What’s next for no. 2 ranked UFC flyweight contender Kai Kara-France?

City Kickboxing standout Kai Kara-France has really come into his over the last year or so, following some hiccups earlier on in his career.

Kara-France started out his mixed martial arts career back in 2010, securing a first-round knockout victory in his professional debut.

He wouldn’t return until just over a year later, where he faced WEC veteran Chad George. Though George isn’t known to most, he came into the bout with a record of 12-6, while Kara-France was just 1-0.

The lack of experience showed, as George KO’d him just two minutes into the opening round.

Another KO defeat would follow, this one against a 6-1 opponent in round three.

Kara-France returned later that year to win his next two fights, before starting out 2013 with a unanimous decision defeat to current UFC talent Danaa Batgerel. Next came a four-fight unbeaten streak (3-0, 1 NC), before losing his next three-straight, bringing his record to 7-6 (1 NC).

He was still fighting good competition too. The last two men to beat him, Gustavo Falciroli came in with a record of 13-4-2, and Mark Striegl came in with a record of 12-1. Striegl just came over to the UFC in 2020 with a record of 18-2.

However, following this three-fight skid, Kara-France picked up five-straight knockout victories, laying claim to the KOZ flyweight championship in the process.

Kara-France then became a castmate on The Ultimate Fighter 24, where he went 1-1, securing a vicious first-round KO victory, before losing a decision to Alexandre Pantoja.

To our surprise, he didn’t come over to the UFC immediately following the show.

Instead, he next made his Rizin debut, where he was defeated by Tatsumitsu Wada via unanimous decision.

The Kiwi then went on another five-fight win streak, which eventually granted him a shot in the UFC.

After winning his first three bouts with the promotion, he was defeated by future champion Brandon Moreno.

Kara-France then defeated Tyson Nam, before being submitted (guillotine choke) by Brandon Royval in an all-out war. Since then however, Kara-France picked up back-to-back knockout victories over Rogerio Bontorin and former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt.

These were his first finishes inside the octagon, and he followed his knockout over Garbrandt up with a unanimous decision over Askar Askarov this past Saturday at UFC Columbus.

Askarov was ranked at no. 2 coming in, while Kara-France sat at no. 6, and has since taken Askarov’s spot at no. 2.

After being absolutely mauled in the first round, Kara-France corrected his wrongs in rounds two and three, showing off some very impressive mid-fight adjustments. He came out with a kick-heavy gameplan in the first, and after landing a few leg kicks, he was taken down.

Then he decided to go for more of a boxing-centered attack and stuffed takedowns whilst out-striking Askarov for the remaining two rounds.

UFC flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo has since come out and expressed his interest in facing Kara-France in the first title defense of his second reign:

This would be a very interesting encounter. Though many believe Brandon Moreno should still be champion, as his trilogy with Deiveson Figueiredo was incredibly close, this is a brand-new match up.

There was talk of a fourth fight between Figueiredo and Moreno, but this may interrupt that. The champion clearly wants a new face now that Kara-France fought his way up to the top of the division.

Kara-France’s birthday was also on Saturday, he beat the no. 2 ranked contender on his birthday. He just turned 29 years old, meaning he should continue improving for the next three years or so.

Do you want to see Kai Kara-France vs Deiveson Figueiredo?

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