Mateus Nicolau returned to the Octagon after a long absence tonight at UFC Fight Night 187 and emerged with a narrow split decision victory over Manel Kape.
Nice inside leg kick to start from Nicolau. Kape taking the center of the Octagon though and he lands an outside leg kick.
Front kick to the body from Nicolau. Kape just misses on a right hook. Another hard low inside leg kick from Nicolau.
Body punch and then out of range again from Nicolau. Kape with a punch, but Nicolau ducks under and goes for a takedown. They go across the cage and then Nicolau adjusts nicely to finish the takedown.
Nicolau moves to half-guard and starts to go for a guillotine choke. He adjusts and goes all-in on the guillotine, but Kape gets his head out and the action goes back to the feet.
Kape tries to get his striking going, but jumps into a knee strike and gets taken straight back down again. Nicolau in Kape’s full guard and looks strong on top.
Nicolau lands ground and pound, but Kape is fishing for potential submission attempts here. Nicolau is wise to it though and steers clear of danger and continues to work some ground and pound as the round ends.
Body kick for Nicolau. Missed from from Kape. Great uppercut from him though and now Nicolau is on his bike and using lateral movement.
Desperate takedown attempt from Nicolau fails. Kape comes back swinging heavy laether. Kape with a solid connection and Nicolau stumbles back.
Nicolau lands, but Kape returns fire. Nicolau with a solid punch. Kape continuing to apply pressure though. Right hand from Nicolau and Kape lands a combo in return.
Kape moves in with a knee and then a punch behind it. Body punch from Nicolau. And again. Now an outside leg kick.
Nicolau drives into a takedown and goes right across the Octagon with it and gets him down for a split second, but then kape is straight back up.
Leg kick for Kape. Clipping right hooks there. Right hook for Nicolau. Combination of punches from Kape. Low kick from Nicolau, but falls afterwards, and then is told to get back up. Kape wants nothing to do with the ground game here.
Body punch and a left hook for Nicolau. Another body punch from him. Kape misses on a flying knee attempt. Right hand for Kape. He tries for a spinning kick to the body, but slips and falls as the round ends.
Quick right hand from Kape. Now an outside leg kick. Kick to the knee for him. Head movement from Nicolau and then lets his hands go.
Two straight punches land for Nicolau. Inside leg kick for Kape. Nicolau partially lands one in response. Straight left for Nicolau. Hard right hook for Nicolau.
Front kick to the body from Nicolau. He lands another. Outside leg kick glances from Kape. Good left hook for Nicolau. Left for Kape.
Left hook and body kick from Nicolau. Single leg attempt from Nicolau and gets him partially down, but Kape is able to stuff it nicely. Nicolau stays on his back and Kape stands over him landing a couple of kicks.
Nicolau stands. Punch lands to the chest from him. Now a body kick. left hook for Nicolau and then an inside leg kick that knocks Kape off-balance.
Kape rights himself and lands punches, but Nicolau lands with more offense of his own. Kick and a right hook from Kape.
Nicolau with a body punch. Left lands for Kape. Punch for Kape and a one-two in response from Nicolau. Inside leg kick from Nicolau, but Kape mostly got his leg away there.
Head kick attempt from kape is blocked. Right hook from Nicolau. Kape with an uppercut. Nicolau tries for a takedown, but it’s stuffed.
Kape pressing forward. He land a big knee to the body. Nicolau stumbles for a moment. Another big knee from Kape. Spinning backfist attempt from Nicolau. Kape stalking, but the seconds run down and we’re headed to the judges for a decision.
Close fight then that likely all came down to that last round where both men had their moments. The judges come to a conclusion and it’s a split decision that goes in Nicolau’s favor (29-28 x2, 28-29). Kape feels a bit hard-done-by after that.