Al Iaquinta vs. Paul Felder: What will go down?

Al Iaquinta vs. Paul Felder: What will go down?

Two Lightweight mainstays open the pay-per-view portion of UFC 223 this weekend, as New York native ‘Ragin’ Al Iaquinta returns to the octagon against striking expert Paul ‘The Irish Dragon’ Felder. Scoring the first-round finish against The Ultimate Fighter victor Diego Sanchez, Iaquinta has been away from the UFC scene, successfully gained his realtor license, while opponent Felder has tried his hand at analyst work on both the Fox Sports desk and more eye-catching, as a colour commentator for the promotion. The Karate and Taekwondo black belt survived an early submission scare against Charles Oliveira to extend his knockout run to three on the trot.

Currently riding a 5 fight rise, Iaquinta made his return from a two-year hiatus to wobble then finish Sanchez in just over a minute. Still occupying the #11 rank in the shark tank of the Lightweight division, a win over Felder would certainly see him crack the top ten. A talented wrestler, ‘Ragin’ Al has evolved into a slick boxer, finishing the likes of fellow stalwarts Joe Lauzon and Ross Pearson. Interestingly, Iaquinta holds a decision triumph over one time Interim Lightweight title challenger Kevin Lee, back in 2014.

One of the most dangerous and technical kickers at Lightweight today, Paul Felder has not only established himself as a Lightweight contender but also a promising analyst with an obvious flair for commentary. His immense fight IQ and knowledge also benefit him inside the Octagon, evident from his turn around against ‘Do Bronx’ Oliveira. Despite three elbow stoppages in a row, Felder has come unstuck against the division’s elite, losing to Brazilian compatriots Edson Barboza and grappling ace Francisco Trinaldo.

This match up entirely depends on if Iaquinta can utilise his superior wrestling and Matt Serra purple belt, but also if Felder can catch Al on the entry to a takedown with his arguably slicker standup.

Paul Felder via knockout.

Share Article: