UFC 242 Fight to watch: Edson Barboza vs Paul Felder 2
There comes a time in the career of many a fighter where a shot at world title glory may have passed them by.
If either Edson Barboza or Paul Felder, the men in the UFC 242 co-main event, fail to win on Saturday night, this reality may be set in stone.
Both athletes have been involved in some spectacles throughout their careers, but with age not on their side, victory is pivotal.
The pair first encountered one another back in 2015, in a terrific contest which warranted the fight of the night accolade that it was presented. On that night, it was Barboza who walked away with the unanimous decision win.
Since then Barboza has had mixed results. He was defeated by Tony Ferguson in his next outing, but then bounced back with three consecutive victories and was on the cusp of a world title shot when he met Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Barboza was met with the same fate that most Khabib opponents have suffered. He was taken down and battered on the ground en route to a points defeat. His next bout was almost a carbon copy of his previous fight. Despite landing one huge head kick, for most of the time he spent with Kevin Lee in the octagon he was on his back.
Despite losing two in a row for the first time in his career he looked unfazed in Milwaukee as he dismantled Dan Hooker in an explosive performance. It seemed Barboza was working his way towards an illusive world title shot when he took on Justin Gaethje, but it took only one shot for that dream to come to an end.
With three defeats in his last four contests Barboza must pick up a win in Abu Dhabi to keep any dreams of a shot at the belt alive, but Paul Felder has different ideas.
Felder has also had a mix of results since his last battle with Barboza; he was edged out by Ross Pearson but then he would win five of his next seven. In his most recent fight, he picked up one of his career best victories against James Vick.
Going into Saturday, neither man can afford to lose. Barboza will be looking to land some of his trademark strikes, but Felder will use his grit to try and grind the Brazilian down. Despite Barboza’s victory in the first contest, the momentum is with the ‘Irish Dragon’ and regardless of what way the fight goes, if it’s anything like the first, the Abu Dhabi crowd won’t be disappointed.