In his first UFC bout since 2018, Brazil’s Matheus Nicolau won a three-round split decision over Manel Kape in flyweight action.

Scores were 29-28 twice and 28-29 for Nicolau, now 16-3-1. Kape falls to 15-6.

Two minutes in, Nicolau got a takedown and quickly went to work, pushing Kape to the fence. As Kape rose, he got caught in a guillotine choke briefly, but he got his head out and was able to go back to his striking attack until another Nicolau takedown with under 90 seconds left.

Kape stunned Nicolau with an uppercut early in round two and he opened up with both hands as the Brazilian went on the defensive. After clearing his head, Nicolau fired back, but it was clear that Kape was a step ahead when it came to striking. 

Undeterred, Nicolau came out striking in round three and he was outworking Kape for a good stretch of the frame until Kape began finding his range again. A couple knees by Kape down the stretch jarred Nicolau, but it wasn’t enough to win him the round or the fight.

Official Result: Matheus Nicolau def. Manel Kape by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29