We’re all living in uncertain, challenging times. However, there is some good news to be had as much of the combat sports world has downed its tools.
Manel Kape, the diminutive Angolan scrapper who recently captured Rizin Fighting Federation gold, has reportedly signed to the UFC roster on a four-fight deal.
BREAKING!!! @akathailand’s own, @manelkape, has signed a multi-fight @UFC contract! All of his hard work has paid off and we are so proud of him!https://t.co/lSEiic64zn pic.twitter.com/zHQ50sUWoN
— AKA Thailand (@AKAThailand) March 30, 2020
The news was confirmed by AKA Thailand, the gym led by former UFC welterweight mainstay Mike Swick after an initial report from Brazilian outlet Combate.
Kape’s last outing saw him upset the odds and snatch the Rizin title off Kai Asakura with a second-round TKO victory on New Year’s Eve at Rizin 20.
“Prodigio,” a dynamic, all-action striker who is only aged 26, had an eventful run while competing under the Rizin banner and his colourful personality garnered plenty of attention in Japan. Of his 15 wins in professional MMA, Kape has ended 14 of them – nine by knockout.
Kape’s Rizin debut saw him defeat Erson Yamamoto in the first round with a stunning head kick and advance in the Rizin bantamweight grand prix.
In the next round, his back-and-forth with ex-UFC flyweight Ian McCall outside the cage culminated in a first-round doctor’s stoppage win for Kape.
The Angolan’s run in the tournament was ended by a third-round submission loss to Kyoji Horiguchi in the grand prix semifinal.
Kape also defeated the likes of Takeya Mizugaki, Yasaku Nakamura and Seiichiro Ito while at Rizin.