Rafael dos Anjos has revealed this Saturday’s card was close to being canceled.
On Sunday, it was revealed Islam Makhachev was out of the fight with RDA due to injury. Immediately, many fans wondered if the UFC would even hold the event if the promotion couldn’t find a replacement for the Russian. Yet, on Monday, it was revealed Paul Felder stepped up on five days’ notice to headline the card and ultimately save the show.
“We learned that, if there was no fight, the event would fall. So it was the biggest responsibility too, because I imagined everyone is in quarantine, a difficult time for everyone, a lot of people are waiting to receive this money and work. That answer fell into my lap, practically,” dos Anjos said to Combate. “I want the guys to fight. So far they haven’t offered anyone, but I’ll get whoever comes. It was a blessing that Paul Felder accepted the fight, a better-ranked guy. Makhachev is left-handed and a wrestler, Paul Felder right-handed and striker, has changed a little. But, at the time there is a fight and everything will be all right.”
Rafael dos Anjos is making the move back down to lightweight after going 4-4 at welterweight. He also dropped four of his last five. The Brazilian fought for interim gold at 170lbs but came up short against Colby Covington. During his run at welterweight, he beat the likes of Robbie Lawler, Neil Magny, and Kevin Lee. He is also the former UFC lightweight champion.
Paul Felder, meanwhile, is coming off a split decision loss to Dan Hooker. Following the loss, “The Irish Dragon” announced his retirement from the sport. However, he remained open that he would come back for the right opportunity. Felder is currently ranked seventh at lightweight and a win over a former champion will put him back in the driver’s seat to fight a top-five opponent.
What do you make of Rafael dos Anjos revealing the entire event would’ve been canceled if Paul Felder never stepped up?