Once again, Paul Felder is leaving the broadcast booth to help keep a fight alive, but this time he’s stepping into the cage himself.
With Islam Makhachev dropping out of his UFC Vegas 14 main event at the APEX Center, former lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos (29-13) was left without an opponent. Enter Paul “The Irish Dragon” Felder. Previously he had stepped out of the booth to corner a training partner who lost his coaching staff to positive COVID tests.
Felder (17-5) is ranked #7 in the lightweight division currently and is taking a big risk taking a short notice fight against a former champ who was recently fighting at welterweight. Felder took the fight on Monday and is scheduled to be in the cage Saturday night. He has not fought since a razor-close decision loss to Dan Hooker in February. With no training camp, Felder only has a few days to drop down to the 155-pound limit, likely from somewhere in the 170-pound range.
What’s even more difficult than the weight cut is that he’s jumping into the cage with a former UFC champion for 5 rounds. That is 25 minutes with a guy who once reigned over one of the promotion’s deepest divisions. This is a high risk/medium reward move. If Felder can take out Dos Anjos then he gets to boast a win over a former champ and with no champion in the division after the retirement of Khabib, puts himself in a prime position for top 5 fights and is considered a serious contender. If he loses then he saved the card but lost to a fighter who is currently unranked in the division after spending the last three years at welterweight.
Either way, we’re riding with Felder, a take all comers anytime, anywhere fighter. Plus he’s from Philadelphia. He’s our kind of guy, ready to do the work against any odds.