UFC‘s flyweight division had a banger in the works for this weekend’s showdown between Kai Kara France and Amir Albazi. Kara France entered the main event after snapping his 3-fight win streak by losing his bid for the interim flyweight title. His opponent, ‘The Prince,’ came in with a perfect 4-0 record under the banner. In the co-main event, Alex Caceres collided with Daniel Pineda.
Despite a stoppage loss to UFC flyweight champion Brandon Moreno, ‘Don’t Blink’ came in with unshaken belief. It was his second loss to the same foe. However, Kara France presented the same invincible spirit tonight as he chased a trilogy fight against Moreno.
— UFC (@ufc) June 4, 2023
Amir is the newest storm in the division. The flyweight assembly line has remained stalled for years as Moreno and Deiveson Figueiredo volleyed the gold strap back and forth for 4 years in a row. Chomping at the bit for their shot at the title, most contenders were relieved to watch the saga come to an end. Albazi, a fairly new face in the division, is one of them.
Amir Albazi defeated Kai Kara France via a split decision
Round 1 began with the two feeling each other out for a good minute. Followed by this, Amir threw good right hands. Soon the 29-year-old ducked into his first takedown attempt of the night, however, Kai denied him. ‘Don’t Blink‘ scored with a chopping low kick. He went on to connect his first right hand of the night, backing Albazi off for a moment. Kai eventually found his range, but it was the last 60 seconds of the round. However, he did land the better shots on the up-and-comer.
The second round saw Albazi pressure and work to line up his right hand again. After having his head snap back with a stiff jab, the Kiwi responded with a low kick of his own. He went on to defend another takedown incoming from Amir. This didn’t stop Albazi as he walked Kai into a hard left kick and left hook. An overhand from the Iraqi caught Kai clean, wobbling the latter’s knees. The duo landed big in the closing moments of the round.
The first main event for New Zealand’s @KaiKaraFrance 🇳🇿
— UFC (@ufc) June 4, 2023
The kickboxing battle seemed to heat up as Kai began the 3rd round with a good low kick. Amir got in deep on another takedown, but Kai rejected his clinch throw. Following this, Kara France nearly gained the top position. However, a second effort landed Amir on top as he took Kai’s back. After locking in the body triangle, he nearly set up a rear naked choke. However, the 30-year-old Kiwi popped back up on his feet and reversed into top control.
It didn’t seem enough to win back the round, but Kai landed solid elbows from within the guard. As the two entered the championship rounds, Kai appeared to be more aggressive. Swinging his right hand, Kai attacked Amir’s lead leg. Albazi’s right hand settled him down temporarily, but Kara France continued working the jab. He also absorbed Amir’s big counter right with zero issues. After stuffing another takedown attempt, Kai caught a kick and scored a takedown of his own. However, he couldn’t hold the top position after a few seconds.
Adding some spice to this main event 🌶
— UFC (@ufc) June 4, 2023
Kai opened the final round with a barrage of punches, landing clean right hands in the process. One of them even wobbled Amir a bit, but the latter responded with a good takedown. The Kiwi seemed to keep the pressure on, firing great combinations and keeping Amir on the backfoot. The Iraqi landed a good right hand to prove he was still in the fight. However, volume-wise, he was far behind.
Kai finished the bout really strong, scoring several right-hand connections to put a punctuation mark on a stellar performance.
Kai vs Albazi: Punching Stats and Judges’ Scorecards
As per UFC stats, Kai Kara France landed 99 significant strikes out of his attempted 283. Whereas Albazi seemed to land 43 significant strikes out of his 145 attempts. In terms of takedowns, Kara France landed both of the takedowns that he’d attempted. Amir, on the other hand, could only score 1 takedown out of his attempted 9. In terms of submission attempts, ‘The Prince’ scored one compared to none for his opponent.
In terms of the judge’s scorecards, all three judges scored rounds 2 and 3 for Albazi. Judges Chris Lee and Mike Bell gave the first and final round to Kara France. Judge Sal D’Amato and Mike Bell scored the fourth round for Kara France. Albazi seemed to impress judge Sal D’Amato in the first round as he was the only one to score it 10-9 in the Iraq-based fighter’s favor.
Judges Chris Lee and Sal D’Amato scored the contest 48-47 for Albazi. Whereas Mike Bell scored the 5-round war 48-47 for Kai.
— UFC News (@UFCNews) June 4, 2023
While it was a close fight, fans have taken over social media to voice their disdain toward the scoring. While many believe it was a close fight, others seem to claim that it was a robbery and that Kai did enough to get the nod at the end. However, even with a loss like this, Kai’s stock is only going to go up from here.
As for Amir, he is now riding high on a 5-fight win streak. And with such a record in one of the promotion’s toughest divisions, Amir has now pushed his name closer to title contention. Who do you think won the main event battle tonight? Let us know in the comments.