UFC’s lightweight division might never be this stacked as two highly impressive fighters in #14 ranked contender Paul ‘the Irish Dragon’ Felder (15-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) takes on #11 ranked James ‘the Texecutioner’ Vick at Fight Night 133 in Boise.
Both the fighters are no longer prospects and are making a serious run at the title. Felder is on a three-fight winning streak, all three being finishes. Vick is on a four-fight win streak. Vick has always complained that fellow fighters have turned down fights against him, Felder however says Vick was the first name given to him by matchmaker Sean Shelby to which he immediately said yes.
Standing at 6’3″ tall with a massive 76 in reach, which is massive for a lightweight and with a blue belt in Jiu Jitsu, Felder is well aware of the problems Vick can possess.
“I think he’s got really good submissions, especially his D’Arce and guillotine,” Felder analyzed. “He’s got long arms and knows how to use them in the grappling department, but a lot of guys shoot on him and try to take him down, which opens you up. When you fight tall guys or even long guys who are good at subs like that, you can’t shoot sloppy. You’ve got to be perfect on your shot, or they’re going to wrap your neck up and choke you out.
“Luckily, that’s not – I don’t think it’s giving away any of the gameplan. People probably don’t think I’m going to be shooting sloppy double legs – unless I’m rocked. But he’s got a good uppercut. He uses his length. He’s been throwing a lot of wacky kicks and stuff like that, which I hope he does. I hope he tries to kick and play the range game. I think that puts him right in my wheel house.”
Felder reflects back at the only setback Vick has had in his MMA career when he suffered a KO loss against seasoned veteran Beneil Dariush back in 2016. Felder looks to emulate the similar strategy as that of Dariush.
“The last time he fought another opponent that was ranked and on his level, he got knocked out,” Felder said. “That’s what we’re trying to repeat. We’re trying to keep the pressure on him and put him out. And I think if I can put out a guy like James Vick, on the tear that he’s on, I think I take his spot on the rankings right away.
“I think I go right from No. 14 to No. 11 and he gets bumped down. I know he wants to make a run for the title, himself, too, and we’re going to find out who’s moving in July 14.”