Kape out, Perez steps in vs. Nicolau on April 27

Matheus Nicolau will be looking to get back on track April 27 in the men’s flyweight main event of UFC Fight Night, but he will have to do it against a new opponent. The UFC announced Tuesday that Manel Kape has withdrawn from the fight and been replaced by onetime title challenger Alex Perez.

Nicolau (19-3-1) saw a six-fight winning streak end last April in a first-round KO loss to Brandon Royval. Nicolau, No. 8 in the ESPN men’s flyweight rankings, was to face Kape in January in a rematch of a 2021 bout won by Nicolau by split decision. But Kape badly missed weight at the weigh-in and the bout was canceled before being rescheduled for this month.

Instead, Nicolau will face Perez (24-8), who has lost three fights in a row. The skid began with a 2020 submission loss to then-champ Deiveson Figueiredo and continued with a tapout defeat in 2022 against Alexandre Pantoja, who is the 125-pound division’s current champ.

The April 27 main card at UFC Apex in Las Vegas will be on ESPN and ESPN+ at 7 p.m. ET, with prelims on ESPN2/ESPN+ at 4 p.m.

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