UFC: Kai Kara-France feeling at home inside the Octagon

Kai Kara-France returns to the UFC cage in September.
Kai Kara-France returns to the UFC cage in September. Photo credit: Photosport

New Zealand's Kai Kara France will do business as usual, when he fights Mark de la Rosa inside the UFC Octagon in August.

The flyweight is undefeated as a UFC fighter, with two wins from two, after being signed by company president Dana White just over a year ago.

Kara-France's recruitment came off an impressive five-fight win streak, dating back to 2016, while City Kickboxing teammate Israel Adesanya also pressed White to sign the 26-year-old.

But France isn't daunted by the expectation or pressure that comes with being a UFC fighter - in fact, the 26-fight veteran has thrived.

"I knew it would always happen, but I feel all the highs and lows that I have had in my career really prepared me for the UFC," France told the Fight Club Podcast.

"I know New Zealanders expect big things from me, given the success of Israel [Adesanya] and Dan [Hooker], but I am just taking it as it comes.

"I don't overthink anything - I just put my head down and get to work, and before you know it, it's fight week, and you go out there and do what you have been doing in training."

That attitude came to the fore in Kara-France's last outing in Melbourne earlier this year, when he won a split-decision call over highly regarded Brazilian Raulian Paiva.

Paiva came into the fight riding a three-year, 12-fight win streak and thought of as a potential flyweight title challenger, if he could get past the Kiwi.

But Kara-France imposed his will on the fight, surviving one or two scary moments to score the win on two of the three judges' scorecards.

"It was a tough fight, but I thought I had done enough to get the win. It was always going to be close - he came in with an 18-1 record, so he's no novice. 

"Same with this fight - Mark will be a tough opponent. He's durable, he is a great grappler, so I'm sure my wrestling will be tested, but we are more than ready for that.

"I actually met him [de la Rosa] in Melbourne earlier this year, so I've had a chance to size him up (laughs).

"He's coming off a loss, so he'll be hungry to take that win off me, but you know, I've had that time off to nurse a few injuries and I'm feeling really excited."

For more from Kai Kara-France including his fight plans for the rest of the year, listen to the full episode here.

Newshub

Contact Newshub with your story tips:
news@newshub.co.nz