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Paul Felder wields hidden weapon in spinning backfist

LAS VEGAS -- If Paul Felder doesn't own the single most lethal strike in the UFC, at the very least he's in the conversation. Felder (10-1) will make his fourth appearance in the Octagon this weekend, as he's scheduled to fight Ross Pearson at UFC 191 inside MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Paul Felder wields hidden weapon in spinning backfist

The Philadelphia native has already garnered plenty of attention in his young UFC career, due in no small part to his incredible spinning backfist. He used that particular strike to knock out Danny Castillo at UFC 182 back in January. That finish remains a leading candidate for knockout of the year.

The most impressive aspect of Felder's backfist might be the fact he rarely turns it loose in practice. It's too dangerous.

"I try not to do it so much on training partners -- especially the ones I like," Felder told ESPN.com. "When I'm doing it in the training room, I kind of turn and flick it. I never rip through it, unless the guy I'm going with is being a complete A-hole. Then all bets are off.

"I do try to avoid it, though. I throw it on pads and when I'm shadowboxing. But yeah, I broke a guy's nose a few weeks ago. I threw one and he came in and caught it on the elbow. I felt awful, you know what I mean? We're all trying to fight and make money. I never want to hurt anybody."

It's interesting that Felder, 30, hesitates in utilizing the backfist in practice, considering it's his timing of it that makes it devastating. His actually sees it primarily as a counter.

"That's why there's such a difference in mine," Felder said. "A lot of guys go, 'Oh, I'm going to throw this crazy, ugly thing.' It should be done, in my opinion, as a counter. If I get knocked one way or I throw a kick a kick that misses, chances are my opponent is going to try and take advantage of that and boom, I catch him as he's running in.

"It comes from my background in taekwondo. All those spinning kicks I did when I was 12 years old, standing in line: boom, boom, boom -- one after another."

Felder, who trains at lightweight title challenger Donald Cerrone's BMF Ranch in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is coming off his first loss -- a decision to Edson Barboza in July -- but doesn't feel like he has lost any momentum. He blames the loss on a lack of aggression in the third round of that fight, caused by a miscalculation of the scorecards.

"It's simple: I made the mistake of thinking I did enough in the first two rounds," Felder said. "We were throwing so much insanity in that fight and I started to think in the third round, 'Holy crap, this fight's almost over, don't get hit with some banana switch kick.' I played it smart and I never do that.

"I don't think it was much of a setback at all though. The UFC called me right away and put me in a good spot on a pay-per-view card. I think as long as I keep winning fights, I'll work my way up."

Asked for his thoughts on Pearson (17-9), a 16-fight veteran of the UFC, Felder said they are somewhat similar in that they both tend to fire back when hit. If Pearson is smart, he'll be looking for Felder's spinning backfist any time he lets his hands go.

"I think he's a gamer -- sometimes to his disadvantage," Felder said. "He's like me. We get caught a little bit and take some unnecessary strikes. He's willing to trade and I'm going to take advantage of that."

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