LAS VEGAS — Iraq’s Amir Albazi clinched a massive UFC flyweight victory when he narrowly defeated former title challenger Kai Kara-France via split decision at UFC Fight Night on Saturday.
Albazi (17-1) defeated Kara-France (24-11) in five rounds of competition at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas. Two judges gave the fight a 48-47 for Albazi, while a third gave the fight a 48-47 for Kara-France. It’s the biggest win of Albazi’s UFC career. He was 7th ahead of the 125lb fight while Kara-France was 3rd.
Immediately after the results were read, Albazi claimed the winner of a flyweight title fight between champion Brandon Moreno and Alexandre Pantoja on July 8th.
“There’s no name,” Albazi said of what he wants next. “The only thing I want is to get the title. Nothing else matters.” [UFC 294 in] Abu Dhabi on October 21st. I know they are going to Abu Dhabi. Whoever wins this [title fight on July 8]I want to be next.”
Originally from Iraq, Albazi now fights in Las Vegas. Since his UFC debut in 2020, he improved to 5-0. He’s known for his finishing skills on the ground, but Kara-France performed very well against takedowns, defending eight out of nine games of takedown attempts according to UFC stats.
In addition to defending the takedown, Kara-France of New Zealand also surpassed Albazi with a total of 122 shots to 65, although Albazi was more efficient with his performance. Neither flyweight ever harmed the other, but Albazi ended up at higher odds and when he converted a takedown in the third round he picked up some control time in the lead.
It was a very close fight that could have gone either way. Albazi’s win is a huge boost to his title ambitions. Kara-France won three in a row between 2021 and 2022 before falling in a preliminary title fight against Moreno last July. That was Kara-France’s last appearance before Saturday. This is the first time he has suffered consecutive losses since 2015.
“I know it was a close fight,” said Albazi. “It’s not how I planned the fight. It is like it is. I showed my courage and showed what I can bring with me. I can easily stand up to these guys.”
Albazi, 29, has placed in three of his five wins in the UFC. Moreno (21-6-2) will seek his first title defense against Pantoja at UFC 290 next month in Las Vegas. He won the undisputed championship by defeating Deveison Figueiredo at UFC 283 in January.