Kai Kara-France is set to fight in the United States for the first time as a pro at UFC 245 when he battles Brandon Moreno. Yet, it was originally supposed to be against Sergio Pettis, but the New Zealander doesn’t care about the opponent switch.
Instead, he knows it is a very important fight for the flyweight division, and with the uncertainty of Henry Cejudo in the division, Kara-France believes a win here could earn him a title shot.
“I was in Melbourne with Henry Cejudo and picking his brain. We have a good relationship given me being from ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ and him being my coach. He is pretty much telling me he wants to stay at bantamweight because he can’t keep cutting down to flyweight. So that opens the door to fight for a title fight. There is Alexandre Pantoja, Jussier Formiga, Figueiredo and Joseph Benavidez,” Kara-France said to MMA News. “A lot of them aren’t on a big winning streak and I know Benavidez is next in line. So we will see what happens. The UFC is coming back to my hometown in Auckland and I’d love to be a part of that. Whether it is fighting for a title or just another guy.”
In order to do that, Kai Kara-France will need to beat Moreno, which is easier said than done. But, the New Zealander is entering the fight with confidence and momentum behind him given the success of his gym, City Kickboxing has had.
So, Kara-France is ready to put on a show. He believes he will make UFC 245 about him as this will be a statement performance.
“It is going to be a good fight. I expect Brandon to come out swinging and bringing everything he has to the table. I’ve prepared myself for the hardest fight of my career so far. City kickboxing has been a great addition to get me ready for these occasions,” he said. “Fighting in Vegas, the fight capital of the world, being on such a star-studded card with three title fights, this is my breakout fight to make a statement and make new fans all around the world. I don’t take this lightly, and I’m going to be putting my best foot forward and having the best performance of my career here.
“It is going to be a fight not just to get the win. But, it is a big fight for the division because it is five against six. I get a win here, I’ll be on a nine-fight winning streak. I know there are not that many guys on that long of a winning streak in the division. Come 2020 I could be fighting for a title,” Kara-France added. “Obviously not looking past Brandon at all. But I am ambitious and know there are a lot of things in front of me that can happen so I need to execute this game plan and get it done.”
Meanwhile, also on the card with him is his teammate in Alexander Volkanovski who is taking on Max Holloway. Kai Kara-France is confident both get their hand raised. He knows how hard the two have worked in the gym.
“It is not about travel, but it is about the build-up to the fight. We are in camp in the same gym at City Kickboxing and we can push each other. I know if I can keep off Alex then I am doing something right. He is one of the best in the world,” Kara-France said. “Future featherweight champ. His top game is world-class, his striking is just as good. I have all the different looks at our gym so we can pick and choose. We like to keep the circle quite small and that makes us dangerous. We weren’t on anyone radar a few years ago but I think we are 10-0 in the UFC this year and about to get a second world title for the gym. Who knows next year we could have a few more.”
In the end, for Kai Kara-France the work is done and he is ready to get his hand raised again and be fighting for the flyweight title in 2020.