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Paul Felder, That’s Who

Steven Cavagnino

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UFC lightweight Paul Felder rang in the new year just about as hard as he rang Danny Castillo’s bell during last Saturday’s UFC 182 prelims. Felder and Castillo headlined the preliminary bouts that were aired for free on Fox Sports 1, and despite the supposed mismatch, it was Felder’s KO that had people talking by the end of the bout.

The bout was an entertaining one, as both fighters were throwing hard enough end the fight in an instant. Surprisingly, Castillo only attempted a single takedown in the first round, which Felder shrugged off with relative ease. From that point, it was a striking match, which, as the bout progressed, Felder seemed to be getting the better of. About halfway through the second round Felder unleashed a brutal spinning back fist while countering a body kick that sent Castillo crashing to the mat and staring up at the lights.  It was obvious from the sound of the punch and the manner in which Castillo hit the mat, that this fight was over.

Although impressive, before the match, many people were scratching their heads trying to recall who Paul Felder was, and why he was fighting Danny Castillo, a tough, well established fighter who has 20 fights under the Zuffa organization. How is it that Felder, who is 1-0 in the UFC with a close split decision win was matched up against a man who has nearly 20 times his experience in the big leagues.

Well, simply put, it’s because he asked for it. The original prelim headliner for UFC 182 was to be a fight between Danny Castillo and rising star, Rustam Khabilov, a fight that saw Castillo as the potential underdog. But when Khabilov had to pull from the fight due to visa issues, Felder stepped up to proposition Joe Silva that he take the fight with Castillo on short notice. That proposition came in the form of a short and sweet text message: “Castillo?”

Ask and you shall receive.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Felder started his career in Mixed Martial Arts at 12 years old with Taekwondo. He went to college at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia where he studied acting but never stopped training or competing. When the sport of MMA became mainstream, it was only a matter of time before he gave it a shot. Felder made his amateur debut in 2010. Going 1-1 as an amateur, he made the move to pro in 2011. Since then, he has had 10 fights, has never lost, and has 7 KO’s to his name. Felder started training at Renzo Gracie’s academy in Philadelphia, under the tutelage of Daniel Gracie. Felder made his pro debut at the Cage Fury Fighting Championships, of which he became the champion at 155 pounds.

The CFFC is a well established, well run organization that promotes itself as being the biggest ‘regional MMA organization’ in the country. Most fighters in the CFFC come from the talent-stacked tri-state area. 3 former CFFC fighters in George Sullivan (2-0 UFC), Aljamain Sterling (2-0 UFC), and now Felder, have made their way into the Ultimate Fighting Championships. 

On his way to the top, Felder defeated former TUF competitors, Julian Lane, and Marc Stephens. He defended his CFFC title belt once, winning via spectacular spinning wheel kick knockout. The kick was so spectacular that it got the attention of the UFC, who offered him a bout against Jason Saggo on short notice in Nova Scotia, Canada. If you haven’t figured it out by now, Felder is not the kind of guy to shy away from big opportunities, he took the fight in Nova Scotia on 10 days notice, and won via split decision.

Since that fight, Felder has spent time training with the most famous camp in the world, Greg Jackson and Mike Winklejon’s Martial Arts Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Still loyal to Renzo Gracie, Philadelphia, Felder splits his time between the two camps, seeing as he lives in Philly. Felder has also befriended a UFC lightweight you might be familiar with, Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, who just rattled off his 6th straight win in the co-main event of UFC 182. During his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, Felder thanked Cerrone personally, stating that he has been training at Cerrone’s personal gym, the ‘BMF Ranch’ in preparation for this fight.

During his fight at UFC 182, commentators Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg brought up that Felder doesn’t consider his first win in the UFC a win at all. He stated coming into this match with Castillo that he feels he is 0-0 in the UFC and this fight is he real debut. Rogan and Goldberg speculated as to why Felder doesn’t count his first fight as a win, but no definite answer ever came to fruition. It’s safe to say that Felder is the type of fighter who only expects the best from himself, and isn’t afraid to take risks in order to win big. This might be why he doesn’t consider his split decision victory in Nova Scotia a win at all. But despite what he personally believes, his official UFC record is now 2-0, and that second win over Castillo is easily an early candadtie for knockout of the year. If winning big and taking home a $50,000 performance bonus wasn’t enough, as of yesterday, Felder is taking after Donald Cerrone’s example and already asking to fight in just a few weeks in Boston.

