UFC Vegas 21 Preview: Manel Kape – Matheus Nicolau

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)

Tomorrow night at UFC Vegas 21, we are going to see an entertaining scrap in the flyweight division. Former RIZIN champion, Manel Kape (15-5), gets a quick turnaround as he takes on the returning Matheus Nicolau (15-2-1).

Kape made his UFC debut just over a month ago against Alexandre Pantoja. There was a lot of hype surrounding Kape and people considered him to be a threat in the division. However, the first fight failed to live up to the hype.

Kape seemed extremely gun shy in the matchup against Pantoja. Now, I will say that Pantoja is one of the more dangerous fighters at 125. He has incredible power and he’s very good on the ground. For those reasons, Kape was extremely cautious which led to a lack of activity.

As a result, Kape lost his UFC debut. That loss snapped his three-fight win streak that brought him to the promotion. He stayed in Vegas after the loss and stayed ready for an opportunity and he got one.

Matheus Nicolau’s original opponent fell out and Kape stepped in for the challenge. Nicolau will be making his return to the UFC tomorrow night. In his first run, Nicolau went 3-1, then he was cut by the promotion.

He was cut during the same wave as Brandon Moreno when many thought the flyweight division was toast. Nicolau got two wins outside of the octagon and now the UFC has brought him back into the fold. He’s looking to make it three-straight wins tomorrow night.

UFC Vegas 21 Prediction

At UFC Vegas 21, I’m expecting more action from Manel Kape than we saw in his debut. Matheus Nicolau is not going to be the fighter who is going to be shooting for takedowns. But, his power is something to be cautious about.

I’m expecting this to be a war on the feet tomorrow night. Kape has incredible boxing and he’s very fast when he does throw his hands. He also possesses good kicks, however, he usually favors striking with his hands.

Nicolau also has very good striking. He also possesses incredible power with his hands and his kicks. One thing I like from Nicolau is his calf kicks which I think could play a huge factor if Kape is too heavy on that front foot tomorrow.

For my UFC Vegas 21 prediction, I’m going to lean towards Manel Kape to get it done. This fight is going to be incredibly entertaining, however, I like the speed of Kape and his striking defense. I also like that he’s been active and is fresh while this is Nicolau’s first fight since August of 2019.

Prediction: Manel Kape by Unanimous Decision