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Paul Felder open to Edson Barboza trilogy, but ‘main event or bust’

Paul Felder defeated Edson Barboza by controversial split decision at UFC 242 last weekend in Abu Dhabi.

MMA: UFC 242- Barboza vs Felder Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

Paul Felder and Edson Barboza are tied at one fight apiece, so a trilogy could make sense down the road.

Felder defeated Barboza by split decision in the UFC 242 co-main event last weekend in Abu Dhabi. It was a rematch from their first fight back in 2015, which the Brazilian won by unanimous decision. Though the rematch was razor-thin close, the decision proved to be somewhat controversial, with Felder earning a 30-27 scorecard from one judge. 13 of 16 media members on scored the fight for Barboza, who also got a 30-27 scorecard from a judge.

In a social media post Wednesday, Felder addressed the result of the fight. He recognized how close the bout was, but said “numbers don’t lie.”

“It was a war,” Felder wrote on Instagram. “A close fight between two skilled people that wanted to finish each other. ... I walked him down the entire fight, I threw at him the entire fight, I never stalled the entire fight, if he landed, I landed... the entire fight. When he took me down, he took the damage... the entire fight. I never gassed or slowed my pace the entire fight. I got cut due to a head butt, Edson got cut due to strikes.”

Felder, who moved up to No. 7 in the UFC lightweight rankings with the win over Barboza, said he is open to a third fight with Barboza, but only if it is scheduled as a five-round main event.

“If we need to run it back I would be happy to, but this trilogy needs to be 5 rounds because someone was about to break and that someone was not me,” Felder wrote. “If the fans and Edson need a clear ending to this then it’s main event or bust.”

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