UFC 182 Fight Breakdown: Danny Castillo vs. Paul Felder

Paul-SassOne of the prelims at UFC 182 is a three-round lightweight bout between Danny Castillo and Paul Felder. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Castillo is a -220 favorite (bet $220 to win $100) while Felder is a +180 underdog (bet $100 to win $180). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Castillo at -210 and Felder at +160, and so far there has been little line movement as the lines have tightened at the books. This is a competitive fight that will likely go to decision and be decided by the judges, but I lean slightly towards the dog Felder. Here’s why. Castillo (17-7) is one of the top gatekeepers in the UFC lightweight division. The 35-year-old is 7-4 overall in the UFC with wins over Charlie Brenneman, Tim Means, Paul Sass, and Anthony Njokuani, among others, with losses to Tony Ferguson, Edson Barboza, Michael Johnson and Jacob Volkmann. He also has notable wins over Dustin Poirier and Ricardo Lamas from back in the WEC. Castillo is a well-rounded fighter training out of Team Alpha Male. He has good wrestling, good boxing, good submissions, and great cardio. Although he is getting up there in age, he seems to be improving every fight. His recent record looks mediocre on paper, but keep in mind the fight over Ferguson could have gone his way, and the fight with Barboza really should have been a draw. Plus, he was beating Johnson up until the knockout. Hanging with fighters like that shows Castillo is no joke, but at the end of the day he didn’t win. However, getting a victory at UFC 182 would put him right back in the mix at 155lbs. He’s taking on a bit of an unknown here with Felder, a guy with knockout power and good subs, but it’s a winnable fight for Castillo. His gameplan will likely be to wrestle his opponent, but he has to maintain an active workrate or the judges may side with his opponent like they did in the Ferguson fight. It’s an interesting fight for sure, but considering Castillo’s experience and success in the UFC, he deserves to be the favorite here. Felder (9-0) is an undefeated lightweight making his sophomore UFC appearance. In his UFC debut, the 29-year-old American defeated Jason Saggo via split decision in a very solid performance. Felder showed in that fight that he has a very high workrate, good striking and good submissions, and also good wrestling. He did fade down the stretch and was nearly knocked out, but he did just enough for the judges to give him the nod, albeit in a very competitive fight. But with that UFC debut out of the way, I am expecting Felder to have a better performance in his sophomore effort. There’s no doubt in my mind that Castillo is far and away the best opponent he’s fought to date, but if he continues to show the improvements in this bout that he’s shown in all of his subsequent fights, then he has a very good chance of scoring the upset, although he’s definitely going to have to work for it against a tough veteran like Castillo. This is going to be a very competitive fight, one that likely goes the distance, but I lean slightly towards the younger Felder in this spot. He’s the one who asked for this fight, and it’s because he knows it’s a winnable fight that, if he gets his hand raised in, he’ll move well up the UFC lightweight ladder. Basically I think it’s a fight that’s going to play out both on the feet and on the ground, and I think overall Felder’s higher workrate is going to earn him points on the judges’ cards and score him the decision at the end of three. However, if Castillo is able to land takedowns and stay on top, even if Felder is doing more work off the bottom, the judges could side with Castillo. And the judges are why I’m a bit cautious about making a bigger play here. Again, I think Felder is going to do enough to earn the win in most observers’ eyes, but the only three sets of eyes that matter are the cageside judges. Still, at nearly 2-to-1, I think the risk is worth the reward, so count me down for a small play on Felder to earn the upset at UFC 182.

Written by Adam Martin.

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