Manel Kape will finally make his UFC debut when he takes on one of the flyweight division’s top contenders.
Kape (15-4 MMA, 0-0 UFC) will face Alexandre Pantoja (22-5 MMA, 6-3 UFC) on Dec. 19 in the promotion’ final event of the year at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
Two people with knowledge of the situation informed MMA Junkie of the booking but asked to remain anonymous since the UFC has yet to make an official announcement.
Kape, a former Rizin FF bantamweight champion, was scheduled to make his UFC debut against Rogerio Bontorin on Aug. 15, but his fight was scrapped after Bontorin was forced out because of an ankle injury. Kape has won his past three fights, all by finish.
After a three-fight winning streak, Pantoja has seen his momentum take a halt, losing two of his past three. He is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Askar Askarov at UFC on ESPN+ 30 in July.
With the addition, the UFC’s Dec. 19 lineup includes:
- Leon Edwards vs. Khamzat Chimaev
- Antonio Braga Neto vs. Deron Winn
- Belal Muhammad vs. TBA
- Tafon Nchukwi vs. Jamie Pickett
- Rob Font vs. Marlon Moraes
- Rick Glenn vs. Carlton Minus
- Tyson Nam vs. Matt Schnell
- Manel Kape vs. Alexandre Pantoja