Alexandre Pantoja and Manel Kape have been re-booked for a potential flyweight title eliminator against each other for early next year.
Pantoja vs. Kape was originally scheduled to take place at UFC Vegas 17 on December 19 in Las Vegas, but the bout fell apart after Pantoja withdrew from the bout. The UFC then pulled Kape from the card as well and tabbed him to be the backup fighter to the UFC 256 main event between UFC flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno. However, both Figueiredo and Moreno made weight and Kape never ended up making his UFC debut after all at UFC 256.
Fortunately, the UFC has been able to re-book this bout between Pantoja and Kape very quickly, and the two will now meet at a UFC Fight Night event on February 7, 2021. That card is set to be headlined by heavyweights Alistair Overeem and Alexander Volkov. Also on the card is a bantamweight bout between Frankie Edgar and Cory Sandhagen. Combate was the first to report the Pantoja vs. Kape fight.
Pantoja (22-5) is the No. 5 ranked flyweight in the UFC. The 30-year-old Brazilian has been in the UFC since 2017 and he has racked up a 6-3 overall record in the promotion, including wins over Brandon Moreno, Matt Schnell, and Wilson Reis. In his last fight, Pantoja lost a unanimous decision to Askar Askarov on Fight Island.
Kape (15-4) is the former RIZIN FF bantamweight champion and he is set to make his UFC debut here against Pantoja. The 27-year-old native of Portugal is coming off of three straight wins in RIZIN FF including a knockout win over Kai Asakura in December 2020. Kape is said to be one of the best flyweights in the world and a win over Pantoja could be enough for him to get a title shot at 125lbs later in 2021.
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