On Sunday evening Paul Felder was home with his family in Philadelphia. It was about 7:30 p.m., and while surfing social networks, Felder saw a report that Islam Makhachev had not participated in the main event of the SPF night fight with Rafael dos Agnos, the fight was scheduled for next weekend.
It was a battle that Felder was already thinking about, as he was going to perform as color commentator for the show at the end of this week and fly to Las Vegas. But after he saw the news, Felder felt it in his stomach. He wrote to his manager, Brian Butler of SuckerPunch Entertainment, to fight with a dose of Agnos as soon as possible. It was all a joke, Felder said.
They agreed that this was an unlikely scenario. If the UFC had called to suggest a fight, they would have considered it. But when Felder went to bed on Sunday night, he wanted to go to 14. November don’t fight.
Felder told ESPN I’m not going to hell. If they need me, they’ll give me a hand. They didn’t offer a helping hand, they didn’t offer a fight. Somehow I was just complaining.
The Top 10 challengers and the former champion will meet each other on Saturday at the UFC Fight Night main event. Paul Felder, sixth in the ESPN Lightweight standings, will meet former UFC Lightweight champion Rafael Dos Agnos. Felder resumed the fight in less than a week after Islam Makhachev left the main event on Sunday with an undisclosed injury.
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In the fickle world of the UFC, the off-season sports organisation that organises events almost every week of the year, things happen very quickly. Of course, Felder was on a plane to Vegas less than 48 hours after he texted Butler. He would be a real competitor for Dos Anjos.
What has changed for the fields? Why did he get in the cage with one of the most dangerous men in the division without any training? There are several factors, including the fact that he was already in uniform because of the preparations for the triathlon and the wage increase by the PDU.
But above all, Felder, who had been considering resigning from Dan Hukur since his defeat in February, realised that this opportunity – the decision to fly over his pants in five days to save the map – was exactly what he needed at this stage of his career. It’s this decision that makes Felder what he is – one of the most exciting and respected fighters in the lightweight world.
After all, we’re not going to give in to… Oh, oh, his record was 17-5 or 20-6, Felder said. Who cares? What did that man do? Were they brave enough to take courageous steps that other people can’t? Looking back, even if the GDR beats me on Saturday, I don’t care ……. I just lost the last fight. You think I can’t survive this loss? I got close to the former champion in five days. I’ll remember it for the rest of my life.
Fault! The file name is not specified. Rafael dos Agnos is a former UFC Lightweight Champion and hopes to repeat his championship against Paul Felder. Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC/Getty Pictures
Dos Anhos was desperate. He also discovered that Makhachev had disappeared in the night from Sunday to Sunday. He got some bad news on the phone with his manager Giovanni Biscardi.
Since he decided to switch from medium to light weight six months ago, everything is ready for the moment. Dos Anhos followed a strict diet and remained disciplined during his next weight loss training. The fight against Makhachev has already been approved by UFC 254 out of 24. October, when the Anjos dosage was positive for KOVID-19 during a training in his homeland, Brazil.
There’s more than you think. The entire Dos Agnos family received the coronavirus, including their children and mother. Christian, his wife, ended up in the hospital. According to Biscardi, Dos Anchos himself shows serious symptoms. They are all healthy now, but the thought that the battle – the reason why he trained so hard and perhaps endangered his family – would not take place was devastating.
I said: I can’t believe it, Dos Anjos said. I’ve been working for months. … I just want to fight. I was very sad. I want to get back to work.
On Monday morning, Dos Agnos wasn’t sure he could fight on Saturday. Social media has reported that a new subscriber, Michael Chandler, former triple Bellator lightweight champion, may be the competitor. But Chandler told the MMA junkie that he and the UFC had other plans for him. Dos Agnos, who’s not the one talking to garbage, sent a tweet about the fire at 12:44. IT.
If you don’t fight because you don’t have time to lose weight, I understand, but don’t tell me you have other plans.
I became the champion of the BIGGEST organization and I fought with everyone in front of me. Shame on you.
– 8. Rafael dos Agnos (@RdosAnjosMMA) 9. Rafael dos Agnos (@RdosAnjosMMA) November 2020
If you don’t fight because you don’t have enough time to lose weight, I understand that, but don’t tell me you have other plans, Dos Agnos wrote. I became the champion of the BIGGEST organization and I fought with everyone in front of me. Shame on you.
Behind the scenes, Bishkek had a conversation with UFC Match Director Sean Shelby. Biscardi asked for Chandler and another light name: Tony Ferguson.
He’s got a way of thinking I see him in a hand-to-hand fight.
Neither Chandler nor Ferguson appears to have been questioned. Time’s up. The team of Dos Anjos, coached by Andre Pederneiraş, had to leave Brazil for Las Vegas on Monday at 18.00 hours. According to Biscardi Shelby, if there hadn’t been a fight then, it wouldn’t have made sense for the team to stay that long.
