anthony Joshua. A knockout loss to the British champ was just his second in 30 pro boxing matches, the other one coming via knockout at the hands of then-champ Wladimir Klitschko.
Mir, meanwhile, was outpointed earlier this year by boxing journeyman Steve Cunningham on the Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren undercard. He hadn’t competed in MMA since a 2019 decision over Roy Nelson.