Rafael Natal is headed home for his UFC 143 training. | Photo: Peter Lockley

Rafael “Sapo” Natal will return to the Octagon on Feb. 4 against undefeated judo practitioner Michael Kuiper at UFC 143.

Sherdog.com confirmed the planned matchup with Natal and another source close to the bout on Tuesday. Brazilian outlet SporTv first reported the booking.

“The contract is already here and I will sign it today to send it back to the UFC,” Natal revealed to Sherdog.com. “I know [Kuiper] is a judo specialist, but [also] had a lot of muay Thai fights and likes to keep the fight on his feet. I’m so comfortable with my exchanging skills, and I will be completely ready for him in two months when the fight comes up.”

UFC 143 is expected to be headlined by a welterweight title bout between longtime UFC champion Georges St. Pierre and former Strikeforce titlist Nick Diaz. The event takes place at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas and will air live on pay-per-view.

Perfect through 11 professional outings, Kuiper has finished 10 of his conquered foes by knockout or submission. The 22-year-old Dutchman has knocked out three consecutive opponents, most recently finishing Morris Cilfoni on May 7. After fighting seven times to begin his career in 2009, Kuiper’s pace has slowed considerably in the last two years, competing just four times total.

Natal recently earned his first Octagon victory by besting Paul Bradley at UFC 133 on Aug. 6. The win came after dropping his UFC debut to Rich Attonito and drawing with Jesse Bongfeldt in 2010.

After defeating Bradley, “Sapo” underwent surgery on his right hand, which was broken during the bout. Having previously broken his left hand, Natal now jovially says his fists are now double-reinforced.

“I have this platinum reinforcement on the both hands now. It’s gonna be an advantage when I hit my opponent,” he said, laughing. “I’m completely healthy, cleared by the doctors and already training hard for over a month. I’ve asked my manager to fight on Super Bowl weekend. This lineup rocks and I’m very happy to [be] part of that. I will be ready.”

Training at the Renzo Gracie Academy in New York, the Brazilian says he will make some changes to his regimen for this camp, including a trip back to Belo Horizonte, his birthplace.

“I’ll spend the year-end holidays with my family and will train there,” he explained. “It’s the first time I’ll train for a fight in Brazil, even [if] it will last only two weeks. I’ll have Romulo Barral training with me and it will be great to have different teammates, different experiences. Then I will get back [to the US] in the second half of January.”

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Joanna Jedrzejczyk Meets Karolina Kowalkiewicz at UFC 205 in Strawweight Defense

  • 28 days ago

A second title fight has been added to UFC 205, and it’s full of consonants. Strawweight queen Joanna Jedrzejczyk (12-0) will defend her belt for the fourth time when she meets Karolina Kowalkiewicz read news >>

'TUF 24' contestant Brandon Moreno in for Pettis, meets Louis Smolka at UFC Fight Night 96

  • 28 days ago

Louis Smolka has had a busy day. Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Richard Walsh meets Jonathan Meunier at UFC Fight Night 101 in Melbourne, Australia

  • 22 days ago

November’s UFC Fight Night 101 fight card has its latest fight for the “Land Down Under.” Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Erick Montano gets quick turnaround, meets Max Griffin at UFC Fight Night 98 in Mexico

  • 21 days ago

November’s UFC Fight Night 98 lineup has a new welterweight addition to the card.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Daniel Cormier vs. Anthony Johnson 2 set for UFC 206 in Toronto

  • 16 days ago

Cormier meets Johnson in a rematch from their first fight in 2015. read news >>

Cage Warriors champ Jack Marshman vacates belt, meets Magnus Cedenblad at UFC Fight Night 99

  • 15 days ago

The UFC has the first Welsh fighter in its history, and he’s set to make his promotional debut next month in Northern Ireland.Filed under: Cage Warriors, News, UFC read news >>

Australia's Kyle Noke meets Dominique Steele at UFC Fight Night 101 in Melbourne

  • 15 days ago

The UFC’s November return to Australia continues to grow with the addition of a welterweight fight to the lineup featuring a home-country fan favorite. Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Ex-champ Chuck O'Neil meets Wilfredo Santiago in CES MMA 39 headliner

  • 14 days ago

Next month’s CES MMA 39 event now has a headliner with a former champion.Filed under: AXS TV Fights, News read news >>

UFC Sacramento: Paige VanZant Meets Michelle Waterson in Main Event

  • 9 days ago

UFC Sacramento's main event will be a huge test for Paige VanZant in her second headliner, when she takes on former Invicta Champion Michelle Waterson.The bout was officially announced on UFC To read news >>

Ex-featherweight title challenger Daniel Weichel meets Paul Redmond at Bellator 169 in Dublin

  • 7 days ago

Bellator’s December debut in Ireland has another fight booked for the card, and it features a former title challenger against one of Dublin’s own. Filed under: Bellator, News read news >>