Ahead of rematch, Felder and Barboza recall infamous low kick

Friday, August 23, 2019

Edson Barboza vs Paul Felder 1 took place at UFC on FOX 16 on July 25, 2015, in Chicago, IL. Barboza had an extensive background in Muay Thai and Taekwondo, with highlight-reel finishes of Evan Dunham and Terry Etim, and had ended two fights via low kick. Felder was 10-0, and had finished two of his last three fights via spinning techniques. Barboza won via Unanimous Decision, but the biggest gasp from the crowd came when he landed a mighty spinning hook kick, to the groin.

The two rematch at UFC 242 on September 7, 2019, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; in recent interviews, both sides recalled the low blow. Barboza thought he would be disqualified.

“I remember that kick,” said Barboza to Nolan King and John Morgan for MMA Junkie. “It hurt my feet. First time, when I connect the kick, I was thinking, ‘The fight is over. He can’t come back. He can’t.’ I was so scared, but he came back. He showed heart and that he’s one of the best in the world.”

Felder remembers the other side of the lowlight reel.

“I’m not going to blame that on why I lost," said Felder on the Eurobash podcast, as transcribed by Peter Carroll for MMA Fighting. "You could, I guess, if you wanted to find a way out, but it didn’t help things, that’s for sure. I feel like I had pretty good momentum in that round and then I took that shot and I didn’t take a lot of time to recover, because that’s how it is when we’re in there. You’re under a lot of pressure in there; there’s the crowd and there’s the ref talking to you the whole time and your opponent is just standing on the other side of the Octagon. There are a lot of things pushing you to just continue the match. I did that and I’m sure it negatively affected me for sure. That had me sick to my stomach for a while there, I was peeing blood after the fight.”

Felder says he's a different fighter today.

“The only thing that I think remains the same is my toughness and my durability. I think that’s what I had and what got me through that fight with him," said Felder. "My base skills were there, I was a powerful guy and a pretty decent striker. Since working with Duke [Roufus], and even with my team in Philly, that’s got a lot better.”

“Duke is a mastermind. I’ve just been adding more clinch and more takedowns and working with my jiu-jitsu coaches. I’m so much more well-rounded and so much more composed. I was so violent and aggressive when I first fought him, I was all balls and pressure. It was just get in there and scrap, now it’s the same mentality with more versatility.”

Edson Barboza says that both of them are different fighters today.

“It was more important that I watched the last couple of fights because he’s a different guy right now,” said Barboza. “I’m a different guy, too. In four years, I’ve had the opportunity to fight against the best guys in the world. I fought Khabib, I fought Ferguson, I fought Anthony Pettis and Gilbert Melendez. I’m a more experienced guy right now. I’m definitely much, much better.”

“His No. 1 goal is to be a UFC champ, I believe. Like, my No. 1 goal is to be UFC champ. But he’s a great commentator. He understands the fight. He always comes very well, but a fight is a fight. It’s different.”

Barboza vs. Felder 2 is the co-main event of UFC 242 on September 7 at The Arena at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.