While it may only be interim gold on the line at UFC 277, Kai Kara-France says his rematch with Brandon Moreno feels like he’s preparing to fight the flyweight champion.
An interim flyweight strap will be awarded this weekend in the absence of reigning titleholder Deiveson Figueiredo, who has been ruled out until towards the end of the year through injury.
With an anticipated fourth fight between “Deus Da Guerra” and Moreno shelved for the time being, Kara-France was the man to capitalize.
While the Brazilian champ threatens to leave the flyweight division out of anger at the UFC’s decision, “Don’t Blink” will look to make the most of the situation when he shares the Octagon with Moreno for the second time at UFC 277 this weekend.
While the use of interim belts is often debated, Kara-France doesn’t see it as an asterisk on his first title fight in the UFC. In fact, the New Zealander feels as though he’s preparing to challenge the flyweight king.
During an interview with Christopher Reive for It’s Time For Sports, Kara-France backed the promotion’s decision to keep the division moving with the creation of a temporary piece of gold.
But even with the interim label attached, the #2-ranked contender suggested that, given the way that Moreno and Figueiredo’s trilogy bout played out earlier this year, it actually feels like he’s facing the champ.
“Figueiredo won’t be ready ’till the end of the year, so they’ve gotta move the division forward,” said Kara-France. “For me, he’s (Moreno) the champ anyway, I feel like he won that last fight.”
With that in mind, Kara-France has no issues competing for an interim title, especially against a “credible” fellow challenger like “The Assassin Baby.”
“I’m okay with (interim), it’s still for the title. For me, it’s the belt. Like I said, Brandon, I thought he won the last fight,” said Kara-France. “So, he’s definitely a credible challenger, and (has) been champion already before that.
“So yeah, this is a great fight because he’s got a lot of hype behind him, being a former champion, and seeing what he’s done (since) The Ultimate Fighter, and then his trilogy with Figueiredo… this is going to be one of the fights of the year,” predicted Kara-France.
Kara-France and Moreno previously went toe-to-toe in the Octagon back in 2015. In what was his second fight back in the promotion since returning following a prior release, the Mexican secured a unanimous decision victory, one that snapped Kara-France’s eight-fight win streak and perfect 3-0 UFC record.
With both men evolving since then, fans are sure to be in for a treat when the two elite flyweights run it back this Saturday in Dallas, especially with a unification clash with Figueiredo awaiting the victor.
Who do you think will leave UFC 277 with the interim title, Kai Kara-France or Brandon Moreno?