Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Flyweight scrappers Kai Kara-France and Brandon Moreno will rematch this weekend (Sat., July 30, 2022) at UFC 277 inside American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
Kara-France is riding a major hot streak, knocking off former champions and top contenders. Though he’s fought as a professional well over 30 times, Kara-France is still just 29 years of age, and the Kiwi really seems to be peaking right now. Moreno, meanwhile, finds himself in a strange place. He’s arguably gotten the better of his 1-1-1 trilogy with Deiveson Figueiredo, but he doesn’t currently have the title nor any clear-cut avenue towards a fourth fight.
In short, both men are highly deserving of this interim title booking. Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Record: 24-9 (1)
Key Victories: Askar Askarov (UFC on ESPN 33), Cody Garbrandt (UFC 269), Rogerio Bontorin (UFC 259), Raulian Paiva (UFC 234), Tyson Nam (UFC Fight Night 168)
Key Losses: Brandon Moreno (UFC 245), Brandon Royval (UFC 253)
Keys to Victory: Kara-France is an excellent representative of the City Kickboxing style. He’s damn difficult to take and hold down, and on the feet, Kara-France combines smart movement and active feints with an absolute bomb of a right hand.
In the first fight, Kara-France started out quite strong. He won the opening frame on the strength of his distance striking, but as the fight wore on, Moreno grew bolder. He started pushing the pace hard, getting in Kara-France, and ultimately taking control of the contest. By the end of the fight, Moreno was walking Kara-France down and sticking him with long punches.
Both men felt that momentum and confidence shift, and for Kara-France, the key to victory is to avoid a similar flow. To stop Moreno from walking him down, Kara-France has to earn his opponent’s respect. Ideally, he’ll stop the pressure by timing a big overhand, and if that punch happens to knock the former champion out, all the better!
If Kara-France can sting Moreno a few times and make him feel those punches, his kickboxing game will be far more fluid.
Key Wins: Deiveson Figueiredo (UFC 263), Jussier Formiga (UFC Fight Night 170), Dustin Ortiz (UFC Fight Night 108), Brandon Royval (UFC 255), Kai Kara-France (UFC 245)
Key Losses: Deiveson Figueiredo (UFC 270), Sergio Pettis (UFC Fight Night 114), Alexandre Pantoja (UFC Fight Night 129)
Keys to Victory: Moreno has developed from scrappy underdog to genuine badass. He’s extremely slick on the mat with his sudden takedowns and back takes, but much of his improvement has come on the feet. The Mexican fighter probably has the best jab at 125 pounds.
As mentioned, Moreno really ended up bullying Kara-France in the first fight. He was keeping his hands low and egging the Kiwi on, generally showing little fear for the offense coming back his way. Any time Kara-France threw something in his direction, Moreno would pull and fire back right away, which forced his opponent to shell up.
Moreno still has all the necessary attributes to fight a similar game plan. His length was a huge advantage in the first fight; when Kara-France came up short, Moreno landed. Establishing the jab will once again be very helpful in managing that extra bit of distance, and it’ll make his counter strikes easier to land.
Likely, Kara-France will come into this fight aiming to kick the calf, a strategy Figueiredo used to limit the jab and off-balance Moreno. So long as Moreno addresses that strike, however, he’s fine. He can do so by answering with his own calf kicks, countering immediately with punches, or by diving onto takedowns — anything to add a bit of hesitation before Kara-France chops into his ankle.
Pressure, already an important part of the first fight, will also help nullify Kara-France’s kicking game.
This may end up being a fight for the undisputed crown if “Daico” lives up to his Bantamweight promise.
Regardless of which belt is on the line here, it’s a great fight. Both of these Flyweights are in the primes of their career and have picked up major wins in the last couple years, which makes for a very different atmosphere compared to their first scrap as prospects. Their skill levels have risen considerably, and that makes for an even better match up. Hopefully, the victor here will throw down versus Figueiredo sooner than later, but if not, perhaps Alexandre Pantoja will finally get his shot.
Defeat looks different for either man. Kara-France would see the best win streak of his career snapped, but seeing as he’s still yet to fight Figueiredo, his path to another shot could be short. Defeat would leave Moreno winless in his last two, which hurts his position considerably even if both fights had a title on the line.
At UFC 277, Kai Kara-France and Brandon Moreno will battle for interim gold. Which man leaves the cage with a new belt?
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 277 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ABC/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
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