UFC Vegas 21: Manel Kape Says “Sweaty Feet” Behind Debut Loss

Manel Kape (15-5) enters his sophomore outing in the octagon this weekend at UFC Vegas 21. It’s a short notice bout against Matheus Nicolau, coming on the heels of a disappointing debut loss against Alexandre Pantoja.

But that loss wasn’t because Kape wasn’t prepared for Pantoja, or didn’t see what was being thrown at him, he told Cageside Press during Thursday’s UFC Vegas 21 virtual media day. It’s not about taking any lessons away from his debut performance either.

“It’s not about learning. I was very good in this fight against Pantoja. I was feeling amazing,” said Kape. “It’s not the fact that he throws something and I didn’t see [it]. I saw everything that he threw. I was defending everything.”

The problem was a little different. A little more unique. “What was the matter in this fight, that everybody doesn’t know but everybody from my training in the past knows, is that I have a problem with my feet. I sweat a lot in my feet,” Kape revealed. “So I couldn’t have the stability to go through and give me the balance to punch.”

Stepping outside or moving around was hampered, Kape added. “You can see in the fight, I was slipping a lot. This happened in the past too.” In another organization in the past, Kape fought with boots. Of course, that’s not an option in the UFC.

This coming Saturday, noted Kape, “I will have my feet wrapped. We’ll make some adjustments to see how this fight will be. But I believe this can help a lot.”

Stepping up on short notice against Matheus Nicolau isn’t a concern for Kape, he stated. “I’m not worried about this fight, because I’ve been training. I’ve been training since my last fight. I was training very well, I just stopped one week. I was in shape, [without] any injury. This time, I had a full camp with more sparring guys. The strategy was the same.”

He also sees a similar fighter to himself in his opponent. “When I saw Matheus fight, I can see me on a mirror. He has a similar fight as me, he’s a similar style. I know how to beat him. I know this style. I can fight in two positions, orthodox and southpaw. He can’t.”

Watch the full UFC Vegas 21 virtual media day scrum with Manel Kape above. The event takes place this Saturday, March 13 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.