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Matheus Nicolau accomplished with Manel Kape bookings, centered on title shot after UFC on ESPN 55 headliner

April 24, 2024 9:30 pm ET LAS VEGAS – Matheus Nicolau has his eyes set on challenging for the UFC flyweight title, and Manel Kape is no longer a stop on that journey. Nicolau (19-4-1 MMA, 7-2 UFC) headlines UFC on ESPN 55 (ESPN, ESPN+) at the UFC Apex this Saturday against former title challenger

Matheus Nicolau accomplished with Manel Kape bookings, centered on title shot after UFC on ESPN 55 headliner


LAS VEGAS – Matheus Nicolau has his eyes set on difficult for the UFC flyweight title, and Manel Kape is now not a cease on that journey.

Nicolau (19-4-1 MMA, 7-2 UFC) headlines UFC on ESPN 55 (ESPN, ESPN+) on the UFC Apex this Saturday towards former title challenger Alex Perez. It will likely be Nicolau’s first struggle in a 12 months, because of Kape being unable to make it to the cage for a pair of bookings. Fortunately, Perez (24-8 MMA, 6-4 UFC) stepped up as a substitute.

“Immediately once we bought the information that Manel was out, we bought pissed off,” Nicolau advised reporters at Wednesday’s media day. “I used to be fascinated with him since final 12 months, like we began preparation round November, December as a result of the struggle was at first of January.

“Proper within the second, you get pissed off, you get frightened like, ‘Oh, is my struggle going to get postponed? Is my struggle going to get canceled? Are they going to get one other opponent? Who’re they going to get to struggle? Is it a ranked man or not?’ However on the identical day, we closed the struggle towards Alex, in order that was good, and straight away I modified my mentality. I used to be already centered on Alex.”

Nicolau and Kape had been scheduled for a rematch in January, however “Starboy” missed weight by 3.5 kilos, scrapping the struggle. Their first assembly in March 2021 resulted in a break up choice, going Nicolau’s course. They had been set once more for April 27, however because of a rib harm, Kape was forced to pull out earlier within the month.

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“Good factor was like 4 weeks earlier than the struggle, so we now have sufficient time to make all of the changes on the coaching, the technique half, the technical half,” Nicolau mentioned. “So, it was sufficient time to make all of the changes that we wanted and to be able to get this victory.”

The winner of the UFC on ESPN 55 primary occasion will doubtless be the following man up for a shot on the title Alexandre Pantoja at the moment holds. Steve Erceg may have his alternative to turn into the brand new champion within the UFC 301 primary occasion in Brazil on Could 4.

Nicolau believes the timing of his primary occasion, and the title struggle following the following weekend will give the winner stable momentum to say No. 1 contender standing. If victorious, Nicolau will fortunately fly to Rio de Janeiro to be cageside for the principle occasion, leaving any considered Manel Kape within the rear view.

“Truthfully, after the struggle, I will likely be wanting up,” Nicolau mentioned. “That’s the course that I’m going, to the highest of the mountain. I don’t wish to take into consideration Manel anymore.”

For extra on the cardboard, go to MMA Junkie’s occasion hub for UFC on ESPN 55.

You’ll want to go to the MMA Junkie Instagram web page and YouTube channel to debate this and extra content material with followers of blended martial arts.

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