Things looked bleak for UFC Vegas 14 after Islam Makhachev pulled out of the main event yesterday. However, Paul Felder has stepped up to fight Rafael dos Anjos on short notice.
ESPN’s Brett Okamoto first reported Paul Felder taking the spot in the UFC Vegas 14 headliner.
Paul Felder was supposed to be broadcasting Saturday’s event as Brendan Fitzgerald’s color commentator. Instead, he’ll be inside the cage for 25 minutes against a former lightweight champion. Felder has been training for a triathlon and his manager stated that his health is currently peaking.
Felder last fought in February in a banger of a main event against Dan Hooker, coming out on the wrong side of a split decision. Afterwards, Felder committed to broadcasting and said he’d only take fights that entice him. Taking on a former champion on less than a week’s notice is the first fight to do so since then. Before the loss to Hooker, Felder had won five straight fights at lightweight, losing to Mike Perry on short notice at welterweight in the middle of that run.
On the other side, dos Anjos’ struggles at welterweight have caused him to return to lightweight, the division he held the crown in five years ago. After winning in his first three welterweight appearances, the Brazilian has lost four of five including a title shot against Colby Covington. He’ll be looking to stop a two-fight losing streak after falling to Leon Edwards and Michael Chiesa.
Outside of the main event, UFC Vegas 14 is a tough sell. Abdul Razak Alhassan is taking on Khaos Williams in the co-main event, so Felder has earned himself even more brownie points with the promotion by taking this fight.