Fight Roundup: Manel Kape returns to fight David Dvorak at UFC Vegas 66, Ovince Saint Preux books third UFC 282 opponent

UFC Fight Night: Dvorak v Ronderos

Fights come together fast these days, and if you blink, you can easily miss them. Fight Roundup brings you the most recent matchups so you’re always up-to-date with the latest news.

All bouts featured have been officially announced or confirmed with MMA Fighting’s Guilherme Cruz, Mike Heck, and Damon Martin via sources with knowledge of the matchups.

UFC Fight Night: Dvorak v Ronderos

David Dvorak
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Manel Kape vs. David Dvorak

Manel Kape is sneaking in a fight just before the end of the year.

The flyweight competitor — currently No. 11 in the MMA Fighting Global Rankings — returns for the first time since last December when he fights David Dvorak (20-4) on Dec. 17 at a UFC Vegas 66. The bout was first reported by MMA Mania.

Kape (17-6) had two bouts scheduled in 2022, but neither came to fruition. This past April, Kape tested positive for traces of turinabol and the Nevada Athletic Commission pulled him from a fight with Sumudaerji, while a fight with Rogerio Bontorin at UFC 275 this past June was cancelled when Bontorin was hospitalized with weight cut issues. “Starboy” has won two straight fights by first-round knockout.

Dvorak, tied for No. 14 in the rankings, looks to avoid a losing streak as he comes off of his first UFC setback, a unanimous decision loss to Matheus Nicolau. Prior to that March defeat, Dvorak was 3-0 in the octagon with wins over Juancamilo Ronderos, Jordan Espinosa and Bruno “Bulldog” Silva.

UFC Fight Night: Yusuff v Caceres

Alex Caceres
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Alex Caceres vs. Julian Erosa

Featherweight veterans Alex Caceres and Julian Erosa have a booking for the UFC APEX.

Caceres (19-13, 1 NC) fights Erosa (28-9) at the Dec. 17 UFC Vegas 66 card, a bout that was first announced by Erosa’s management. This marks the 27th UFC appearance for Caceres.

“Bruce Leeroy” is 14-11 (1 NC) since making his octagon debut in 2011 coming out of The Ultimate Fighter 12. He is coming off of a unanimous decision loss to Sodiq Yusuff this past March, which snapped a five-fight win streak.

Erosa, who was originally signed off of TUF , at the beginning, has bounced between promotions and is now in his third UFC stint. Juicy J has now won his third consecutive fight and has won five of six in the past six bouts since his return to the promotion.

Brandon Royval out of Amir Albazi fight

The “Year of the Raw Dawg”, has abruptly ended.

Brandon Royval announced via Instagram that his upcoming Dec. 17 bout with Amir Albazi (15-1) is off due to a broken wrist.

” After a few days with the deformity and bruising, the pain didn’t go away, Royval informed me that doctors had determined that I had broken my wrist. Royval wrote, “Fortunately I didn’t have to go under the knife but it won’t take me long to recover enough so I can compete.” This will be the first time, despite numerous injuries, that I have ever been forced to withdraw from an MMA fight. It was also the first time my camp couldn’t handle it.

“I’m super sad but this won’t change that I’ll have the belt by the end of 2023.”

Royval — the No. 8 flyweight in the MMA Fighting Global Rankings — was looking to go 3-0 in 2022 after scoring wins over Matt Schnell and Rogerio Bontorin earlier this year. Notable finishes include those of Kai Kara-France (top-ranked flyweight) and Tim Elliott (top-ranked flyweight).

A replacement opponent has not been made official for Albazi, but ESPN reports that UFC newcomer and recent Contender Series hopeful Alessandro Costa (12-2) will step in for Royval.

UFC 274: Oliveira v Gaethje

Ovince Saint Preux
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Ovince Saint Preux vs. Antonio Trocoli

Ovince Saint Preux has a new opponent for UFC 282. Again.

After the withdrawals of Alexander Gustafsson and Philippe Lins, “OSP” is now set to face octagon newcomer Antonio Trocoli at the upcoming Dec. 10 pay-per-view at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The change was first reported by ESPN.

Saint Preux (26-16) has made one appearance in 2022 so far, competing at UFC 274 this past May where he scored a second victory over MMA legend Mauricio Rua. The 39-year-old veteran has bounced between light heavyweight and heavyweight in his past five fights with mixed results.

Trocoli (12-3, 1 NC) makes his UFC debut on a four-fight unbeaten streak. He was originally signed by the UFC in 2019 following a first-round submission of Kenneth Bergh on Dana White‘s Contender Series, but was released shortly after when he tested positive for nandrolone, an anabolic steroid. He was beaten by Bergh, but it was ruled a draw.

UFC Fight Night: Volkov v Rozenstruik Weigh-in

Joe Solecki
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Joe Solecki vs. Benoit Saint Denis

Joe Solecki and Benoit Saint Denis have a chance to get 2023 off on the right foot.

The surging lightweights are scheduled to meet at a UFC APEX event in Las Vegas on Feb. 18. Saint Denis’ management was first to announce the bout.

Solecki (12-3) defeated Alex da Silva by majority decision this past June to improve to 4-1 in the UFC. He’s made a habit of knocking off veterans as he also holds decision wins over Jim Miller and Matt Wiman.

After a disastrous UFC debut in a welterweight bout in October 2021, Saint Denis has returned to form since returning to the 155-pound division. The Frenchman has won two straight fights in the second round, defeating Gabriel Miranda by TKO and Niklas Stolze by submission.

Gadzhi Rabadanov
Lucas Noonan, Bellator MMA

Gadzhi Rabadanov vs. Koji Takeda

Another Bellator vs. RIZIN bout has been added on to the year-end promotions card.

RIZIN officials announced that Bellator contender Gadzhi Rabadanov (18-4-2) and RIZIN standout Koji Takeda (15-3) are set to fight in a lightweight bout on the Dec. 31 New Year’s Eve show at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

Rabadanov has made an immediate mark on Bellator’s lightweight division since joining the promotion in 2021, rattling off three straight victories including a recent decision win over Bobby King at Bellator 283 this past July. Overall, the Russian fighter has won 10 of his past 11 fights.

Takeda currently has a streak of two wins, his latest bout ending with an armbar victory over Zach Zane in the first round. He also holds an 8-0 record in Japan’s DEEP promotion.