Manel Kape

Former flyweight title challenger Alex Perez will next clash with former Rizin champion Manel Kape at UFC on ESPN 43 this Saturday.

Perez, the Californian fighter first fought Deiveson Figueiredo for the flyweight belt in 2020. While he fell short it would not be the end of his troubles as he would be sidelined until mid-2022 due to injuries, weight issues, and a number of undisclosed reasons. He has had one fight since, losing to Alexandre Pantoja meaning a win over Kape is monumental in maintaining his position among the top flyweights.

Manel Kape was a massive signing for the UFC in 2021 after cementing himself as one of the best bantamweights in Japan under the Rizin banner. Although losing his debut to Pantoja the same man who last defeated Perez, and his following bout, he has since gone on a three-fight winstreak with two highlight KOs. Without a doubt, a win over Perez would be his victory to date inside the UFC.

Betting Odds

The former Rizin standout Kape will be the -175 favorite over Perez.

  • Manel Kape: -175
  • Alex Perez: +145

Fight Breakdown

Perez is an extremely aggressive fighter. Whether he comes out fast or tests the tides often depends on how much he respects the power of his opponents. Manel Kape has generally shown a patient relaxed approach which could allow Perez to take position as the agressor early, however Kape has also shown an ability to finish the fight in one explosive movement. Therefore it is also likely that we see Perez test the waters with low calf kicks early before finding his way into boxing range. Perez’s veriety is his greatest asset, mixing in knees down the middle to create entry into his boxing combinations. When he does throw he has had a tendancy in the past to commit his shots over his shoulder leaving room for opopnents to hit reactive takedowns as he presses forward.

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Manel Kape likely won’t be chasing too many takedowns as he is predominantly a striker. His speed and movement set him apart, as he is always fluid and light on his feet. He has great headmovement inside the pocket, and will adjust from a wider karate like stance when picking apart from the outside into a tight boxing stance on the inside. This is integral as he typically carries his hands low. Watch for his cross to lead hook, and to circle his opponent into his left hook as well as his jumping knee that comes with very little telegraph.

Although he wont be actively chasing takedowns, he will assume the back if he is given it, often if he is able to slip under his opopnents strikes so far that it’s available. The biggest knock on Kape is that is sometimes loses out on work rate, and while he will comfortable bob and weave between his oponents strikes, he wont take those oppertunities to counter or return to the offensive.

Prediction and Betting Guide

If Perez wants to win he has to pressure Kape. He is an aggressor with a high pace and Kape has been victim to simply not working enough in the octagon. However outside of that, Kape does have every tool to win if he can overcome that hurdle, which he has been doing in his last three fights. Perez also is coming off of two losses and roughly three years removed from winning, the threat of Kape’s explosive knockout ability could potentially sway some of that forward pressure and create enough hesistancy that Kape can work freely.

Pick: Kape to win (-175)

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