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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Matheus Nicolau targeted on title shot after UFC on ESPN 55 headliner

LAS VEGAS – Matheus Nicolau has his eyes set on difficult for the UFC flyweight title, and Manel Kape is not a cease on that journey.

Nicolau (19-4-1 MMA, 7-2 UFC) headlines UFC on ESPN 55 (ESPN, ESPN+) on the UFC Apex this Saturday in opposition to former title challenger Alex Perez. Will probably be Nicolau’s first combat in a 12 months, as a result of Kape being unable to make it to the cage for a pair of bookings. Fortunately, Perez (24-8 MMA, 6-4 UFC) stepped up as a substitute.

“Instantly after we acquired the information that Manel was out, we acquired annoyed,” Nicolau advised reporters at Wednesday’s media day. “I used to be fascinated about him since final 12 months, like we began preparation round November, December as a result of the combat was to start with of January.

“Proper within the second, you get annoyed, you get apprehensive like, ‘Oh, is my combat going to get postponed? Is my combat going to get canceled? Are they going to get one other opponent? Who’re they going to get to combat? Is it a ranked man or not?’ However on the identical day, we closed the combat in opposition to Alex, in order that was good, and straight away I modified my mentality. I used to be already targeted on Alex.”

Nicolau and Kape had been scheduled for a rematch in January, however “Starboy” missed weight by 3.5 kilos, scrapping the combat. Their first assembly in March 2021 resulted in a cut up choice, going Nicolau’s path. They had been set once more for April 27, however as a result of a rib damage, Kape was pressured to drag out earlier within the month.

“Good factor was like 4 weeks earlier than the combat, so we have now sufficient time to make all of the changes on the coaching, the technique half, the technical half,” Nicolau mentioned. “So, it was sufficient time to make all of the changes that we would have liked and to be able to get this victory.”

The winner of the UFC on ESPN 55 principal occasion will possible be the subsequent man up for a shot on the title Alexandre Pantoja at present holds. Steve Erceg can have his alternative to grow to be the brand new champion within the UFC 301 principal occasion in Brazil on Might 4.

Nicolau believes the timing of his principal occasion, and the title combat following the subsequent weekend will give the winner stable momentum to say No. 1 contender standing. If victorious, Nicolau will fortunately fly to Rio de Janeiro to be cageside for the principle occasion, leaving any considered Manel Kape within the rear view.

“Actually, after the combat, I might be trying up,” Nicolau mentioned. “That’s the path that I’m going, to the highest of the mountain. I don’t wish to take into consideration Manel anymore.”

For extra on the cardboard, go to MMA Junkie’s occasion hub for UFC on ESPN 55.

You’ll want to go to the MMA Junkie Instagram web page and YouTube channel to debate this and extra content material with followers of blended martial arts.

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