Paul Felder stepping in to face Rafael dos Anjos on short notice in UFC Fight Night lightweight main event


paul-felder.jpg
USATSI

Paul Felder inched closer to retirement earlier this year, not completely hanging up his gloves but saying he would only be taking fights that he found appropriately interesting. Well, few fights are as interesting as stepping in against a former lightweight champion on five days’ notice to headline a card. UFC president Dana White revealed on Monday that Felder will be doing exactly that when he faces Rafael dos Anjos this Saturday night at UFC Fight Night inside Las Vegas’ UFC APEX. 

Dos Anjos was scheduled to face Islam Makhachev in the originally-scheduled main event, which had already been postponed from its previous Oct. 24 date when dos Anjos was forced to withdraw due to a positive COVID-19 test. Makhachev was forced out of the new date due to injuries, leaving the UFC looking for a late replacement.

Not only is Felder stepping up for a big-time fight, but the bout will still be contested at 155 pounds and will remain a five-round battle. In February, Felder lost a competitive split decision against Dan Hooker in one of the best fights of 2020. It was after that fight where he suggested he may be done with active competition, only to clarify later that he was shifting his focus to only sufficiently-appealing fights.

Dos Anjos is 1-4 in his five most recent fights, though the losses have come to elite-level opposition. A win over Felder would be a big moment to get his career back on track as he tries to battle back toward a shot at the lightweight championship he held from March 2015 to July 2016.

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