Nicolau, Perez look for return to winning form

mma22 April 2024 09:40| © Backpage TXT
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Matheus Nicolau © Gallo Images

Matheus Nicolau and Alex Perez will both look for a return to winning form when they face off in the flyweight main event of a Fight Night at the APEX Facility in Las Vegas on the morning of Sunday 28 April 2024.

Nicolau (19-3-1) had been on a superb run of six straight wins but suffered a first-round KO defeat at the hands of Brandon Royval a year ago.

It was the Brazilian’s first loss since 2018, ending a successful streak which included the scalps of Manel Kape, Tim Elliott, Dvorak and Matthew Schnell to rise to fifth in the rankings.

Perez (24-8), meanwhile, has recorded three straight losses, going down to Deiveson Figueiredo in a flyweight championship fight in November 2020, followed by defeats to current division champion Alexandre Pantoja and Muhammad Mokaev in July 2022 and March of this year respectively.

Perez, ranked eighth in the division, was in action as recently as last month and steps in to replace Manel Kape, who pulled out of this main event fight due to injury.

Nicolau admits that he would have preferred a fight with an opponent higher up the rankings, but acknowledges that he is taking the best match on offer right now.

“He's [Perez] the only one that my manager came back to me and said is an opportunity to fight. We talked about [Muhammad] Mokaev but we have Ramadan now, so I doubt he would be able to get it,” said the Brazilian.

“Also, [Brandon] Royval, as I know, is injured after his fight against [Brandan] Moreno. All of the guys on top of me in the rankings, they are all busy or injured.

“Moreno said he needs a little retirement, little vacation. Kai Kara [Kara-France], I think, is still injured, and [Amir] Albazi is also still injured. So, Perez was the fight that made sense, they offered to us and right away we accepted.”

The rest of the main card features a light heavyweight bout between Ryan Spann and Bogdan Guskov; Brazilian flyweights Ariane Lipski and Karine Silva will go toe-to-toe; Austen Lane faces Jhonata Diniz in a heavyweight clash; and the welterweight opener is between Tim Means and Uros Medic.

Nicolau v Perez – Main card

- Main event: Flyweight: Matheus Nicolau v Alex Perez

- Light heavyweight: Ryan Spann v Bogdan Guskov

- Women’s flyweight: Ariane Lipski v Karine Silva

- Heavyweight: Austen Lane v Jhonata Diniz

- Welterweight: Tim Means v Uros Medic