Announced by multiple outlets, this weekend’s UFC Fight Night main event between Rafael dos Anjos and Islam Makhachev has changed. Makhachev is out of the bout with a staph infection. Paul Felder takes his place on roughly five days’ notice.
“I thought about it and I decided with everything going on in the world and all the sad things going on in people’s lives and losing their jobs and suffering and we just lost Alex freaking Trebek to pancreatic cancer, I was like, ‘Man, you know you’re still 36. You’re young. You’re in shape. Save the date. Let’s go get paid. Let’s have fun. You’re fighting a legend,’” Felder told ESPN. “What do I have to lose?”
The contest will still be five rounds and at 155 pounds. “The Irish Dragon” hasn’t stepped into the Octagon since a February loss to Dan Hooker. He’s in great shape according to his manager Brian Butler due to triathlon training. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto posted a statement from Butler to social media.
“Any other time, this would have been impossible. But Paul has been biking and swimming like a mad man. He woke up this morning and his health data says he’s peaking. The universe wanted this to happen.”
Why Felder’s Odds as a Fill-In Are Not As Bad As You Think
Felder has revealed he is currently in the 170s as far as cutting weight goes. Normally, the fill-in opponent in Felder’s shoes has the odds stacked against him but OddsUSA likes Felder’s chances. His last fight was a very close loss and RDA has been declining, dropping four of five. Felder had been considering retirement after that loss but had not committed.
“I know I’m nearing the end of my career soon. This, I think, it’s win-win for me because if I go in there and I can finish and beat RDA, a former champ, then it gives me a lot of selling points to be getting these bigger fights which seem to have been eluding me at the top five of the lightweight division here in the UFC. How do you not give me something big after this if I go in there after stepping up? And, if it doesn’t go my way, then I saved the day. I’m going in there to try to win, so we’ll see.”
Keep an eye out for our odds preview for this new main event!