Positioned as the main event, Kape faced Japanese frontrunner Kai Asakura at the Saitama Super Arena just outside of Tokyo on Dec 31 in what was a rematch with the vacant bantamweight belt on the line.
Phuket based Kape, sporting his wrestling boots, did well to negate Asakura’s reach advantage in the first round before the southpaw stunned his opponent with a spinning left handed back that left the Japanese reeling.
Kape continued to mix up his attacking assault by using flying knees and spinning back firsts to set up combinations while his opponent struggled to land straight punches.
At the start of the second stanza, Kape landed a right hook punch that stunned Asakura and the Japanese fighter never recovered. Kape saw his chance and attacked relentlessly until the referee had no option but to step in and call off the contest, silencing the local crowd in the process.
The finish saw Kape avenge his 2018 defeat to Asakura and become only the second fighter to win the Rizin bantamweight belt. The victory progressed his record to 15-4.
Nicknamed “Prodigio” (translating to prodigy, wonder or marvel) 26-year-old Kape was born in Angola but moved to Portugal when he was four. He has been based at the famed AKA Thailand gym in Rawai for several years.
He dedicated this victory to his mother and shared insights into his winning mentality and mindset via his Facebook page:
“When it comes to the search for greatness there is no middle ground. Great achievements require great efforts, and obsessive focus. Hard work, sacrifice, resilience, dedication and most important of all persistence. Practicing ‘the law of minimum effort’ is to give yourself a ticket to mediocrity.”