‘I need to be subsequent’: Albazi wins, seeks title combat

  • Brett Okamoto, ESPN Workers AuthorJun 4, 2023, 12:54 AM ET



    • MMA columnist for ESPN.com
    • Analyst for “MMA Reside”
    • Coated MMA for Las Vegas Solar

LAS VEGAS — Iraq’s Amir Albazi picked up a large win within the UFC’s flyweight division, as he narrowly edged former title challenger Kai Kara-France by way of cut up choice at UFC Combat Night time on Saturday.

Albazi (17-1) defeated Kara-France (24-11) over the course of 5 aggressive rounds contained in the UFC’s Apex facility in Las Vegas. Two judges scored the bout for Albazi 48-47, whereas a 3rd noticed it 48-47 for Kara-France. It’s the most important win of Albazi’s UFC profession. He was ranked No. 7 going into the 125-pound bout, whereas Kara-France was ranked No. 3.

Instantly after outcomes had been learn, Albazi known as for the winner of a flyweight title combat between champion Brandon Moreno and Alexandre Pantoja on July 8.

“There is no such thing as a identify,” Albazi mentioned on what he needs subsequent. “The one factor I would like is to get the title. That’s all that issues. [UFC 294 in] Abu Dhabi on Oct. 21. I do know they’re going to Abu Dhabi. Whoever wins that [title fight on July 8], I need to be subsequent.”

Initially from Iraq now preventing out of Las Vegas, Albazi improved to 5-0 since debuting with the UFC in 2020. He’s identified for his ending skill on the bottom, however Kara-France did very effectively towards the takedown, defending eight of 9 takedown makes an attempt in response to UFC Stats.

Along with defending the takedown, Kara-France, of New Zealand, outlanded Albazi in complete strikes 122 to 65, though Albazi was extra environment friendly along with his output. Neither flyweight ever damage the opposite, however Albazi landed at the next proportion and when he did convert a takedown within the third spherical, he gathered some management time in high place.

It was a really shut combat that would have gone both means. Albazi successful is a large enhance to his title aspirations. Kara-France gained three in a row between 2021 and 2022 earlier than developing brief to Moreno in an interim title combat final July. That was Kara-France’s final look previous to Saturday. That is the primary time he has suffered consecutive losses since 2015.

“I do know it was an in depth combat,” Albazi mentioned. “It’s not how I deliberate the combat to go. It’s what it’s. I confirmed my guts and what I can convey to the desk. I can stand with these guys no drawback.”

Albazi, 29, has recorded finishes in three of his 5 wins within the UFC. Moreno (21-6-2) shall be in search of his first title protection towards Pantoja at UFC 290 subsequent month in Las Vegas. He gained the undisputed championship by defeating Deveison Figueiredo at UFC 283 in January.