Manel Kape’s UFC debut is now scheduled for December 19.
Kape, a former RIZIN Fighting Federation bantamweight champion, signed on with the UFC earlier this year. His debut was originally set for UFC 252, against Rogerio Bontorin. When Bontorin pulled out of the fight, Kape was eventually removed from the card as well.
Now, he’ll premier inside the octagon against Alexandre Pantoja, in a very interesting flyweight match-up. MMA Junkie was first to report the news.
Pantoja (22-5) was on the brink of a title shot just a year ago, having run up a three-fight win streak over Wilson Reis, Brandon Moreno, and Ulka Sasaki. However, in his three subsequent outings, the Brazilian is just 1-2, with losses to current champ Deiveson Figueiredo, and Askar Askarov.
Kape (15-4) will enter the UFC on a three-fight win streak. With RIZIN since 2017, he picked up notable wins over Ian McCall, Takeya Mizugaki and Kai Asakura. He’s also shared the cage with Kyoji Horiguchi, long one of the best lower-weight fighters on the planet, inside or outside of the UFC.
The UFC’s December 19 card is expected to take place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. Leon Edwards vs. Khamzat Chimaev is lined up as the main event.