UFC Vegas 74: Amir Albazi gets tight split decision over Kai Kara-France

UFC Fight Night: Cannonier v Strickland Weigh-in
UFC Fight Night: Cannonier v Strickland Weigh-in / Handout/GettyImages

UFC Vegas 74: defeated .

Amir Albazi defeated Kai Kara-France via split decision (47–48, 48–47, 48–47), at UFC Vegas 74 on Saturday, May 6, 2023, live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, NV.

"I know it was a close fight. It wasn't how I planned this fight to go. I show what I bring to the table. I can trade with these guys. I don't feel it. It's fun. Maybe too much fun. Next time I come in, I'm finishing. I'm going to put on a show for you guys. There is no guy. There is only one thing that matters the title," said Albazi, who called for the winner of the Brandon Moreno and Alexandre Pantoja fight at UFC 290.

The two fighters opened rather cautiously. Albazi went for a takedown but Kara-France easily defended it. Kara-France landed a powerful leg kick. Albazi landed a big overhand right. Kara-France moved out of danager and landed a right hand. Kara-France landed a couple of left jabs as he started to find his timing. Albazi landed a left hook late in the round.

The second round followed a similar script. The two fighters traded punches until Albazi unsuccessfully shot for a takedown. Kara-France, again, easily defended it. Kara-France found success in the second round with his combinations. ALbazi's nose started to look very red but he continued to press forward and landed a powerful hook.

Albazi opened the third round with a takedown attempt and was able to get Kara-France briefly down to his knees. Kara-France was able to immediately get back up but Albazi was able to score his first takedown of the fight. Albazi transitioned to the back and started landing strikes. The two fighters rolled away from the fence. Albazi locked int he body triangle as he tried to use strikes to open up a chance to go for a choke. Albazi found his opening and went for a rear-naked choke but Kara-France was able to escape the choke despite it being deep. Kara-France was able to explode to his feet but Albazi was able to hold on. Kara-France eventually broke the hold and landed a few strikes prior to the bell.

Both fighters entered the fourth round for the first time in their UFC careers. Kara-France used his jab successfully to start the round. Albazi scored another takedown but Kara-France returned to his feet immediately. The two continued to trade strikes until Kara-France caught a kick and took Albazi to the ground briefly.

Kara-France opened the final round with a powerful right hand. Albazi perfectly timed a takedown, dipping under Kara-France's punch and taking him to the canvas briefly. Kara-France was able to get back to his feet and eventually broke the clinch. Kara-France attempted a flying knee and threw a combination behind it. Kara-France continued to throw a high volume of punches. Albazi landed a left uppercut. Kara-France landed a big right hand as the two traded punches throughout the final 30 seconds of the fight.

Saturday's fight was the first UFC main event for Kara-France, who entered as the third-ranked flyweight. In his last fight, Kara-France lost to current UFC flyweight champion Brandon Moreno at UFC 277. The loss dropped Kara-France's career record to 24-11, with one no-contest.

Albazi entered Saturday's fight as the seventh-ranked flyweight. In his four UFC fights, Albazi scored three finishes. The main event represented the biggest fight of Albazi's career and now puts him among the division's elite.

UFC Vegas 74: Kai Kara-France vs. Amir Albazi took place on Saturday, June 3, 2023, live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, NV. Follow along with FanSided MMA for all your news and highlights.