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UFC Vegas 74 start time, who is fighting tonight on ESPN+ | Kara-France vs. Albazi

After a weekend off, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is back to stage UFC Vegas 74 later TONIGHT (Sat., June 3, 2023) inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, featuring a flyweight fight between Kai Kara-France and Amir Albazi. In the co-main event, Alex Caceres will face off against Daniel Pineda in a featherweight affair.

What’s Hot:

After being forced out of a fight against Alex Perez with a knee injury earlier this year, Kai Kara-France returns four months removed from his withdrawal to headline his first-ever UFC event. In his five years with the promotion, France has racked up a 7-3 record, which has helped him move up to the No. 3 spot. France came up short in his bid to win the interim flyweight title against Brandon Moreno at UFC 277 nearly a year ago (see it here), so he is looking to get back on track and into the title picture.

As for his opponent, Amir Albazi, he has quietly won his first four fights inside the Octagon since making his UFC debut, three of them via stoppage. He’s won 16 of his 17 pro fights. Albazi has proven to be quite the buzzsaw with 14 of his wins not needing ingjudges. Albazi’s bread-and-butter is the submission game, forcing nine of his foes to scream uncle. And while he does have five knockouts to his credit, it’s the ground game that France has to worry about. It’s an interesting clash of styles because France prefers to stand-and-bang, so it will all come down to who can implement their gameplan first.

All of that said, the winner could make a huge case for a shot at the title against the winner of the upcoming championship fight between Moreno and Alexandre Pantoja, which is set to go down at the upcoming UFC 290 fight card on July 8, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

What’s Not:

Andrei Arlovski is 4-1 in his last five fights inside the Octagon, yet matchmakers still deemed it necessary to put the former heavyweight champion and longtime veteran on the undercard against Don’Tale Mayes. Sure, he is coming off a loss to Marcos Rogerio de Lima, but he's done pretty well for himself over the last two years to not be relegated to the “prelims.” I can think of at least two fights on the main card that this fight could replace.

LIVE! Stream UFC Vegas 79 On ESPN+

HIGH STAKES LIGHTWEIGHT MATCHUP! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to UFC APEX on Sat., Sept. 23, 2023, with a high stakes 155-pound showdown as No. 6-ranked contender, Rafael Fiziev, takes on No. 7-seeded Mateusz Gamrot. In UFC Vegas 79’s co-main event, No. 12-ranked Featherweight contender, Bryce Mitchell, steps back into the Octagon against No. 13-seeded Dan Ige.

Don’t miss a single second of face-punching action!

Original Card vs. Actual Card:

Guram Kutateladze was set to face off against Jamie Mullarkey before he was pulled from the fight for undisclosed reasons. As a result, Muhammad Naimov has agreed to step in on short notice to take the fight in what will be his UFC debut. Ľudovít Klein was forced to bow out of his scheduled fight against Jim Miller as a result of an illness and was replaced by Jared Gordon. In turn, Gordon was pulled from that fight after he was not medically cleared to compete. Stepping in to take his spot is newcomer, Jesse Butler.


Middleweights Jack Hermansson and Brendan Allen were originally set to headline the event, but an undisclosed injury to Hermansson axed the bout and allowed France and Albazi to step in to headline.

New Blood:

As mentioned earlier, Muhammad Naimov will make his UFC debut on short notice to face Jamie Mullarkey. Naimov is currently riding a three-fight win streak, which was preceded by two straight defeats. Overall, "Hillman" is 8-2 as a pro. As for Mullarkey, he is on a two-fight win streak and is 4-1 in his last five fights inside the Octagon.

Also making his UFC debut will be Muin Gafurov, the former Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) bantamweight champion who is currently on a two-fight win streak. In 2021, Gafurov came up short via split-decision on the Contender Series but now finds himself with a chance to make an immediate impression in the big show. He will take on John Castaneda, who is coming off a tough TKO loss to Daniel Santos in Oct. 2022.

Jesse Butler got a last-minute opportunity to make his UFC debut on a few days notice after stepping in for Jared Gordon. Butler is a longtime Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) veteran and is currently riding a five-fight win streak with one knockout and two submissions along the way. Facing someone like Jim Miller isn’t ideal, but he is coming off a loss so he will either be wavering or that much hungrier for a win.

