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Paul Felder steps in to face Rafael dos Anjos in UFC Vegas 14 main event

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Now THAT is a surprise.

UFC Fight Night: Nascimento v Mayes Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

From the broadcast booth to the literal main event? Surely not!

Yes, Paul Felder was supposed to be commentating on this Saturday’s UFC Vegas 14 card, which was originally set to feature Rafael dos Anjos against Islam Makhachev in a five-round lightweight battle. Makhachev withdrew from the event, leaving RDA without a dance partner with just a few days before fight night. Felder has not only agreed to fight dos Anjos but he’ll do it at 155 lbs AND it’ll still be a five-rounder.

Felder (17-5) lost a razor-thin split decision to Dan Hooker at UFC Auckland in a fight that’s been hailed as one of the best of 2020. After such a difficult and agonizing loss, Felder did contemplate retirement but indicated that he would return to the Octagon. I don’t think he envisioned returning under these circumstances, but the #7 ranked lightweight contender is stepping up in a big way.

Dos Anjos (29-13) has lost four of his last five, all in the welterweight division. He’s coming off a decision defeat to Michael Chiesa at UFC Raleigh in January. The former UFC lightweight champion’s last appearance at 155 lbs came in 2016, when he dropped a decision to Tony Ferguson.

UFC Vegas 14 streams exclusively on ESPN+, with the main card beginning at 7 PM ET/4 PM PT.