Those who engage Paul Felder in the clinch do so at great risk to their own well-being.
The former Cage Fury Fighting Championships titleholder butchered Steven Ray with first-round elbows in a UFC Fight Night 113 lightweight showcase on Sunday at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland. Ray -- who entered the cage as a -200 favorite, per BetDSI.com -- bowed out 3:57 into Round 1, as the Scotsman lost for just the second time in seven Ultimate Fighting Championship appearances.
Felder (+160) drew the two-time Cage Warriors champion into close-quarters combat, creating space with standing elbows to the head and knee strikes to the body. With roughly 90 seconds left in the first round, he circled off the fence and blasted Ray with a crushing knee upstairs. “Braveheart” hit the deck in a dazed state and desperately tried to bottle up Felder in guard. Ray was not successful. The punches fell first and were followed by a burst of nasty elbows that netted the finish.
“I feel really calm and collected,” said Felder, who endured the death of his father during training camp. “I feel like I’m finally showing what I’ve been capable of my whole UFC career. I had to do some changes. I had to find some new coaches and find my home and find my balance in what makes me tick as a fighter. I really think I’ve found that.”
Ray was not the only favorite to meet with unexpected results. Gunnar Nelson (-178) walked into a counter right hand from Santiago Ponzinibbio in the main event and never recovered. The Argentine powerhouse backed a visibly stunned Nelson to the fence and uncorked a clean left that put him on the canvas. American Top Team’s Ponzinibbio (+146) mopped up the rest with a few follow-up punches before referee Leon Roberts could arrive on the scene. The 30-year-old has won five fights in a row, three of them finishes.
Finally, Danny Henry emerged from a battle between promotional newcomers on the undercard, as he captured a unanimous verdict over the previously unbeaten Daniel Teymur (-193) at 155 pounds. All three cageside judges sided with Henry (+153): 29-28, 29-28 and 29-26. The 28-year-old finds himself on a four-fight winning streak and has rattled off eight victories across his last nine outings.