Manel Kape to serve as UFC 256 backup

SAITAMA, JAPAN - DECEMBER 31: Manel Kape enters the ring prior to the bout between Ulka Sasaki of Japan and Manel Kape of Angola during the RIZIN. 14 at Saitama Super Arena on December 31, 2018 in Saitama, Japan. (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)

For the second time this year, a UFC newcomer is going to serve as the backup for a title fight. Per Mike Heck of MMA Fighting, the promotion has decided to make Manel Kape (15-4) the backup fighter for next weekend’s UFC 256 flyweight title fight.

The UFC flyweight title fight pairs the top contender, Brandon Moreno, against champion, Deiveson Figueiredo. Kape was originally supposed to fight at UFC Vegas 17 on December 19th.

The promotion paired him against top five contender, Alexandre Pantoja. There is a ton of hype surrounding the UFC flyweight debut of Manel Kape. While not quite as big, it’s very similar to the Michael Chandler situation.

Kape is widely considered one of the best flyweights in the world, and obviously the UFC agrees. They were throwing him right into a fight with a guy in the top five. However, Pantoja tested positive for COVID-19 and the fight was cancelled.

There is talk that the promotion will look to rebook that fight in either February or March. However, the promotion wanted Kape to stay in Vegas and keep cutting weight. They decided to make Kape the backup just to ensure that the cursed UFC 256 card has a fallback option.

Year of the UFC backup

As mentioned above, this is the second time this year that a UFC newcomer will serve as a backup. Back in October, Michael Chandler was brought in to the be the backup for UFC 254 which featured the title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje.

Chandler flew to Fight Island and made weight for the contest. While the Khabib – Gaethje fight went through, Chandler was ready to go just to be safe. Dana White admitted a couple of weeks ago he’s slightly nervous about the weight cuts for the flyweights next weekend.

Both men just fought at UFC 255 and Figueiredo usually struggles to make 125 pounds. Well, the promotion decided to instill a backup option just to cover their bases. While we hope the main event happens as planned, Kape is a very solid fallback option if things go south.