The last time the UFC was in Auckland, New Zealand was in 2017. There, Kai Kara-France was sitting front row cheering on his teammate Dan Hooker. During that event, Kara-France told himself he would be the one fighting next time the promotion came to his home city. And on the prelims of UFC Auckland this Saturday, Kara-France will complete his goal when he battles Tyson Nam.
Yet, for a bit, many didn’t think it would happen after he fought just two months ago at UFC 245. There, he lost to Brandon Moreno. Since then, he quickly reflected on the fight and knows he made some mistakes.
“I took a lot of positives away from it. Leading up to it, it was a hard camp for me. I’m not here to make excuses but it was a tough fight. I think if we were to run it back, I’d change some things it would be a different outcome,” Kara-France said to BJPENN.com. “I can take a lot of positives away from that fight. We have been working on things but I’m one of the top-tier guys in this weight class. Dana was excited after my fight he told us we didn’t get Fight of the Night but he’d sort us out some extra money so that’s always a good thing.”
Although he was on the massive card of UFC 245, Kara-France already had a spot on the UFC Auckland card win or lose. But, he didn’t think about that until after the fight and went right back into camp.
“Mick Maynard, the matchmaker, said he was reserving me a spot before my last fight. Injured or not, he asked my coach if Kai wants this fight, and I was going to take it injured or not,” he explained. “I have to be a part of this card. I remember being in the front row when UFC was in Auckland in 2015, I saw the atmosphere and I visualized me fighting there.”
Although Tyson Nam is 0-1 in the UFC, Kara-France knows he is a tough challenger. The Hawaiian has knockout power and has massive upset wins over Eduardo Dantas and Ali Bagautinov.
So, the Kiwi knows this will be a tough test but is confident he will get his hand raised.
“He has some good power and good knockouts over good guys. I’m not taking this fight lightly. He’s tough, we come from the same kind of background, both from this side of the world,” he said. “He likes to throw down. I only see this fight coming down to both of us exchanging and seeing who comes out on top. I’m excited and can’t wait for him to feel my presence and feel the energy of the arena.”
In the end, Kai Kara-France not only believes he will get his hand raised but will also get his first UFC finish.
“I’ve been in camp for three months. After my last fight, I didn’t take any time off. This loss made me hungry and being surrounded by Alexander Volkanovski, Israel Adesanya, Dan Hooker,” he concluded. “I feel like if there is any place to get a finish this is the occasion I’ll be hunting that finish. I only see it going that way. I’m going to go out there and take it.”
Do you think Kai Kara-France will be able to finish Tyson Nam at UFC Auckland?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 2/18/2020.