Kai Kara-France is used to the underdog role, but this one doesn’t sit well with him.
Kara-France (24-9 MMA, 7-2 UFC) rematches ex-champ Brandon Moreno (19-5-2 MMA, 7-2-2 UFC) in the July 30 co-main event of UFC 277, this time with the interim title on the line. Kara-France lost their first outing via unanimous decision in 2019, but has gone 4-1 since.
Kara-France was an underdog against ex-bantamweight champ Cody Garbrandt at UFC 269, but made quick work of him with a first-round knockout. He was also an underdog when he outlasted Askar Askarov during his most recent outing in March. As a +175 underdog against Moreno, he’s looking to beat the odds once again.
“Man, it’s kinda triggering,” Kara-France said Tuesday at a UFC news conference in Australia. “It brings me back to when I was in high school, getting bullied for my height. I guess getting overlooked, underestimated. But man, this kid’s got a lot of fight in him, and that’s what Moreno will be seeing.
“It’s a dog fight and I’ve just gotta make it that, and I don’t care. If you doubt me, it just fuels me. It fuels me even more. I was born to do this, so I can’t wait to get in there and just shut up all the doubters and spoil the party. So Moreno, don’t blink baby. ”
Now that the strict COVID-19 restrictions are lifted in New Zealand, Kara-France is feeding off his City Kickboxing gym’s success. His teammates Alexander Volkanovski and Israel Adesanya will be defending their titles in the same month, four weeks prior, at UFC 277.
“Look what we’ve been able to do without normal conditions,” Kara-France said. “So with the gym back to normal now, you know, pre-COVID, Alex has been training with us back in New Zealand at City Kickboxing, so it’s just perfect timing.
“All of us fighting for world titles, defending, me about to fight for an interim, it’s just great timing. The energy that we have at the gym at the moment at City Kickboxing, man, something special is happening there and there’s about to be a third world champion and about to defend another two. I can’t wait. This is perfect timing and yeah, it’s my time. ”