At UFC 226 in Las Vegas, the welterweight debut of Paul Felder ended with him getting a hematoma, a grotesque cut, and what he told Duke Roufus was a broken right arm in his three-round thriller vs. Mike Perry. “The Irish Dragon” may have had the better of Perry in a tense, well-fought opening round, but Perry was able to win on two of the three scorecards, and this figures to be frontrunner for Fight of the Night. Perry snaps his two-fight losing streak, while Felder’s three-fight winning run is over, albeit going up a weight class on short notice.
Perry cracked Felder with a right hand over the top within 25 seconds, and it opened up a cut on the top of his head. They clinched against the fence, and Felder fired away his vaunted elbows, but Perry answered with an elbow and uppercut of his own before exciting. Felder tagged Perry with a sharp right that snapped Mike’s head back, then Perry answered back and elbowed Felder, who retaliated with a spinning elbow across Perry’s forehead. It was as entertaining as advertised, with both men landing heavy leather on each other. The final minute featured more clinch striking and strong kicks courtesy of Felder, who ate a spinning backfist and then landed one in return to end a furious opening five minutes.
In a surprise move, Perry changed levels and slammed Felder to the mat early in round 2. Felder was back to his feet soon, but absorbed a couple of big elbows before they returned to striking range. The pace was definitely not a quick as the previous round, which was thrill-a-minute stuff. Felder tried chopping down Perry with leg kicks, affecting Perry’s mobility. His reluctance to throw his right hand suggested that he had injured it during the fight. A shovel hook hurt Felder and opened up a massive cut on the right side of Felder, and referee Marc Goddard intervened to let the doctor check on him. The doctor cleared him, and the fight resumed. Perry took Felder for a ride and landed hard shots. They exchanged elbows in the clinch as round 2 drew to a close.
Prior to the start of round 3, Felder confirmed he broke his right arm, so in addition to cuts and a hematoma, he had only one working arm. A lunging left hook sent Felder backwards, but he wasn’t terribly hurt. Felder dug in a heavy spinning kick to the liver that caught the attention of Perry. At the midway point of the frame, a walloping punch worsened Felder’s cut, although his chin is something to laud. Perry ducked under for a double leg takedown then switched to a high crotch single, but couldn’t get Felder down. In the interim, he kneed Felder repeatedly in the thigh. Upon separation, the two men threw down one last time, wowing the crowd with violent and powerful strikes, but failing to put the other man down. Hats off to these two for putting on a show.
Official result: Mike Perry def. Paul Felder by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
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