Saturday, November 26, 2022

Askarov Admits He “Wasn’t Ready” For Kara-France Bout

Askar Askarov has admitted that he was not ready before fighting Kai Kara-France in his most recent bout.

“Bullet” debuted in the UFC with a split draw against current interim flyweight title holder Brandon Moreno in 2019. Askarov rebounded from that initial setback to earn decision victories over Alexandre Pantoja as well as former flyweight title challengers Tim Elliot and Joseph Benavidez.

Those victories set Askarov up for a bout with Kai Kara-France, who was himself riding high after a pair of first-round knockouts. The pair put on an entertaining scrap last March, but Kara-France’s ability to nullify much of the Russian’s grappling resulted in a unanimous decision victory for “Don’t Blink.”

Kara-France went on to fight Brandon Moreno for the UFC’s interim flyweight title at UFC 277, an opportunity that Askarov likely would have had himself if he had bested the New Zealander in their fight.

Speaking at the UFC Vegas 62 media day, “Bullet” explained that he wasn’t as prepared for his last fight as he would have liked.

Askarov came up short against Kara-France in the first loss of his career. (Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

“The fight was good last time, but I felt that I wasn’t ready like 100% because I wasn’t fighting for one year before the fight with Kai Kara-France,” Askarov said via a translator. “But this fight, you’re gonna see me different. So I’m gonna put my everything in the fight, and this time will be different.”

The “this time” fight Askarov was referring to was his scheduled UFC Vegas 62 bout against Brandon Royval. Unfortunately, due to weight-cutting issues, Askarov was pulled from the bout yesterday. There is currently no word on if the fight will be rescheduled.

UFC Vegas 62 is headlined by a matchup between top women’s flyweights Alexa Grasso and Viviane Araujo, while the co-main event features longtime UFC veteran Cub Swanson taking on Jonathan Martinez.

What’s your reaction to Askarov’s claim that he wasn’t operating at 100% when he fought Kara-France earlier this year?