'Don't Blink'! Kara-France spoils Garbrandt's flyweight debut at UFC 269

By Mana Wikaire-Lewis

"He's called 'No Love' but he's going to have no chin after this."

Kai Kara-France said this back in August on Te Ao Toa, and he called it: the #6 ranked UFC flyweight knocked out opponent Cody Garbrandt moments ago at UFC 269.

Garbrandt made the move down to flyweight from bantamweight, but Kara-France welcomed him to the division via a TKO victory in the first round. 

Kai gets the W! Source: Facebook/UFC

With the classic Māori anthem 'Poi E' by Patea Māori Club being played for his walkout song in the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Kara-France marched down to the octagon with fire in his eyes, with fellow City Kickboxing teammate and lightweight Dan Hooker following behind as cornerman.

Though only a few strikes were thrown at first when the bell first rang, the Ngāti Kahungunu fighter knocked down Grandbrandt quite early. It was only moments later, even when Garbrandt was able to get back to his feet, that Kara-France finished the job with numerous strikes to Grandbrandt's head.

To make it official, 'The Voice of The Octagon' Bruce Buffer called a TKO victory, three minutes and 21 seconds into the first round, and Kara-France's hand was raised in victory.

It was a fight that Kara-France told Te Ao Toa in August was a "massive fight with a massive name," as Garbrandt is a former UFC bantamweight champion himself.

City Kickboxing celebrates to close out 2021. Source: Facebook/City Kickboxing

Kara-France is the last fighter from City Kickboxing to have a fight in 2021. Confirmed today by the UFC for next year was middleweight champion, 'The Last Stylebender' Israel Adesanya, defending the gold against the man he took it from, Ngāpuhi fighter Robert Whittaker. 

They finally meet again for the gold. Source: Facebook/UFC

Kai Kara-France with Joe Rogan in his post-fight-interview. Source: YouTube/UFC.

"I love you, toko."

In his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, Kara-France dedicated the victory to his friend and teammate who passed away earlier this year.

"Fau Vake, I love you toko."

He also acknowledged his opponent, "Cody Garbrandt, he's such a legend in this sport. Nothing but respect brother."

If questions were being asked about how Garbrandt's move down a division would be challenging, Kara-France said, "I was gonna answer a lot of questions tonight, and that's what I did.

"I know I'm the best in the world, and taking on a former champ just put me right in line next for the title shot."

Kara-France says he will be watching flyweight contender Deiveson Figueiredo take on current flyweight champion Brandon Moreno very closely. "I want the winner out of that fight. 2022, you'll be seeing a new flyweight champion right here."