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And it seems the UFC has confidence in the crowd-pleasing New Zealander, recently renewing his contract for another four fights. “Having job security means a lot,” notes Kai. “Especially when so many others are doing it tough. I’m very grateful to the UFC, and I’m blessed to be able to travel right now – the airports are deserted.”

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Kara-France also suffered a temporary setback earlier in his career. Appearing on the 24th season of The Ultimate Fighter in 2016, he recorded an impressive win and a decision loss, but wasn’t offered a contract at that time.

Recalls the flyweight, “I arrived home in New Zealand at City Kickboxing, where I asked Eugene [Bareman] how to get back into the UFC. He said, ‘Turn up to training and the rest will take care of itself.’ It took two years, but he was right. I made my UFC debut in Adelaide in 2018 and ended up getting Fight of the Night and a 50K bonus.”

View Kai Kara-France’s Athlete Profile

Training at what has come to be regarded as one of the world’s best MMA gyms, it’s no surprise to learn that Kara-France (21-9, 1 NC) feels well prepared for Bontorin (16-2, 1 NC).

“Yeah, we’ve got a few things up our sleeves,” he states. “We’ve done our homework. I’m expecting the best out of this guy. I know from past experience that Brazilians love to come forward. But I’ve fought more regularly than my opponent and I think it will show.”


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