City Kickboxing teammates Israel Adesanya and Dan Hooker believe that Kai Kara-France is a ‘completely different’ fighter before his rematch with Brandon Moreno at UFC 277 this weekend. Moreno, the former champion, also shares the same sentiments.
Moreno and Kara-France first fought back at UFC 245 in 2019, and it was Moreno who walked away victorious on the night. Kara-France won the first round, but Moreno stepped it up in rounds two and three to claim a unanimous decision win.
They’ll run it back this Saturday night on the UFC 277 PPV main card. Fight fans in the United States can watch UFC 277 live after ordering the event on ESPN+ here.
Adesanya and Hooker both feel that Kara-France’s greatest improvement in the past three years is a new sense of self-belief, confidence, and something to fight for.
“I think there’s been a massive change in Kai since that fight,” Hooker said on Adesanya’s YouTube channel. “Obviously, I feel like he won the first round, and then Brandon started to come over. But since The Ultimate Fighter and since this Moreno fight, where Moreno kind of was like in the second and third round put his foot down and stayed busy and went into a bully mode.”
“But the Kai that was fighting then and the Kai that is fighting now is completely different. He’s now had a kid and has a wife, once you’re in that kind of position in life, people can’t just come along and bully you. You can’t just let people push you around — he’s a man now, he’s got his own family. He’s fighting for something bigger.”
Adesanya can pinpoint the moment that Kara-France’s confidence changed and exactly the effect it has had on him in recent years.
“Since the Cody fight, or maybe even just before that, I’ve seen a change,” Adesanya said. “It was since he started working with Dave that something switched in him, man.
“I can see it in his interviews. Look at his old interviews, and he’ll barely look at the camera or the person talking — he’d have his head down. But now he talks, and you see that he means what he’s saying, and he believes who he is. He’s standing ten toes deep in his own power and his own light and he’s unapologetic about it.
“Growing up here, he’s even mentioned it, the whole syndrome of being humble. But nah, talk your shit, speak your achievements, don’t try and downplay it to make everyone else feel better. I love to see it.”
And it’s not just the City Kickboxing teammates of Kara-France who feel this way. Moreno has noticed the change in Kara-France since their first fight and completely understands the reasons for his new levels of motivation.
“He looked different against Bontorin and Cody Garbrandt, and the last one against Askar,” Moreno told Yahoo Sports. “He looks very impressive. He looks braver and more confident, with more confidence in the Octagon. And that’s very important.
“Now he’s a father, he has a family. He lost. All that stuff, when someone depends on your work, it gives you extra motivation. Man, I can tell you that because I’m a father of three daughters, so I have the same motivation.
“We can talk about technique, but I think the biggest difference is just his confidence.”
Formerly the lead MMA Editor at RealSport.