Kai Kara France outperformed the betting odds against Askar Askarov on Saturday with an upset victory at UFC on ESPN 33. Kara-France (24-9 MMA, 7-2 UFC) ended the undefeated run of Askarov (14-1-1 MMA, 3-1-1 UFC) with a gutsy unanimous decision win in the high-stakes flyweight matchup.
After a rough first round, Kara-France came on strong in the second and third to win a 29-28 decision on all three scorecards. Afterward, he called for a title shot against the presumed upcoming fourth championship meeting between Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno. “I know Brandon Moreno and Figueiredo are fighting very soon,” Kara-France said. “I want the next title shot.”
Kai Kara France gets the major upset after beating #2 ranked flyweight contender
The 125-pound bout was part of the UFC on ESPN 33 main card at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. It was a tentative start to the fight, but once the pair came together, the action picked up in a big way. Askarov chased his first takedown less than two minutes in and Kara-France showed some initial resistance. Askarov kept on him and got the fight down, though, which allowed him to take the back and threaten with the submissions. Kai Kara France was at serious threat of being finished, but he defended the choke attempts until the end of the round.
Kai Kara France opened the second round with his best moment of the fight to that point. He connected with an overhand right that caught Askarov’s attention, but it only prompted the Russian to land a takedown Kara-France got back to his feet and tried to land a knockout blow, but Askarov was wise defensively. That’s until Kara-France found his range and started connecting. He wobbled Askarov multiple times as he threw caution to the wind and pressed forward. He couldn’t drop Askarov, but his pressure changed the momentum of the fight.
The third round began with Kara-France showing confidence. Askarov hit him with a low kick to halt the action, though, causing a break. The fight continued and Askarov waited for his moment to shoot in and get a body lock against the fence. He worked his clinch positions and tried to get the fight down to the ground, but Kara-France stayed evasive and got it back into a striking matchup. Both men landed some solid punches on each other down the stretch, but nothing clean enough to threaten a stoppage as it was narrowly contested to the end.
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