Weekend Warrior: Action Heroes Top UFC Fight Night 168

The potential for off-the-charts entertainment will exist when two of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s preeminent lightweight action heroes—Paul Felder and Dan Hooker—lock horns in the UFC Fight Night 168 headliner on Saturday at Spark Arena in Auckland, New Zealand. Meanwhile, Dana White’s Contender Series alum Jim Crute confronts Michal Oleksiejczuk in a co-main event highlighting two of the promotion’s more promising light heavyweight prospects.

Cover Photo: Jeff Bottari / Contributor (Getty Images)

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Paul Felder competes against Edson Barboza. Photo: Francois Nel (Getty Images)

 

A former Cage Fury Fighting Championships titleholder, Felder finds himself on a modest two-fight winning streak. The 34-year-old Roufusport standout last competed at UFC 242, where he eked out a controversial split decision over Edson Barboza on Sept. 7 and avenged a 2015 defeat to the Brazilian. Felder boasts a 9-4 record since he joined the UFC roster five-plus years ago. “The Irish Dragon” has delivered more than half (10) of his 17 career victories by knockout or technical knockout.

Hooker also enters the match on the strength of back-to-back victories. He last appeared at UFC 243 on Oct. 5, when he took a unanimous decision from The Ultimate Fighter season 15 finalist Al Iaquinta. Hooker, 30, trains out of the same City Kickboxing camp that reigning UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya calls home. A dynamic offensive fighter with well-rounded skills, “The Hangman” sports 17 finishes among his 19 professional wins.

UFC Fight Night “Felder vs. Hooker”—which streams to ESPN+ at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT—will also feature a women’s strawweight clash pairing Xiaonan Yan with Karolina Kowalkiewicz, a heavyweight showcase pitting Ben Sosoli against Marcos Rogerio de Lima, a lightweight tilt slotting Brad Riddell opposite Magomed Mustafaev and a featherweight affair matching Kevin Aguilar with Zubaira Tukhugov. In addition, ESPN+ will stream the entire seven-fight undercard, starting at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT.

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Al Iaquinta

Dan Hooker punches Al Iaquinta. Photo: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC (Getty Images)

 

The UFC will not have the mixed martial arts stage all to itself. Bellator MMA returns to the scene for the first time in nearly a month with Bellator 239 on Friday at the Winstar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma. Three-time NCAA wrestling champion Ed Ruth faces the unbeaten welterweight Yaroslav Amosov in the featured attraction. Bellator 239 “Ruth vs. Amosov” airs live on Paramount Network at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT.

Finally, the fate of the vacant Legacy Fighting Alliance light heavyweight title will hang in the balance in the LFA 82 headliner, as Alex Polizzi meets Jamal Pogues on Friday at the Mystic Lake Casino Hotel in Prior Lake, Minnesota. LFA 82 “Polizzi vs. Pogues” streams live to UFC Fight Pass at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.

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