UFC 284: Kai Kara-France forced to withdraw from upcoming bout against Alex Perez

Kai Kara-France.
Kai Kara-France. Photo credit: Getty Images

Kiwi Kai Kara-France's flyweight title ambitions have suffered a setback, after being forced to withdraw due to injury from his upcoming bout against Alex Perez at UFC 284 in Perth in February.

'Don't Blink' had been scheduled to face Perez in what shaped as a No. 1 contender bout, with the winner likely to move near the front of the queue for the next shot at the flyweight championship.

At UFC 283 in January, champion Deiveson Figueiredo will fight Brandon Moreno for a fourth time with the 125lb strap at stake in his native Brazil.

"Unfortunately due to injury, I’ve had to pull out of my upcoming fight in Perth," Kara-France wrote on social media. "I'm gutted I won't be able to fight in front of everyone in [Australia].

"To everyone who supports me, I'm sorry. This has been frustrating but I know I'm making the right decision. Much respect [Alex Perez]."

Ranked No. 3 in the division, Kara-France was looking to bounce back from his gut-wrenching interim title defeat against Moreno in July, when he fell to a third-round technical knockout defeat.

The 29-year-old Aucklander had originally been scheduled to square off against Mexican-American Perez back in May 2020, before the pandemic struck and the event was wiped from the schedule.

UFC 284 will be the first event held in Australasia since the UFC Fight Night in Auckland in February 2020, when City Kickboxing teammate Dan Hooker stole the show with his main event win over Paul Felder at Spark Arena.

The event will be headlined by by pound-for pound king Alexander Volkanovski's attempt to become a dual division champion in a light heavyweight championship clash with newly crowned Islam Makhachev.

Kara-France's bout is the second high-profile fight to be pulled from the card in the past week. Former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker had been announced to take on Paulo Costa, only for the Brazilian to deny he'd ever agreed to accepting the bout.