UFC booking Manel Kape – Matheus Nicolau 2 for January event

MMA: UFC 293 - Kape vs Dos Santos
Jasmin Frank-USA TODAY Sports

The UFC is finalizing a banger of a flyweight matchup that will take place on the first card of 2024. Marcel Dorff first reported earlier this afternoon that top flyweight contenders Manel Kape (19-6) and Matheus Nicolau (19-3-1) will fight for the second time.

The fight goes down on January 13th and that event will take place at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas. As mentioned, this is the second time that these two have fought. The first time being back in March 2021 with Nicolau getting the razor close split decision win. Many people had Kape winning that first fight. Now, they’ll truly settle the score on who is better.

We haven’t seen Nicolau since his first round loss to upcoming title challenger Brandon Royval back at UFC Kansas City in April. Prior to that loss, Nicolau had won six straight which included the Kape win, a knockout of Matt Schnell, and a decision win over former title challenger Tim Elliott. Now, he’ll kickoff the year trying to go 2-0 against Kape.

UFC Fight Night

Manel Kape had a ton of hype behind him when he signed with the UFC. He came in as the RIZIN world champion and immediately went into a fight with Alexandre Pantoja who is of course the current flyweight champion. Kape lost that fight by decision. Following that was the split decision loss to Nicolau.

Since that loss, Kape has looked sensational. However, it’s been tough to keep him active. For a number of different reasons, he’s had fights that have fallen through and opponents have pulled out. Since the Nicolau fight, he’s only seen the cage four times in nearly three years.

Most recently, he fought Felipe Dos Santos at UFC 293 in Australia. He was supposed to fight Kai Kara-France but KKF suffered a concussion and pulled out of the fight. There was some serious heat between those two and that’s the fight the UFC wanted to do. However, Kara-France hasn’t been cleared to fight and Kape wanted to stay active. That’s how we arrived at this Nicolau fight to kickoff the new year.