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.
â€˜Sapoâ€™ Natal Meets Debutant Kuiper at UFC 143 on Super Bowl Saturday