FightPost MMA Fighter of the Week: Kai Kara-France
By Calum Christie
With plenty of MMA action over the weekend including 2 cards from Bellator and also a UFC double-header there was a lot of stand out performances to pick from.
From Ultimate Fighter finale winners to some incredible knockouts, our fighter of the week comes from the Australian card which took place on Saturday at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre where it was UFC Fight Night 142.
The talented switch stance striker Kai Kara-France (18-7 MMA) was the first fighter out on the FS1 prelims where he faced Elias Garcia (6-2 MMA, 0-2 UFC) who is notably the cousin of Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis (21-8). The flyweight fighter had a lot of pressure on his shoulders as he was making his octagon debut in front of what he regarded as his home fans and also with the uncertainty of the future of the flyweight division many of the athletes who belong to the division including Kara-France feel a degree of pressure to go out and make a statement and show the UFC and fans alike that the smaller fighters still have a lot to offer and this fight certainly stated a case that the division still has a home in the UFC.
The former TUF 24 contestant put on a show for the fans along with his dance partner Elias Garcia where the pair earned the $50,000 bonus for Fight of the Night.
The 25 year-old had to show a great chin early on when Garcia dropped Kai with an over hand left which dropped Kara-France onto the canvas but he was able to battle back with good ground control and reigned down ground and pound on his opponent to secure the round.
Elias Garcia was also able to execute a triangle and an arm bar at the start of the 2nd round on ‘Don’t blink’ who had to show good intelligence and experience to escape the submission attempts. The bout went on to showcase fast paced scrambles with accurate and heavy striking which had fans on the edge of their seat.
Kara-France had to face adversity at some points during the fight but in the end his high pressure striking overwhelmed Garcia where Kara-France landed nearly 10 times the total strikes of his counterpart Elias Garcia. Kai got the win by unanimous decision (30-25 x2, 30-26) which on any other day could have easily been a TKO victory with the volume of strikes he was landing but credit must be given to the toughness of his opponent.
In the post-fight press conference Kai expressed his eagerness to have a quick turnaround and get on the undercard of UFC 234 which also takes place in the land down under in Melbourne on Feb. 10 2019, along with fellow New Zealand native Israel Adesanya (15-0) who meets former middleweight champion Anderson Silva (34-8) in the co-main event.
Kai may already have a potential fight lined up as Wilson Reis (23-9 MMA, 7-5 UFC) who defeated Ben Nguyen (18-10) on the main card said during his post-fight press conference that he was impressed by Kai’s performance and would be interested in coming back in February to face him at UFC 234.
Honourable mention also goes to Tyson Fury in the boxing world, who after a battling many demons with his weight, alcoholism and drug problems stepped up and showed a classy boxing performance against America’s heavyweight golden boy and WBC champion Deontay Wilder.
The fight ended in a draw which sparked a lot of outrage by fans online who felt Fury was robbed by the judges.
But the bigger picture was certainly the performance and the heart that the ‘Gypsy King’ showed in his return to the boxing ring where he challenged himself at the highest level in terms of facing the best the division has to offer against the ‘Bronze Bomber’ where many pundits and fans could have forgiven him for taking on a few higher level tune-up fights.