The UFC’s February 6 show, set to take place on ‘Fight Island’, just received a mouth-watering flyweight bout that could have serious title implications. According to Raphael Marinho of Globo, the UFC has picked that event for a rescheduled meeting between Manel Kape and Alexandre Pantoja.
This fight was supposed to happen at last week’s UFC Vegas 17: Thompson vs. Neal, but it has canceled after Pantoja withdrew for undisclosed reasons. Kape, who signed after a thrilling run in RIZIN, was supposed to make his UFC debut back at UFC 252 in August, but that was cancelled after his scheduled opponent Rogerio Bontorin withdrew with an injury.
After fighting on the regional scene in Portugal, Kape landed in Japan in 2017 to compete in RIZIN’s flyweight World Grand Prix. He won his first round fight, versus Erson Yamamoto, with a headkick KO.
After that he beat UFC vet Ian McCall via TKO (cut). Then lost, by submission, to former UFC title challenger Kyoji Horiguchi (who would go on to win the tournament). In 2018 Kape lost a split decision to current RIZIN bantamweight champion Kai Asakura. He then choked out Yusaku Nakamura and ended the year with a decision loss to Ulka Sasaki.
Kape was perfect in RIZIN in 2019, taking three KO/TKO wins. He started the year with a body shot stoppage of Seiichiro Ito. His other finishes were over Takeya Mizugaki and former foe Asakura.
Pantoja is currently ranked 5th in the UFC’s flyweight rankings. In the Brazilian’s last outing he lost a unanimous decision to Askar Askarov. That loss was off the back of a KO win over Matt Schnell last year.
Also in 2019 Pantoja lost a decision to future champion Deiveson Figueiredo. Pantoja’s other UFC wins have come against Wilson Reis, Ulka Sasaki, Brandon Moreno, Neil Seery and Eric Shelton.
Pantoja entered the UFC after competing in 2016’s The Ultimate Fighter: Tournament of Champions.
The UFC’s February 6 show is expected to feather Alistair Overeem vs. Alexander Volkov in the main event. The co-main is scheduled to feature Cory Sandhagen vs. Frankie Edgar.