The entire world is admiring Paul Felder as the American decided to accept a short-notice offer to meet Rafael dos Anjos in the main event of the UFC Fight Night 182. Though, that courageous move won’t help him too much once stepping into the octagon, because he has the former lightweight champion opposite him. Felder hasn’t fought for a long time, and many question his decision to jump in now. In contrast, others believe in him, suggesting that dos Anjos needs to change his entire game-plan, which is very hard, especially because Felder is a much different fighter than the originally planned Islam Makhachev.
Felder (+155) doesn’t have too much time to scout dos Anjos and create a plan for the upcoming fight. It is good that his physical shape is really good, as he prepared for a triathlon race, and was in good condition once Dana White and the organization called. He stated that there wouldn’t be any weight problems, even though there are a few pounds he needs to get rid of.
Knowing Felder’s mindset and dedication, he won’t have any trouble fulfilling this. The Irish Dragon is one of the fiercest guys in the organization, and all of his fights were spectacles for watching. The one against Dan Hooker (which was his most recent) was, according to many, one of the most exciting in the last few years.
Felder lost it via split decision, that being the second defeat in the previous seven bouts. That other failure was also via split decision, against Mike Perry at the UFC 226. In between, he won against James Vick and Edson Barboza, establishing himself as one of the best guys in the lightweight division.
dos Anjos (-180) was once the best in this particular category, winning that honor against Anthony Pettis and defending it against Donald Cerrone. After losing twice in a row afterward, against Eddie Alvarez and Tony Ferguson, dos Anjos decided to go up to the welterweight division.
His start was perfect with three victories in a row, but when the big boys arrived, the situation became nasty for him. He would lose to Colby Covington first, and after that against Kamaru Usman. A win against Kevin Lee was just a temporary spark before two failures in a row against Leon Edwards and Michael Chiesa.
Interestingly all these four defeats were after a decision. dos Anjos was at the same level as his rivals when it comes to technique and knowledge, but they were just bigger than him, and he couldn’t make up for that handicap.
These guys have a very aggressive and open approach in each fight as they like to attack and control the rhythm of the battle. Even though there aren’t too many matches recently in which they appeared, decided during the event itself, this one should see a TKO. Felder’s preparations were not for the UFC bout but instead for athletic competition, and he knows that as time goes by, dos Anjos’ chances of winning are getting higher and higher. So he has to take some risk and go for a win early on. We’ll see whether the American has enough firepower to overwhelm and stun the Brazilian. Yet, if he fails in this intention, dos Anjos will solve the match pretty easily once Felder empties his gas tank.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.