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Manel Kape out of UFC 252 after suffering ankle injury, eyes October for debut

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Manel Kape’s highly anticipated UFC debut will be put on hold.

Kape told MMA Fighting in an interview for this Thursday’s What the Heck that he suffered an ankle injury and will not compete at UFC 252 on Aug. 15. “Prodigio” was originally scheduled to face Rogerio Bontorin in his promotional debut, but Bontorin was forced to withdraw from the bout.

The former RIZIN FF bantamweight champion revealed that after Bontorin’s scratch, the UFC was working on potential matchups with Jussier Formiga and Alexandre Pantoja. Neither of the bouts came to fruition which left Kape without an opponent.

The 26-year-old stated that doctors have told him to cease training for another month and he will be reevaluated after that. When he is cleared, Kape is hoping to make his first walk to the octagon in October against “a top-five” flyweight.

After dropping three of four from December 2017 to December 2018, Kape has bounced back in a big way. The AKA Thailand standout picked up second-round finishes of Siichiro Ito, Takeya Mizugaki and, most recently, Kai Asakura to become the RIZIN 135-pound champion.

Check out the full conversation with Kape on Thursday morning, 10 a.m. ET on MMA Fighting’s What the Heck.