UFC Vegas 14 went down on Saturday night at the UFC APEX Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the main event, former champion Rafael dos Anjos beat Paul Felder via split decision, marking a triumphant return to the lightweight division.
‘The Irish Dragon’ had stepped in on a five-days notice to replace Islam Makhachev, who had to withdraw a week ago after getting a staph infection. While Felder fell short on the judges’ scorecards, he was pleased with his performance.
Happy Despite Loss
In a post-fight interview with ESPN MMA (as transcribed by MMA Fighting), Felder expressed how happy he was to fight again after nine months away from the Octagon. Despite having to cut around 25lbs in three days beforehand.
“I’m happy,” Felder said. “I took this fight — I took it on five days notice. Let’s be real, I had about three days to make weight and now that it’s all said and done, I can stop lying about things and be a little more honest. I said a little bit about it in the post-fight [interview] to Mike [Bisping] but the weight was more than what everybody thinks it was. I went for an hour and five minute run doing uphill gradient workout for my triathlon training and I weighed 178 [pounds] after the run without drinking anything during the run. I probably woke up on Monday morning at, at least 182, 183. So let’s be skimpy about it and say I was 180 on Monday. So from 180 on Monday to 156 and first one on the scale on Friday.”
“Wish I Would Have Done A Little More”
Felder has been getting lots of praise for his performance against the former champion. The Philadelphia-native said he needed to feel inspired to fight again, and the opportunity to fight dos Anjos did just that.
“Listen, ideally I wished that I would have done a little more, right?” Felder said. “I was talking to Sean Brady and the guys in Philly and obviously Duke [Roufus], where I go and do my camps and I’ve had a good heart-to-heart with my team, both in Philly and Milwaukee this week. I needed to be inspired again. This sport breaks you. It’s tough. You guys know that. Everybody sees what this does. I see it day in and day out when I’m calling these fights. I know what the athletes go through. I needed something to motivate me and when this call came through and me and [Brian] Butler, my manager, talked about it, I talked to Christine, my girlfriend, I thought of all the things that are going wrong and I get this opportunity and here I am. You know I lost but I feel like if I had done more, I could have won that fight.”
Who should Paul Felder and Rafael dos Anjos fight next?