Only a week removed from UFC Adelaide and Kai Kara-France has already secured his next fight.
The Kiwi flyweight will take on Brazilian prospect Raulian Paiva at UFC 234 on February 10 in Melbourne. The news was first reported by Stuff.co.nz.
Paiva (18-1) will be making his UFC debut after winning a split decision over Allan Nascimento on the Brazilian instalment of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series in August.
Kara-France (18-7) will look to build on his Fight of the Night winning contest at UFC Adelaide with Elias Garcia. He credits the dominant victory to the valuable experience he gained before signing with the UFC.
“I was able to learn those hard lessons outside the UFC, so when I made my debut, I was more than ready, more experienced, more mature, and you could see that in my performance, and I just wanted it so much more than my opponent,” Kara-France told EMG.
“Don’t Blink” said he immediately made his intention to stay active clear to the UFC.
“I told the UFC straight away after my fight that I wanted a quick turnaround. Before the Adelaide fight I hadn’t fought for six months. That’s the longest layoff I’ve had in my whole career so I wanted to make sure my next fight was gonna be a quick turnaround, just because I don’t want that ring rust again.
“I want to keep that momentum going and join my teammate Israel [Adesanya] on one of the biggest cards of the year in Melbourne and put on a show for them as well.”
Kara-France looks forward to sharing the experience with Adesanya, who will be facing Anderson Silva in a middleweight title eliminator bout.
“I look up to Israel as a role model. He’s done a lot in this sport already and he’s only just warming up. Yeah, it’s gonna be an honour to share the process and fight week, and represent the same gym as each other in Melbourne. I can fight and then I can enjoy the show and support him like he did for Adelaide when he was watching me ringside,” he said of his City Kickboxing teammate.
Kara-France is confident in his abilities, but also sees the potential for another thrilling contest.
“[Paiva’s] got a few finishes there, but mostly decisions. He’s tall, he’s rangey and he likes to throw down, so I’m gonna expect a big war – another Fight of the Night candidate. I know he’s gonna come out hungry, it’s his debut, but I feel confident.
“What I’ve seen from him, I know he’s gonna be tough, but I feel like I’ve got the tools to put him away.”
With a busy stretch of fights to close out the year, City Kickboxing continues to stay in the headlines.
“Having all these fights and us staying busy is what’s the difference between us and other gyms. We don’t have a seasonal fight period, we just fight all year round. After fight camp’s finished, you come back to the gym, you help out for the next guy getting ready for their fight, so that’s the environment Eugene’s created, that we’re always there for each other.”
UFC 234 will take place at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne on February 10 and will be headlined by a middleweight championship bout between Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum.