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UFC Fight Night: When Manel Kape’s right knee catches you, you will do more than ’play possum’

Angola’s Manel Kape is ready for UFC Fight Night.

Angola’s Manel Kape is ready for UFC Fight Night.

Published Dec 4, 2021

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Cape Town - Angola’s Manel Kape says that his spectacular win over Jamaica’s Ode’ Omaani Osbourne at UFC 265 went exactly as planned.

Manel executed a vicious flying knee to the jaw of his opponent during their three-round catchweight bout at the Toyota Centre in Houston, Texas in August.

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Manel’s fight - which took place on the early prelim card of the Derrick Lewis vs Ciryl Gane pay-per-view event - certainly kicked off the big show in style.

“Everything I did in that fight, I trained and prepared,” says Manel who almost ‘played possum’ with his southpaw opponent for 90 percent of the first round, not engaging much before changing his stance with roughly 20 seconds to go.

“You can see the video (UFC president) Dana White posted in the warm-up before the fight. I was training for this knee shot. I had prepared for it during my fight camp, it was a good plan. I played on southpaw, stayed on southpaw for a few minutes and then when I changed to orthodox, I was like a ghost in front of him, and this is what happened when I changed on him, so boom!”

The moment he shifted, it exposed Ode’s left side making the Jamaican vulnerable despite him gaining the ascendancy in terms of activity for the majority of the first round. Manel took advantage of the surprise factor and quickly dispatched his opponent just moments before the bell.

The exciting conclusion to the fight was not enough for Manel to receive any fight bonus - it could have been linked to the fact that he missed the fly weight limit.

This weekend, however, at UFC Fight Night, Manel (16-6) - known for his strong stand-up - hopes to add to his highlight-reel and get that performance bonus when he takes on Kazakhstan’s Zhalgas Zhumagulov (14-5) on a card that is headlined by a thrilling bantamweight contenders’ bout that will see the USA’s No. 4 ranked Rob Font battle the Brazilian legend, former featherweight champion, and fifth ranked bantamweight, Jose Aldo.

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Zhalgas is notoriously known for his grappling and will be looking to register his second win in the UFC following a 1-2 record so far with his latest fight being a win over Jerome Rivera at UFC264 (guillotine choke in round one).

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Prior to his win over Osbourne (10-4 and 1 No Contest), Manel suffered two decision losses and will be excited about picking up the momentum again and continue building on that healthy win streak that consists of 15 finishes out of 16 wins.

“After winning titles in different promotions, my next goal is to be the UFC champion,” says Manel who was crowned KOC bantamweight king in France before winning the Rizin golden strap in the same division two years later in 2017.

“The ultimate goal for me as an athlete, as a fighter, is to wear the Ultimate Fighting Championship belt. I believe I will be there.” adds Manel who will be stepping into the trademark Octagon for the fourth time tomorrow night.

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You can catch UFC Fight Night: Font vs Aldo on SuperSport Action and Variety 3 which kicks off at 3am before the main event begins at 5am on Sunday morning.

THE MAIN EVENT

Rob Font (19-4, fighting out of Woburn, Mass) takes on Jose Aldo (30-7, fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil).

SECOND MAIN EVENT

No. 12 ranked lightweight contender Brad Riddell (10-1, fighting out of Auckland, New Zealand by way of Christchurch, New Zealand) square off with No. 14 Rafael Fiziev (10-1, fighting out of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan by the way of Phuket, Thailand).

FIGHT CARD

Fan favorite Clay Guida (36-18, fighting out of Johnsburg, Ill.) goes for another thrilling performance against submission ace Leonardo Santos (18-4-1, fighting out of Campos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) at lightweight

Light heavyweight contenders collide when No. 13 ranked Jimmy Crute (12-2, fighting out of Bendigo, Victoria, Australia) locks horns with No. 14 Jamahal Hill (8-1 1NC, fighting out of Grand Rapids, Mich.)

Maki Pitolo (13-8, fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev. by way of Nanakuli, Hawaii) meets Dusko Todorovic (10-2, fighting out of Belgrade, Serbia) in a clash of middleweight finishers

Manel Kape (16-6, fighting out of Phuket, Thailand by way of Porto, Portugal) aims for another highlight-reel finish when he takes on Zhalgas Zhumagulov (14-5, fighting out of Aktobe, Kazakhstan) at flyweight

Jake Matthews (17-5, fighting out of Epping, Victoria, Australia) hopes to stop the momentum of Jeremiah Wells (9-2-1, fighting out of Philadelphia, Penn.) in a welterweight bout

Cheyanne Vlismas (6-2, fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev.) faces Mallory Martin (7-4, fighting out of Denver, Colo.) at strawweight

Light heavyweight KO artists Alonzo Menifield (11-2, fighting out of Dallas, Texas) and William Knight (10-2, fighting out of East Hartford, Conn.) look to steal the show

Claudio Puelles (11-2, fighting out of Lima, Peru) plans to stay in the win column when he faces Chris Gruetzemacher (15-4, fighting out of New Bern, N.C.) at lightweight

Philipe Lins (14-5, Coconut Creek, Fla. by way of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil) moves down to light heavyweight to face unbeaten Azamat Murzakanov (10-0, fighting out of Fairfield, N.J. by way of Nalchik, Russia)

Alex Morono (20-7 1NC, fighting out of Houston, Texas) goes for his third consecutive victory when he takes on Mickey Gall (7-3, fighting out of Green Brook, N.J.) in a welterweight contest

Louis Smolka (17-7, fighting out of Kapolei, Hawaii) takes on Vince Morales (10-5, fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev. by way of Ontario, Ore.) in a bantamweight bout.

@juliankiewietz

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