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Paul Felder defends his victory over Edson Barboza, open to trilogy under one condition

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Paul Felder engaged in a bloody war with Edson Barboza this past weekend at UFC 242 but in the end he walked away with a split decision victory.

After six rounds spent in the cage together, Felder and Barboza have delivered a pair of exciting fights but on both occasions the end result left the losing fighter perplexed about the judges’ decision.

Earlier this week, Barboza questioned his loss to Felder and his management team went as far as filing an appeal with the UFC over what they believe was a bad call by the judges sitting cage side. While it’s highly unlikely the decision would be overturned, Barboza obviously believes he should have earned the victory.

For his part, Felder opted to respond to Barboza on Wednesday by explaining how he believes the right decision was rendered after three hard fought rounds.

“As for my fight and what seems to have turned into a controversial decision amongst fans.. It was a war. A close fight between two skilled people that wanted to finish each other,” Felder wrote on Instagram. “I have nothing but respect for Edson. We both go out and put on fights to entertain the fans. With that said, I will say this, 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. Both of us put our bodies through so much during that fight that whoever came out with the loss would understandably be upset but the numbers don’t lie.”

While he feels like the judges made the right call giving him the win, Felder says he’s more than happy to offer Barboza a trilogy after their first two fights both ended in razor close decisions but he’s only going to face him again under one specific condition.

“If we need to run it back I would be happy to, but this trilogy needs to be five 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.”

The win finally put Felder closer towards his ultimate goal, which is fighting for the UFC lightweight title but it appears he’s ready and willing to give Barboza another opportunity if that’s what has to happen first.

Speaking with MMA Fighting’s Guilherme Cruz on Wednesday, Barboza says he’s also down to facing Felder a third time.

The Brazilian lightweight usually doesn’t watch his own fights immediately after the events, but given the controversial result and the number of comments he’s received on social media he decided to give it a look. After watching it once at the hotel in Abu Dhabi, Barboza scored the first couple of rounds in his favor and the third to Felder.

Barboza is back in Florida and approves “The Irish Dragon’s” idea of a trilogy bout as a five-round main event, and is willing to fight Felder “anytime, anywhere” to “get a third win over him.”

“Just say the date and send me the contract. Of course I’d do it, man,” Barboza told MMA Fighting. “I won the first fight, no question, and gave him the rematch, and everybody knows I won again. If he thinks he won, let’s do it again. Let’s make this trilogy and put on another great fight. I’m interested, he’s interested, and I’m sure fans would be interested as well.”

In his social media, Felder wrote that “this trilogy needs to be five rounds because someone was about to break and that someone was not me.”

Barboza doesn’t see it that way.

“If you go back and listen to the audio corner between the second and third rounds, my coaches said I won both rounds and asked me not to take any risks, and that’s exactly what I did,” Barboza said. “I took the foot off the gas, was just playing the game in the third, and that’s why I think he won that round. I wasn’t in any danger. The fight was over and I was fresh, ready to do two more rounds if I had to.”

Despite the close split decision defeat, Barboza says doesn’t regret listening to his coaches and taking his foot off the gas in the decisive round.

“Of course not. I trust my coaches,” Barboza said. “I trust Anderson, Parrumpinha and Buscape. My heart is at peace with this because they said I won and I believe them, 100 percent.”

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