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Monday Morning Hangover: What’s next for Paul Felder after coming up short at UFC Vegas 14?

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UFC Fight Night: Felder v Dos Anjos Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone as UFC Vegas 14 once again revisited UFC Apex this past weekend (Sat., Nov. 14, 2020) in Las Vegas, Nevada. Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Abdul Razak Alhassan, who was knocked out cold by Khaos Williams in just 30 seconds (watch the video here).

And Brendan Allen, who saw his seven-fight win streak go out the window after getting stopped by Sean Strickland (replay here). But their post-fight hangovers might not measure up to the setback suffered by aging “Irish Dragon” Paul Felder, who dropped a decision loss to Rafael dos Anjos (see the highlights here).

Right off the bat, let me start by saying Felder is not a loser in any way, shape or form despite coming up empty on Saturday night. He saved UFC’s butt by stepping in on just five days’ notice to take a main event fight against a former world champion.

And to make it even more impressive, “The Irish Dragon” later revealed he did so without having stepped foot inside a mixed martial arts (MMA) gym for the last four months. That means Felder went toe-to-toe for 25 hard-fought minutes with no recent sparring or jiu-jitsu classes in his back pocket to help him prepare.

But, that’s what fighters do ... they fight. And Felder did just that, looking pretty damn good for a man who was previously training for a triathlon. And let’s not forget, he dropped 20 pounds in four days, unlike Eryk Anders, Abdul Razak Alhassan and Louis Smolka, who all missed weight despite having full camps.

After the fight, Felder also confirmed that he would continue competing after teasing retirement earlier this year. A few days ago, “The Irish Dragon” did say that a loss to “RDA” could lean him in that direction; but thankfully for fight fans, Felder is down to keep going.

“I can tell you guys with certainty that I’m not going anywhere right now,” Felder said during his post-fight interview. “I lost my passion for this sport pretty bad. I can tell you I’m not done. I might lose my ranking a little bit, but what I’ve learned in this sport is none of that matters. What matters is going out there, showing up, showing who you are inside and what determination you have.”

As for what could be on the horizon for Felder, I think a fight against Kevin Lee is in order. “The Motown Phenom” hasn't competed since coming up short against Charles Oliveira this past March, his third loss in four fights.

After the bout, Lee declared that he would take some time off to regroup after his tough stretch. One month later, he underwent ACL surgery, taking him out of commission for the remainder of 2020.

If “The Motown Phenom” does indeed mount a return in the first quarter of 2021, I’d love to see UFC matchmakers book the Felder fight. Both men love to stand-and-bang and both are in desperate need of a big win.

Any objections?

For complete UFC Vegas 14 results and play-by-play coverage click here.