In all honesty, the one fight that I’m looking forward to the most at UFC Vegas 18 is this matchup. This is a massive flyweight fight between Alexandre Pantoja (22-5) and Manel Kape (15-4). Kape will be making his highly anticipated debut with the UFC.
Manel Kape officially arrives tomorrow after signing with the UFC last year. While many in the fight world were excited about the signing of Michael Chandler, Manel Kape was another massive signing for the promotion in 2020 that didn’t garner as much attention.
The UFC gave Kape the same treatment that they did Chandler. Kape’s first real appearance for the promotion was being the backup for the title fight back at UFC 256. The former RIZIN champion is riding a three-fight winning streak into his debut.
Kape is going to have his hands full with his first opponent. Alexandre Pantoja is a very dangerous contender at 125 pounds. Outside of the champion, he might have the most power in the division.
If you count Pantoja’s stint on The Ultimate Fighter, Pantoja holds two victories over top contender, Brandon Moreno. He went toe-to-toe with Deiveson Figueiredo and tagged the champion multiple times in their fight. He’s earned his ranking inside the UFC‘s top five.
UFC Vegas 18 Prediction
This matchup is going to be so much fun. These are two of the most powerful guys at 125 pounds and neither man has ever been finished by strikes. While both have incredible power, I don’t know if that stat changes at UFC Vegas 18.
Manel Kape has incredible footwork and very good boxing. Pantoja has incredible all around striking and he possesses very good skills on the ground. For the most part, I think we are going to see a standup war between these two flyweights.
I’m torn on this one to be honest. We’ve seen Pantoja perform at a high level against UFC competition whereas Kape is somewhat unproven. However, I really like the footwork and pure boxing skills of Manel Kape in this matchup. Call me a believer of the hype, but I think Kape gets it done in a war tomorrow.
Prediction: Manel Kape by Unanimous Decision