Paul Felder was able to get one over an old rival with a thrilling three-round war against his fellow fan-favourite Edson Barboza at UFC 242.
The fight stood as a rematch of the pair’s original meeting back in 2015, a fight that saw the Brazilian come out on top as a result of his volume and efficiency.
This time, as a co-main event to one of the most-eagerly anticipated lightweight title-fights of all-time, the expectation was that both of these vicious strikers would put on a show for those in attendance in Abu Dhabi on the night.
Speed was the main advantage for Barboza while accuracy seemed to be in favour of Felder as the opener concluded – making the direction in which the judges saw it pretty difficult to establish.
As the second-round entered its closing half, we started to see some positive momentum in favour of The Irish Dragon as he piled the pressure on Junior – slowly starting to find the big shots, although Barboza’s speed and elusiveness remained a major factor but again, it was close.
The third-round was the tightest of the lot but Felder really began to pour on the pressure – especially in the latter half – tagging Barboza with some beautiful shots and establishing a solid level of offensive assault that really seemed to sap his opponent.
It truly was a vicious affair from start to finish, a fight that perhaps even exceeded the original – making it a fitting co-main event on a card of this stature.
In the end, the judges saw it in favour of Paul Felder by a way of split decision, with the scorecards reading 30-27, 28-29, and 30-27.