Felder is, without a doubt, a fighter to watch out for, he is the new breed of Mixed Martial Arts fighter and his potential is limitless. What is scariest about him is he improves drastically every time he sets foot in the cage. At 10-0 with a 70% knockout percentage, look for Felder to do big things in 2015. UFC 182 was the last time somebody will ask ‘who?’ when they see Felder’s name on the card. Paul Felder, that’s who.

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Interviews

Exclusive: Derek Brunson: “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up”

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Derek Brunson fought Anderson Silva back in February of this year, at UFC 208. Brunson would go on to lose the fight by controversial unanimous decision. However, the controversies didn’t stop at the questionable decision, Brunson also claims Silva was greasing during the fight. The Wilmington, North Carolina native, posted about it on Twitter a few days ago:

Speaking with MMA Latest, Brunson explained why he believes Silva was greasing during the fight. “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up. Every time I grabbed him he was just slipping out of everything, and his takedown defense was really good that night. I was definitely curious to know why he was very slippery, which I definitely think he had some kind of substance on his body. He knows I’m a wrestler obviously, he’s an old, savvy veteran, so he was definitely trying to play all the rules and be very strategic, and make it harder for a wrestler to grab him.”

Brunson is set to face Lyoto Machida come October 28, when asked about whether he was worried about Machida greasing, considering Gegard Mousasi accused him of doing so in their fight, Brunson admitted he wasn’t too worried.

Well I’m not too worried, but like I said, I put it out there because I know they’re friends and I know, obviously, that’s kind of what the guys do when they know they’re fighting a wrestler. They want to lube their body up really good to make it hard to grab hold, Anderson did a great job defending my takedowns. It’s because he was all greased up so he was able to stop a lot of them. When I grab guys in the clinch, it’s very tough for them to get away and I’m pretty good with my Greco takedown. He was pretty much pulling through my clinch when I had a tight grip on him and if you have some kind of substance on your body it’s easy to pull them.”

Neither Silva nor his management have commented on the greasing allegations. Anderson Silva makes his return against Kelvin Gastelum later this year, in China. While Brunson makes his return to the Octagon on October 28th, in Brazil, where he looks to add Lyoto Machida’s name to his impressive list of victories.

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Announcement

Ovince Saint Preux Steps in to Face Corey Anderson at UFC 217

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UFC 217 just got even more interesting. Earlier this week, Patrick Cummins pulled out of his light heavyweight matchup with Corey Anderson due to a Staph infection. Corey “Overtime” Anderson was not happy with his opponents decision, even calling out his opponent on Instagram asking how Cummins could, “call it quits so far from fight night”.

The UFC left Anderson on the card, and he found an opponent through the magic of Twitter. Ovince Saint Preux tweeted out directly to Anderson stating:

It didn’t take long for Anderson to respond agreeing to the fight, tagging Mick Maynard and Dana White in his response.

Only a few short hours later, the fight announcement came from the official UFC twitter account.

 

This top 10 Light Heavyweight matchup should add to an already amazing card coming in November at Madison Square Garden. Saint Preux is coming off of back to back wins both due to the very rare von flue choke, he finds himself ranked #7th in the latest edition of the 205-pound rankings. Corey “Overtime” Anderson is 4-2 in his last 6 fights, but is coming off a brutal first round knockout loss to Jimi Manuwa in March.

With such a exciting fight added to this card, what do you see happening November 4th?  Will Corey Anderson bounce back and look to jump into the top 5 of the rankings, or will Ovince Saint Preux go for a third straight von flue choke? Let us know.

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Announcement

*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results

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Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.

Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.

Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)

Main Card:

Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)

Preliminary Card:

Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)

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