While both Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno successfully made weight ahead of their UFC 256 flyweight title fight, Manel Kape is going to sleep Friday night as if he is closing the show.
As MMA Fighting first reported this past week, the former RIZIN bantamweight champion was named the backup fighter for the title bout between Figueiredo and Moreno, which takes place Saturday night at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas.
Kape weighed in at 124.5 pounds at Friday’s weigh-ins. In prior years, having the two scheduled headliners successfully making weight would normally mean the door to compete has been slammed shut. However, in a chaotic 2020 that has seen many twists and turns, “Prodigio” is finding the balance of holding out hope he will make his promotional debut in a title fight, and remaining grateful for the opportunity regardless of what happens.
In an exclusive interview, Kape joined MMA Fighting’s Mike Heck to discuss how he became the backup fighter after Alexandre Pantoja was forced to withdraw from their scheduled fight on Dec. 19, having the easiest weight cut of his career, feeling confident it would create “a f*ckin massacre” if he ends up getting the last-minute call to compete against either Figueiredo or Moreno, if he’s been impressed with the champion, who he predicts leaves UFC 256 with the title should all go according to plan, Cody Garbrandt moving to flyweight, and more.