Despite having a card with the return of Khabib Nurmagomedov on it, one of the biggest takeaways from UFC 242 was Paul Felder’s performance against Edson Barboza.
Looking to avenge his first ever professional defeat, ‘The Irish Dragon‘ brought everything he had to the table in his rematch with Edson ‘Junior‘ Barboza. The first round saw success for Barboza, who landed the more affective strikes. Felder tended to throw elbows from the incorrect range, often missing them and leaving himself open to the brutal kicks of Barboza.
Also during the first round, Felder asked for the bout to be briefly stopped. Per Felder, during a clinch, there were two accidental headbutts that had caused cuts.
Round 2 saw Barboza, who is known for his striking, take his opponent down. From his back, Felder proceeded to land vicious elbows, splitting Barboza open. After several minutes, Felder attempted an armbar from full guard. However, he released the hold, as Barboza lifted him into the air, with the intentions of slamming him.
With both men having strong moments in the round, it was tough to score. Most gave the second round to Felder, due to being more active and landing the cleaner strikes.
Three rounds into a tough fight with Philly’s Felder, it appeared that Barboza was exhausted. The final round saw little action from the Brazilian. The same cannot be said for Felder. ‘The Irish Dragon‘ pressed forward the entire time, not giving Barboza any room to throw his patented kicks.
When the fight scores were read, fans were confused. The first judge had scored the bout 30-27 (3 rounds to 0) in favour of Barboza. The second had scored it 29-28 (2 rounds to 1) in favour of Felder. The deciding judge scored the fight 30-27 (3 rounds to 0) to Felder, giving him the split decision nod. The inconsistent scores sparked questions about the judging system and those particular judges.
Following the fight, Felder said that he would be interested in taking a fight with names such as Justin Gaethje, Tony Ferguson and Conor McGregor. He also said that if he didn’t win that fight, retirement would’ve been an option. Felder is also a commentator and analyst for ESPN.
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