The co-main event at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi sees Edson ‘Junior’ Barboza take on Paul ‘The Irish Dragon’ Felder on Yas Island this weekend.
UFC president Dana White was purring after the first bout between Edson Barboza and Paul Felder, with the two men awarded the Fight of the Night bonus and White stating Felder had reached another level despite his unanimous decision defeat back in July 2015. The Irish Dragon was called up for that fight as a replacement, and is looking to avenge what was his first MMA loss at the time and show what he can do against Junior with a full training camp behind him.
Fight to go the distance again
Felder has since gone on to taste defeat on three more occasions, although two of those were via split decision, and the other came through a doctor’s stoppage. The Philadelphia native has won four of his last five fights though, with his unanimous decision victory over James Vick in February coming on the back of a KO and two TKO wins. A stand-up fighter who likes to walk down his opponent, Felder is known for his toughness and being able to absorb solid strikes. He’ll certainly have to do that this weekend.
Paul Felder to win via KO, TKO or submission
Barboza boasts one of the most vicious leg kicks in UFC history, and has seven stoppages either by KO or TKO through the use of kicks and knees. One of the keys to this fight will be how Felder combats that, whether he can take evasive action or throw his own low kicks to try and slow Barboza’s movement down, and maybe even make him think twice before using his kicks. Justin Gaethje managed to do this brilliantly in Barboza’s last fight, applying forward pressure against the Brazilian’s leg kicks, closing the distance before landing a clean knockout punch.
Edson Barboza to win via KO or TKO
Junior will start with excellent speed and movement though, and his explosive style makes him very dangerous from the first bell. The Brazilian doesn’t have an especially strong ground game though, so we can expect to see this fight mainly play out on the feet, making Felder’s ability to combat those leg kicks even more crucial. If he can do that, then his status as underdog with all of the top betting sites could make him very attractive. Felder has the momentum heading into this fight and we could be on for a trilogy if the Irish Dragon’s hand is raised this weekend.
Paul Felder to win on points
Paul Felder to win the fight
Edson Barboza starts as the odds-on favourite this weekend, but we could be on for an upset in this bout. Paul Felder comes into the fight with momentum behind him, while his opponent was brutally knocked out by Justin Gaethje. Barboza will be very dangerous from the start, but Felder showed he can live with Junior the first time these two threw it down. The Irish Dragon can learn from how other men have approached Barboza’s devastating leg kicks, and if he comes up with the right plan, the American could secure the win that would see him leapfrog his younger opponent in the lightweight rankings.
John Abrams is a passionate sports fanatic who follows NBA, NFL, NHL, NCAAF, NCAAB and Formula 1. A former sports trader, John has an unquestioned thirst for sports knowledge and often fills his time playing fantasy or placing wagers online.
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