Two established but contrasting strikers clash at Lightweight this weekend in the co-main event of UFC on ESPN 1 when lengthy boxer James ‘The Texecutioner’ Vick meets the kick-heavy ‘Irish Dragon’ Paul Felder in an exciting meeting at 155lbs.
Both men have seen impressive win streaks snapped in their most recent outings. Vick suffered a tough first-round knockout loss to Justin Gaethje, while part-time colour commentator Felder found himself on the wrong side of the judge’s scorecards in a bloody back and forth against a much improved Mike Perry in July.
One of the tallest of the opposition at 155lbs, Texas native James Vick acquired a considerable following after racking up four straight wins throughout the last calendar year. Finishing Abel Trujillo, Polo Reyes and Joseph Duffy garnered a meeting with often overlooked Brazilian Francisco Trinaldo with the 31-year-old out striking the imposing Trinaldo over three rounds, subsequently earning him a clash with former World Series Of Fighting champion, Justin Gaethje.
Fighting on the back foot, Vick was dropped badly near the fence after a slick counter from ‘The Highlight’ but still lays claim to the #10 spot at Lightweight. Vick style contrasts greatly to Felder’s with a boxing heavy approach on display in the aforementioned bouts, but a front kick to the body had been incorporated to good effect to maintain distance recently.
Receiving a warm welcome as part of a three-team commentary booth alongside Joe Rogan and Jon Anik, Paul Felder is juggling both his current fight career and possible life after he hangs up his gloves to decent effect. A popular choice among Octagon fans for analysis, ‘The Irish Dragon’ has somewhat put his career inside the cage on the back burner competing just once last year in his previously mentioned defeat to Mike Perry.
Scoring three consecutive stoppages before clashing with ‘Platinum’, with strikes overwhelming Charles Oliveira, Stevie Ray and Alessandro Ricci. The certain lack of activity has seen Felder fall from the top fifteen rankings and his late notice Welterweight loss to Mike Perry further scuppered a quick turnaround for Felder who suffered a broken forearm during the three-round match. Well traversed in both Taekwondo and Shotokan Karate, Felder utilizes various kicking techniques throughout his fights giving him somewhat of an edge creative wise against the more mobile Vick.
Both men are wily and incredibly gritty so expect a three round back and forth.
Official pick: Paul Felder via split decision.