Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight kickboxers Edson Barboza and Paul Felder will rematch this Saturday (Sept. 7, 2019) at UFC 242 from inside The Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
It’s pretty interesting to look back on the careers of both men since their initial bout in 2015. Barboza has fought absolutely nothing but the division’s most elite, at one point coming close to a title shot in 2017. Unfortunately, that opportunity did not materialize, and Barboza has found himself losing more often than not in the last couple years. Meanwhile, Felder struggled for a bit in the middle of the division. It’s only been in the last two years that Felder has really surged forward to find major success, winning four of five bouts that saw him break into the rankings.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Anthony Pettis (UFC 197), Gilbert Melendez (UFC on FOX 20), Dan Hooker (UFC on FOX 31), Beneil Dariush (UFC Fight Night 106), Paul Felder (UFC on FOX 16)
Key Losses: Justin Gaethje (UFC on ESPN 2), Kevin Lee (UFC Fight Night 128), Khabib Nurmagomedov (UFC 219), Tony Ferguson (TUF 22 Finale), Donald Cerrone (UFC on FOX 11)
Keys to Victory: At this point, the strengths and weaknesses of Barboza are remarkably well-established. Given space the kick, Barboza will break opponents into dust almost immediately, but the Muay Thai fighter greatly struggles when pressured, both with punches and takedowns.
At this point, it’s become clear that Barboza is never going to develop the footwork or habits necessary to fully fix his issues. However, I’d like to see Barboza copy Donald Cerrone’s solution to a similar problem: start snapping front kicks and intercepting knees into the mid-section.
To some degree, Barboza does throw teeps and will jump into knees, but he needs to commit to these strategies further. If Barboza can establish distance against Felder and force his foe back into a kickboxing match, well, he beat him once before in exactly that type of fight.
Key Wins: James Vick (UFC on ESPN 1), Charles Oliveira (UFC 218), Stevie Ray (UFC Fight Night 113), Danny Castillo (UFC 182)
Key Losses: Francisco Trinaldo (UFC Fight Night 95), Edson Barboza (UFC on FOX 16), Mike Perry (UFC 226)
Keys to Victory: Felder is finally putting it all together. The Philadelphia-native combines a traditional martial arts background with love of elbow strikes and good boxing. He’s also one of the more physically-imposing men at 155 pounds and has proven himself a capable wrestler and grappler.
Last time out, Felder executed his gameplan perfectly. James Vick wanted distance, and for three rounds, Felder pressured him relentlessly. It was difficult work — Felder ate some hard shots in the process of chasing Vick around — but as a result of his plan, Felder was able to land big hooks, rip into Vick’s calf, and ultimately get his hand raised.
A similar strategy and dedication to that strategy is necessary here. Time and time again, we have seen the results of pressure against Barboza. If a fighter fails to pressure the Brazilian, he loses. If he starts pressuring but eases up midway into the fight, Barboza will turn it back around quickly.
The sole key here for Felder is to get on Barboza from the first bell and stay on him until the fight is over.
Bottom Line: This should be a really fun fight.
It’s also a hugely important one for Edson Barboza, who is looking to avoid consecutive losses and four defeats in his last five appearances. Another loss likely drops Barboza from the Top 10, which is a harsh fall considering just how long he’s been a top contender. While a win may not push him back into the title mix, it does help prove that Barboza still has gas left in the tank for more years of high-level competition.
Felder has won his last four bouts at 155 pounds, and he’s done so in very impressive fashion. At 35 years of age, there is little doubt that Felder’s current streak will represent his best work. With this match up, Felder has been given a high-profile opportunity to break into the Top 10 and put his best foot forward into the title mix.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 242 fight card right HERE, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on FX at 12 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
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At UFC 242, Edson Barboza and Paul Felder will throw down for a second time. Which man will have his hand raised in Abu Dhabi?