Manel Kape vs. David Dvorak will be one of the two final flyweight UFC fights of 2022. Before Amir Albazi and Alessandro Costa duke it out on the main card, former Rizin champion Manel Kape and “the Undertaker” Dvorak will put on a show on the prelims. Kape who is coming off of back-to-back wins against Zhalgas Zhumagulov and Ode Osbourne, was sidelined for almost all of 2022 due to personal reasons and health issues on either side of his scheduled fights. However, not being deterred, Kape will attempt to add one more victory in 2022 this Saturday.
For Dvorak, it’s all about getting back on track. Coming off of a decision loss to Matteus Nicolau is his only fight within the calendar year. However prior to this Dvorak was on a 16-fight win streak spanning 2012 to 2021, including UFC victories over Jordan Espinosa among a couple of others. Coming off of his first loss in nearly a decade, fans are excited to see how Dvorak returns.
Manel Kape, the former Rizin champion, will come into the bout as the -250 favorite.
- Kape: -250
- Dvorak: +188
Kape is a fighter with excellent movement and athleticism, he fights with a low guard and a lot of footwork. When fights begin, he is usually keen to remain on the outside, depending on his head movement and footwork to evade while bursting in with heavy punches or jumping knees, but as time goes on he will shorten the gap. When he is truly comfortable his movement on the outside is largely for the purpose of finding his moment to slip into the pocket. As on the outside his, his head movement is key to setting up his counters and boxing.
Kape is also a decent grappler, and wrestling has been a focus since entering the UFC. During his time at Rizin his striking was enough to carry him further but in recent fights, we have seen his development on the mat. As with his striking, Kape’s movement is his base and you will see him slip strikes and swivel into a body lock from the back. If he can drag his opponent down from here, it’s ground and pound until a scramble is initiated.
Dvorak is a very solid textbook fighter. He keeps a crouched stance and high guard and offers little to no free openings for his opponents. He will circle and look to box mostly, kicking at the legs to slow them down, but ultimately do damage upstairs. His use of a lower crouched stance does cause him to move a bit slower than someone like Kape who flows on the balls of his feet, almost bouncing, but it does mean that when Dvorak lands he is planted. His opponents tend to find more success when they bait him into throwing so as to counter, rather than trying to split his guard when he is on balance. Opponents like Matteus Nicolau had particular success fainting angles and bursting in, or moving in to offer a target and then sliding back with the counter. Ultimately it has been up to his opponents to create openings if they want to catch him.
In terms of grappling, Dvorak is well-rounded, he has good scrambling and top control and his finishes in MMA equally span knockouts and submissions. Six of his eight submissions have all been by rear-naked choke. He will look to scramble to the back standing against the cage and drag his opponents down, but on top he is very good at cutting into half guard as well and using ground and pound to expose the back.
This is a good test for both men as they differ so much. I do believe that Kape’s use of angles and especially his explosion inwards can create those opportunities he needs. When Dvorak gets caught up chasing his opponents or trying to keep up with their hands in wild exchanges is when he leaves those holes, and Kape has shown that he can execute that one sniping shot to take advantage of that.
Prediction: Manel Kape to win
Braeden Arbour is an aspiring journalist out of Ontario, Canada. He is a recent graduate of Trent University, with a black belt in Karate and a blue belt in Judo. He has also been an avid fan of MMA for the last decade.