Former Invicta FC women’s flyweight champion, Ketlen Souza, will make her UFC debut as she puts her five-fight win streak on the line against Karine Silva, who made her own successful debut with the promotion by choking out Poliana Botelho with five seconds remaining in the first round. Silva has won six straight, so this is an appealing matchup between two surging prospects.

How The ‘Prelims’ Look:

Philipe Lins and Maxim Grishin will open up the event in a light heavyweight fight. Lins has turned things around after suffering two straight defeats to earn a pair of hard-fought victories over Marcin Prachnio and Ovince Saint Preux. As for Grishin, he is an even 2-2 so far in his young UFC career, but if he can get an impressive win over Lins he can get some real momentum going.

In the bantamweight division, Da’Mon Blackshear will tango with Luan Lacerda. Blackshear is coming off a tough loss to Farid Basharat. That said, he is 4-1-1 in his last six fights so “Da Monster” has been doing very well for himself. His wins have come outside of the Octagon because he is 0-1-1 so far inside the eight-sided cage. As for Lacerda, he didn’t do too well in his UFC debut, losing to Cody Stamann earlier this year. He will look to turn his fortunes around in “Sin City.”

In another bout at 135 pounds, Johnny Munoz is out to win his second in a row by taking out Daniel Santos, who is also eying his second straight victory after defeating John Castaneda via knockout six months ago. Both men need to gain a bit more consistency if they want to ever get close to the Top 15.

In the welterweight division, Abubakar Nurmagomedov eyes his first-three fight win streak in six years when he squares up with Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos, who will return after a 20-month hiatus. Dos Santos defeated Benoit St. Denis in Oct. 2021, but only has two victories since 2020, so he needs to find more consistency in fighting and winning if he wants to gain some traction.

Who Needs A Win Badly:

Jinh Yu Frey’s run inside the Octagon has been anything but stellar, racking up a rather tepid 2-4 mark. She started off her UFC career with two straight losses, but managed to get back on track to win two in a row. Since then, she has dropped two straight (again), putting her in danger of losing her third in a row, which would put her roster spot in peril. She has a tough challenge in Elise Reed, who is coming off a submission loss to Loma Lookboonmee.

Interest Level: 5/10

Sorry, but this card simply doesn’t do much for me. It’s probably one of the worst cards the promotion has put on this year. But, they all can’t be bangers, right?

The co-main event will feature a featherweight bout between Alex Caceres and Daniel Pineda. After a sluggish start to his UFC career, Caceres has seemingly found his groove after winning six of his last seven fights. “Bruce Leeroy” is coming off a knockout win over Julian Erosa, while Pineda is coming off his own stoppage victory over Tucker Lutz, who he submitted just three months ago.

In men’s 125-pound action, Tim Elliott goes for his fourth win in his last five fights when he battles Victor Altamirano, who has won two in a row after throwing up a dud in his UFC debut against Carlos Hernandez in Feb. 2022. Elliott has been going through a lot of personal issues over the last few months after going public on a not-so nice divorce from his ex-wife, Gina Mazany, so a win would go a long way in shedding some light over his stormy clouds.

Full UFC Vegas 74 Fight Card:

UFC Vegas 74 Main Event On ESPN/ESPN+:

125 lbs.: Kai Kara-France vs. Amir Albazi

UFC Vegas 74 Main Card on ESPN/ESPN+ (9 p.m. ET):

145 lbs.: Alex Caceres vs. Daniel Pineda
155 lbs.: Jim Miller vs. Jesse Butler (not Jared Gordon)
125 lbs.: Tim Elliott vs. Victor Altamirano
125 lbs.: Karine Silva vs. Ketlen Souza
170 lbs.: Elizeu Zaleski vs. Abubakar Nurmagomedov

UFC Vegas 74 ‘Prelims’ Under Card on ESPN/ESPN+ (6 p.m. ET):

135 lbs.: Johnny Munoz vs. Daniel Santos
135 lbs.: John Castaneda vs. Muin Gafurov
155 lbs.: Jamie Mullarkey vs. Muhammad Naimov (not Guram Kutateladze)
265 lbs.: Andrei Arlovski vs. Don’Tale Mayes
115 lbs.: Jinh Yu Frey vs. Elise Reed
135 lbs.: Da’Mon Blackshear vs. Luan Lacerda
205 lbs.: Maxim Grishin vs. Philipe Lins

*Fight card, bout order and number of fights remain subject to change.*

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 74 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (also on ESPN+) at 9 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 74: “Kara-France vs. Albazi” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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