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Fight Preview: Edson Barboza vs Paul Felder

Cover photo courtesy of MMA Fighting/Esther Lin

The co-main event for UFC 242 is an interesting rematch between fan favorite, Edson Barboza, and the “Irish Dragon,” Paul Felder. Both of these men have been battling for years to put themselves in title contention in the massive shark tank that is the UFC’s lightweight division. Both men will also be fighting far from their respective homes of Brazil and the United States to fight in Abu Dhabi. Both Barboza and Felder have been in the promotion for years but the co-main event status is being carried more by the Brazilian.

A post shared by Edson Barboza Jr (@edsonbarbozajr) on Jul 10, 2019 at 9:43am PDT

On the same night Jose Aldo landed his famous spinning knee knockout against Chad Mendes, Edson Barboza solidified his name amongst the hearts and minds of fans. At UFC 142, Barboza looked to be on the verge of going the distance with Terry Etim until a spinning hook kick (sometimes called a wheel kick) landed perfectly on its mark and catapulted Barboza onto the list of all-time greatest knockouts in MMA. Since then, Barboza has been a crowd favorite and holds victories over Ross Pearson, Bobby Green, Anthony Pettis, Gilbert Melendez, Beneil Dariush, Evan Dunham and Dan Hooker. And has even been noted to use his famous spinning kick against many opponents including his losing effort against Kevin Lee. Barboza is currently 1-3 in the last four fights and looks to put himself back in the win column after his loss knockout loss to Justin Gaethje.

A post shared by Edson Barboza Jr (@edsonbarbozajr) on Jul 27, 2019 at 8:38am PDT

For Paul Felder, his time in the UFC has been filled with winning streaks that are snapped by a loss. His first two wins in the UFC were over Jason Saggo and Danny Castillo but suffered his first loss in the promotion by the same man he will be facing this weekend in Abu Dhabi. Felder has notable wins over Josh Burkman, Charles Oliveira, Stevie Ray and Alessandro Ricci. He’s currently coming off of a win against a very dangerous James Vick and looks to continue his winning streak while avenging his first loss in the UFC.

A post shared by Paul Felder (@felderpaul) on Sep 3, 2019 at 5:34am PDT

What makes this match interesting is that both of these fighters have similar martial arts backgrounds. Felder has a background in Taekwondo, Shotokan, Muay Thai and Brazilian jiu-jitsu while the same can be said of Barboza minus the Shotokan. Both fighters also have a similar pace in not being too passive but also not trying to force the action either. It’s doubtful that the fight will be much of a ground battle since Felder and Barboza are fairly even with their grappling skills with Felder’s purple belt under Daniel Gracie and Barboza’s brown belt under Ricardo Almeida.

A post shared by Edson Barboza Jr (@edsonbarbozajr) on Apr 2, 2019 at 10:58am PDT

There’s always the factor of Barboza’s famous spinning wheel kick, but he has a tendency to just throw it at random times and not set it up with a prior strike or combinations. A second degree in Taekwondo like Felder will see kicks like that coming and probably has gotten back to his fighting roots to prepare for rare kicks. Both fighters will also have a hard time countering each other with clinch work since they are both skilled in Muay Thai. What might give Barboza an edge are his leg kicks that were strong enough to give him a TKO victory over Rafeallo Oliveira back in 2013.

A post shared by Paul Felder (@felderpaul) on Feb 18, 2019 at 6:43pm PST

Either way, UFC fans are sure to get a striking battle between two veteran lightweights. As mentioned before, most likely the fight will not have much time on the ground or against the cage but the two might be even in those areas as well. Since the UFC is making more of an effort to appeal to audiences in the same time zone as the event itself, the main card will air in the United States at 2pm Eastern time/1pm Central time.■

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