Former RIZIN FF bantamweight champion, Manel Kape certainly isn’t wasting any time exploring his new surroundings in the UFC – as he eyes a former champion for his promotional bow later this year.
The Angolan born striker recently signed a multi-fight deal with the UFC, ending a three-year stint with Japanese based promotion, RIZIN FF, and has welcomed a meeting with former bantamweight gold-holder, Cody ‘No Love’ Garbrandt for his Octagon bow. Kape joins fellow RIZIN FF champion, Jiři Procházka in signing for the UFC, and has sizeable plans for his debut walk.
One-time bantamweight best, Garbrandt, has dropped three knockout wins consecutively and was forced from an Ohio homecoming in March against Raphael Assunção due to kidney issues. The 28-year-old explained how he still plans on clashing with Assunção upon his Octagon return – before a rather surprising excursion at flyweight.
Despite Garbrandt’s idea to drop a weight division, three-fight riser, Kape, has already pinpointed a debut meeting with Garbrandt – issuing a plea to the 28-year-old from his official Twitter account.
“My contract already save (sic) the 125 (-pound) division in @ufc, let’s make Manel Kape vs. @Cody_Nolove (Cody Garbrandt) in my first debut !!! @malkikawa @FirstRoundMgmt @danawhite”
Kape has made relatively short work of his last three opponents in RIZIN FF. The 26-year-old Porto-based striker lodged knockout victories over Seiichiro Ito, Takeya Mizugaki, and Kai Asakura, before exiting the promotion as bantamweight champion. In nineteen outings, Kape has been defeated just four times, losing in his initial tie with Asakura, and to former Octagon features Kyoji Horiguchi and Ulka Sasaki. Kape’s only other defeat came in French promotion Knock Out Championship, to Souk Khampasath back in 2014.