Heading into this weekend's UFC Fight Night 234 card, our Nicolau vs Kape prediction is that this flyweight bout will steal the show — and maybe even be the best fight of the entire weekend.
While these two flyweight warriors have faced each other in the octagon before, that initial fight was nearly three years ago — and both fighters have improved immensely since then. That being said, the Matheus Nicolau vs Manel Kape prediction we feel most comfortable making is this fight should be as tightly contested as that first fight was.
Yet, we have a feeling that the winner of this rematch won't be dependent on the judges' scorecards.
UFC Fight Night 234: Nicolau vs Kape Prediction
Matheus Nicolau Preview
Throughout his nine-fight UFC tenure, Matheus Nicolau (a Brazilian fighter with a 19-3-1 professional record that includes five knockout and five submission victories) has proven time and time again that he's one of the best 125 pounders in the world. Unfortunately for Nicolau, he came up short in his most recent fight against Brandon Royval back in April of last year, losing via first round knockout — which earned Royval a title shot against current the flyweight champion, Alexandre Pantoja.
Before that knockout loss, however, Nicolau was on a six fight winning streak that included an extremely impressive victory over Matt Schnell in December 2022. After that fight ended, Nicolau had an iconic post fight speech that earned him a bunch of fans.
While Matheus Nicolau is no slouch on the feet, there's no question that his biggest strength is jiu jitsu — and one Nicolau vs Kape prediction we have is that Nicolau will prove that his ground prowess is better than that of his opponent.
Considering their history, Nicolau will know better than anyone that he shouldn't stand and trade with Kape in the middle of the octagon; especially because Kape will likely be the more explosive, faster striker in there. Therefore, a wise game plan for Matheus Nicolau on Saturday would be to get Kape on the ground, take his back, and choke him out as soon as possible.
Manel Kape Preview
Manel “Starboy” Kape (a Portuguese fighter with a 19-6 professional record, which includes 11 knockout and five submission victories) has overcame a tough start to his UFC career to get to this rematch with Matheus Nicolau. In fact, Kape's UFC career started out with two losses; one of which came against Nicolau, way back in March 2021. For that reason alone, we expect Kape to start the fight on fire (metaphorically speaking) on Saturday.
Kape hasn't lost a fight since facing Nicolau, rattling off four straight victories since that time. Not only does it appear that Kape continues to improve after every fight, but his already extensive striking toolbox seems to get deeper and deeper each time he enters the octagon.
— UFC (@ufc) January 9, 2024
Although Kape and Nicolau have the same amount of submission victories on their respective records, Nicolau has proven himself to be the better grappler of the two. Yet, Kape is sure to have an advantage in the striking department.
Our Nicolau vs Kape prediction is that Kape will be the faster, more powerful fighter on the feet at UFC Fight Night 234; if, that is, Kape doesn't start too fast and tire himself out. And considering that Kape will be seeking revenge for that initial loss against Nicolau, we wouldn't be surprised to see him try to land a devastating first round knockout — and perhaps succeed in doing so.
Matheus Nicolau vs Manel Kape: Kape by KO Early
Our official Nicolau vs Kape prediction is that Manel Kape will win by knockout.
To take it one step further, we think Manel Kape has an excellent chance of knocking Matheus Nicolau out in the first round — which is available at +350 right now. Kape has proven multiple times that he is the world's most dangerous flyweight fighter within the fight's first five minutes. He seems to always manage to land something clean early — proven by his two first round finishes in the UFC.
That being said, Kape also always loses steam as the fight goes on. So if the bout does go on for longer than the first round, we think there's a chance Matheus Nicolaus will earn a third round victory by submission — which you can bet at +4000 right now.
Regardless of ends up getting their hand raised, we feel confident that this fight will not go to the distance, which you can grab at -105. With the winner of this bout possibly getting a title shot, these two warriors will do everything in their power to win in devastating fashion.
Which sets up the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 234 to be an absolute banger! Be sure to have your eyes glued to the TV once the first bell rings, because we think this fight might be ending early.