Manel Kape is the latest talent to sign with the UFC.
First rumored weeks ago, Kape’s addition to the world’s largest MMA promotion was confirmed Monday by his team at AKA Thailand. While financials were not disclosed, it appears it’s a four-fight deal for the RIZIN bantamweight champion.
Kape (15-4), a native of Portugal, first came onto the radar back in 2017, when he defeated Japanese prospect Erson Yamamoto in his debut for RIZIN. He was then booked (as a sizeable underdog) against UFC flyweight veteran Ian McCall. The American would suffer a cut early in that fight, resulting in a stoppage win for Kape. That earned him a spot against Kyoji Horiguchi.
After losing that, and his subsequent fight against Kai Asakura, Kape split a pair of fights, then embarked on a three-fight win streak that saw him pick up victories over Takeya Mizugaki, and Asakura — claiming vengeance for that initial loss.
The bout against Asakura also saw him earn the RIZIN bantamweight championship, which had been vacated by Horiguchi due to injury.
All three of Kape’s most recent wins have come via KO/TKO. Outside of his losses to Asakura and Horiguchi, his only other recent defeat came at the hands of another UFC veteran, Ulka Sasaki. Overall, he compiled a 6-3 record for RIZIN.