Six days before Saturday’s UFC “Fight Night” card, something horrible happened: the show lost their main event. With the departure of Islam Makhachev from the card at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, the UFC had a vacancy in their main event against Rafael dos Anjos. The challenge presented to the UFC, the idea of finding a new main event, was a tough one. The clock was ticking for them to salvage their main event.
To the rescue came Paul Felder. With the conditioning of someone who was training for a triathlon and the motivation to compete under pancreatic cancer awareness month to represent their late father, Felder took the fight. In the process, everybody won.
A win for dos Anjos
Making the move back down to lightweight after four losses in his last five fights at welterweight, eyes were on the aging dos Anjos to show he can still put on good performances. The fight from dos Anjos was a strong one, using his takedowns to neutralize Felder throughout the fight. After 25 minutes of action, dos Anjos won a split decision (although it is worth noting the two scorecards that gave him the fight marked every single round for him).
It is hard to know how dos Anjos would do against a fighter who had a full fight camp, or even a partial fight camp, as Felder claimed he last entered an MMA gym “almost four months” ago. That will have to be found out in his next fight, but for now, dos Anjos has been given the satisfaction of a strong return to the 155-pound division.
A win for Felder
Despite the loss, Felder’s performance is undoubtedly a commendable one. Just getting to the fight night in one piece, with a weigh-in completed and a mindset ready to compete, was impressive in this position. And while he lost his fight, his moments with fast striking and ability to stay in the fight for all five rounds made it a good fight. Felder was not just showing up to show up, he came to compete, and that was clear throughout his long performance.
Amid A Rough Week, A Win For The UFC
A week before the November 14th event, there was over a dozen fights booked for the card. By Saturday, complications with many fights shaved the card down to nine fights in total. It would have only added on to the UFC’s problems in the week if they would lose a main event, putting one of their three-round fights in the headlining spot instead.
Felder’s addition to the card, and especially his willingness to take a five-round fight, was a huge save for a card which saw numerous losses throughout the week.
While there was a winner and a loser in Saturday night’s main event, the situation is one that everyone should be happy with, all things considered.