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

With Sullivan out, Randy Brown now meets Belal Muhammad at UFC 208 in Brooklyn

  • 19 days ago
  • 9 views

With George Sullivan off next week’s UFC 208 card in New York, Randy Brown now has a new opponent. Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

'UFC 208 Embedded,' No 2: Coffee talk with Holly Holm, Anderson Silva meets a U.S. border agent

  • 15 days ago
  • 41 views

The UFC returns to New York this week for UFC 208, and the organization has rolled out the “Embedded” treatment for a preview of Saturday’s pay-per-view event at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.Filed und read news >>

Former Bellator champ Will Brooks meets Charles Oliveira at UFC 210 in Buffalo

  • 11 days ago
  • 3 views

The UFC’s return to upstate New York in April has a new lightweight bout set for the lineup.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

After 2 odd UFC fights, Jarjis Danho meets Dmitry Poberezhets at UFC 211 in Dallas

  • 7 days ago
  • 3 views

May’s UFC 211 lineup has yet another heavyweight addition.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Carmouche out, Gina Mazany meets McMann at UFC Fight Night 105, Quinones-Volkanovski added

  • 20 days ago
  • 9 views

The lineup for the UFC’s return to Nova Scotia, Canada, later this month has taken on some late changes. Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Ex-UFC flyweight title challenger Kyoji Horiguchi meets Yuki Motoya in Rizin FF debut in April

  • a day ago
  • 2 views

It was announced earlier this week that former UFC flyweight title challenger Kyogi Horiguchi was heading to Rizin FF as a free agent. Now we know his first opponent.Filed under: News read news >>

Cindy Dandois signs with UFC, meets Alexis Davis at UFC Fight Night 108 in Nashville

  • a day ago
  • 59 views

The UFC has a new women’s bantamweight on its roster, and she’ll make her promotional debut in April. Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk meets Jessica Andrade at UFC 211 in Dallas

  • 6 hours ago
  • 2 views

UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzjeczyk will attempt her fifth consecutive title defense at UFC 211 when she puts her belt up for grabs, this time against Jessica Andrade.Filed under: Featured, N read news >>

With Todd Duffee out, Mark Godbeer meets newcomer Daniel Spitz at UFC 209

  • an hour ago
  • 1 views

With Todd Duffee forced out of a planned UFC appearance, Mark Godbeer now as a new foe.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

UFC 209 Card Finalized with Heavyweight Replacement and Two New Bouts | MMAWeekly.com

  • an hour ago
  • 14 views

The UFC 209 fight card was finalized on Thursday when the promotion confirmed one replacement fighter and added two new bouts to the event. read news >>