Best UFC Vegas 84 Co-Main Event Bets: Matheus Nicolau vs. Manel Kape 2 Picks

  • What: UFC Vegas 84 Co-Main Event
  • Who: Matheus Nicolau vs. Manel Kape II
  • Date:Β Saturday, January 13, 2024
  • Location: UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV
  • Time:Β Prelims (4:00 p.m. ET), Main Card (7:00 p.m. ET)
  • How to Watch:Β ESPN+

TheΒ first UFC card of 2024Β occurs on January 13. That event,Β UFC Vegas 84, takes place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The main event is a light heavyweight scrap between Magomed AnkalaevΒ andΒ Johnny Walker. Before that scrap, an important flyweight contest occurs, as Matheus Nicolau meets Manel Kape in the evening’s co-main event. Here is some information on Nicolau and Kape before we discuss the betting breakdown for UFC Vegas 84.

Matheus Nicolau (19-3-1) saw his six-fight winning streak end when recent UFC flyweight title challenger Brandon Royval knocked him out in April 2023. Nicolau is currently No. 5 in the official UFC 125-pound rankings. The 30-year-old is 4-1 in his second stint in the UFC and 7-2 overall with the promotion.

Manel Kape (19-6) is riding a four-fight winning streak. Manel Kape (19-6) is riding a four-fight winning streak. The former Rizin bantamweight champion began his UFC career with two decision losses but has since been unbeaten with the promotion. The 30-year-old is No. 6 in the division and coming off a decision win over Felipe dos Santos at UFC 293 in September.

These two faced each other in March 2021, and Nicolau won that contest by split decision. That loss was the last time Kape dropped a UFC fight.

Before we look at the best bets for the Nicolau vs. Kape rematch, which serves as the UFC Vegas 84 co-main event,Β check out theΒ best UFC betting sites and where you can find our betting picks for UFC 297’s main event.

UFC Vegas 84 co-main event: Matheus Nicolau vs. Manel Kape betting picks

FightersBetOnline ReviewBovadaBetUS ReviewBetNow Review
Matheus Nicolau+205+200+200+190
Manel Kape-240-250-240-235

UFC Vegas 84 co-main event: Matheus Nicolau vs. Manel Kape betting breakdown

When these two first faced off in 2021, Manel Kape was the -125 betting favorite, while Matheus Nicolau was a +105 betting underdog. Kape is a much more substantial favorite heading into the 2024 rematch.

Kape lacked a sense of urgency in his early UFC fights, almost as if he thought his ability would be enough to sway the judges in his direction. He has shed that approach as he realized that UFC talent is more formidable than he faced outside the promotion.

Kape is a threat to any UFC flyweight when he is aggressive and controlled. He is also good at stringing together combinations, thanks to his superior hand speed and forcing his opponent to fight off his back foot.

Nicolau is the better grappler of the two. He is smart and effective on the mat, and his technical skills on the ground allow him to find openings where he can go for submissions. Nicolau doesn’t force things on the mat, but he is excellent at capitalizing on openings.

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UFC Vegas 84 co-main event: Matheus Nicolau vs. Manel Kape statistical breakdown

The physical difference between these two fighters is not small. Nicolau is one inch taller than Kape, but Kape has a two-inch reach advantage. As for their fighting stances, Nicolau fights orthodox, while Kape is a southpaw.

Kape is a much more active striker. He lands 5.12 significant strikes per minute vs. Nicolau’s 3.66 blows per 60 seconds. Kape has a slight advantage in striking accuracy, landing 54 percent of his significant strikes, as compared to his opponent’s 53 percent landing rate. Kape gets tagged more than Nicolau, absorbing 4.51 significant strikes per minute, while Nicolau absorbs 3.13 strikes in that same time.

When it comes to grappling, the advantages all go to Nicolau, who is more effective in landing takedowns (1.48 per 15 minutes vs. 0.65), takedown accuracy (45 percent vs. 37 percent), and takedown defense (93 percent vs. 77 percent).

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Best Bets: UFC Vegas 84 co-main event: Matheus Nicolau vs. Manel Kape

This is an interesting betting line, and Kape could be overvalued, especially if Nicolau employs a wrestling-focused game plan for this fight. In their first meeting, Nicolau’s takedowns and ground control in the first round were the difference in that stanza. The striking of Kape carried him in the second round. This fight comes down to who can employ their game plan and make it work throughout the contest.

Kape has shed a lot of the tendencies that cost him his first two UFC fights. He no longer thinks he deserves to win just by showing up. He knows UFC competition is more challenging than he faced outside the promotion and that he can no longer coast, even for a round. The betting pick is Kape to use his striking to get the win, but there is value in betting Nicolau to get the upset victory with his wrestling skills.

Best UFC Vegas 84 Co-Main Event Betting Pick: Manel Kape to beat Matheus Nicolau by decision.

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Trent Reinsmith

Trent is a professional sports journalist specializing in UFC, MMA, and esports coverage. His work has been featured in prestigious publications such as USA Today Sports, Vice, Bloody Elbow, Fight! Magazine, UFC 360, and Narratively. Trent's connection to MMA dates back to the early days when he and his friends pooled their resources to purchase the pay-per-view broadcast of UFC 1. He also has extensive experience in esports, particularly League of Legends and Counter Strike, dating back to the game's launch.