Around 2:00 p.m. Butler got a message from Shelby, who wasn’t sure if she’d get it. The UFC extended a helping hand and offered Felder a dose of Agnos. The butler called Felder directly on FaceTime. Felder was at the gym, he walked on the treadmill, but he still answered the phone. He knew why Butler called.
Felder didn’t give his permission right away. The first idea was how he would assemble his team in a few days. Could he bring his chef and nutritionist Ian Larios to Las Vegas? Coach Felder, Duke Rufus, wanted to visit Emmanuel Sanchez in Connecticut on Thursday. Can Rufus fly away after the Bellator game and nail Felder against Dos Anjos?
Butler started compiling the logistics. Felder continued. He told Butler he needed a little more time to figure it out. The weight will play an important role, because in four days time it cannot weigh more than 156 pounds. In addition, Felder wanted to receive an extra fee from the UFC as soon as possible for being confronted with a dangerous opponent.
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It should have been worth it, Butler said. That was different. At this point, every fight must be worthwhile. I mean, Paul lost a piece of his lung in an earlier fight. He’s got broken bones. This man has battle scars that he received and donated for this company. This should be good for him. He deserves a good life outside the cage for now. I don’t want him to get hurt if he already has a good income, unless he’s absolutely passionate and enthusiastic about it. Then we’ll do it. Otherwise he’ll be fine.
Felder went home, showered and weighed himself. He didn’t say exactly how much he weighed, but he weighed well under 180 pounds, and around 170, he told Ariel Helvani of ESPN. The week of fighting is easier than before when he swam and prepared for the triathlon in March. Felder told Butler he’d fight with a dose of Agnos.
Under normal circumstances, this would not have been an easy path to take, Butler said. But because he trained very hard for this triathlon, he is in very good condition.
Fault! The file name is not specified. – set
Paul The Irish Dragon Felder is preparing to meet Rafael Souls Agnos on UFC Fight Night as both fighters see an easy title in their future.
When Shelby heard about Butler, he contacted Biscardi and offered Felder to become his rival. It was about 4:30. Biscardi agreed immediately. Shelby asked if maybe the director could ask Dos Agnos to go first. Biscardi said he didn’t care.
The problem is that Rafael is a fighter, Biscardi said. It’s my job to keep him. If the UFC had said that Islam can’t fight, we [the heavyweight champion] Miocic style for you, he would have done so.
Felder is the name in which Dos Agnos has been interested since he decided to return to lightweight, said Bishkekardi, and the team was very, very happy with the new booking.
As far as the dosage of Agnos is concerned, the game is very different than we expected. Fields – right-handed and pointed; Makhachev – South African wrestler and grappler. This was not what Dos Anjos was prepared for, but he was prepared to fight independently of his opponent and did not want to risk the whole card because he rejected someone.
I immediately agreed because I was told that they would probably have to cancel the whole show if I didn’t fight, Dos Anjos said. It is a great responsibility, because we have  fighters waiting for their wages. I can’t be that selfish.
According to Agnos, the result is a blessing. Felder is better placed than Makhachev, and a victory over him will bring Anjosh’s dose of Anjosh’s ultimate goal: the recovery of the UFC Lightweight Championship title he achieved in 2015 and 2016.
I have a mission, Dos Agnos said. I want to be a champion again. I believe God does things at the right time.
We need more fighters like you @felderpaul thanks for recording the fight and saving the show. pic.twitter.com/f5tfDoSWRS
– 9. Rafael dos Agnos (@RdosAnjosMMA) 10. Rafael dos Agnos (@RdosAnjosMMA) November 2020.
Meanwhile, Felder was looking for something to inspire him. He recently wrote to Butler when Robbie Lawler withdrew from a scheduled game against Mike Perry in UFC 255 at the end of the month, but both decided that revenge on Perry made no sense. This time there is no eight week training with Rufus in Milwaukee and also no exceptionally tight weight reduction.
Paul wants to fight to excite the fans, Butler said. Under normal circumstances, I’m not sure this fight is that exciting, because it happened that way. I think if we hired Paul to fight the GDR, it would be a big fight and a lot of fans would want to see him. But the fact that Paul fought the GDR for five days gives a whole new level of excitement.
Felder has carved out its own niche within the UFC. It was difficult for him to climb into the top five of the lightweight category and secure the title. But soon he switched to colour commentary, perhaps because of his acting experience. Felder graduated from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and was once a well-known local theatre actor. In July, Felder left the commentary table in the middle of the event to catch his old friend Jared Gordon, whose entire team was unable to make the trip to Fight Island due to coronavirus problems. On Saturday, Felder adds the title of the card he had to comment on as another moment in an unpredictable and unique career.
Something set me on fire again, and it still itches, Felder said. I’ve been waiting for this. That’s why I don’t rush to take my opponent with me or fight, because that’s the sport you have to want to play, you have to want to lose weight, you have to want to hurt yourself and you have to want to hurt someone.