Kiwi flyweight Kai Kara-France has kept his perfect start to life in the UFC intact with a unanimous decision win over Mark de la Rosa in China.

Kara-France, who joined the UFC late last year, executed his gameplan well against the dangerous submission artist in de la Rosa, keeping the fight upright for the vast majority of their 15-minute encounter.

"I feel amazing, he said after the bout. "Coming into fight week, this is all familiar for me: coming to China, going through all the travels and all that, getting used to the culture, the food… But it has all paid off.

"I took a risk. He is a hard opponent, but another win for us, three in a row in UFC, eight-fight win streak. This division is my oyster and I'm coming for my coach Henry Cejudo. I could be a few fights away from fighting him eventually.


"I'm just going to keep taking out names, there are nine guys ahead of me. I just want to keep fighting, I want to stay active. This is the sport that I love. I never have to work a day in my life because I get to travel and get to compete against the world's best in the highest level in the UFC."

With the contrasting styles of the two, the fight was always likely to take a little while to get going. Predominantly a striker, Kara-France wanted to fight on his feet, while the grappling specialist de la Rosa wanted to take it to the mat.

It was de la Rosa who led the dance in the first round as he attempted to take Kara-France down. However, the Kiwi was more than up to the task and thwarted both attempts by his American opponent while scoring a takedown of his own.

The second round offered more for Kara-France. With no success in taking the fight to the floor early on, de la Rosa looked content to stay on his feet, and Kara-France looked to take advantage.

The Kiwi dropped de la Rosa with a strong right cross midway through the round, but wasn't able to get the finish as de la Rosa recovered quickly.

The pair traded shots for the remainder of the round, but Kara-France appeared to have done enough to take the first two rounds of the bout.

De la Rosa started strong in the final five minute round, before Kara-France took the fight back to the American with a combination of heavy shots to both the head and body.

Active throughout the contest, Kara-France did more than enough to win over the judges to take the unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 29-28).


It was an impressive display from both fighters, particularly in their boxing. Both were throwing heavy combinations and finding success. For Kara-France, it's his eighth straight win and third since making his UFC debut last December.

Currently ranked No 10 on the UFC's flyweight rankings, the 26-year-old will be in line for higher ranked opponents as he works his way up the ladder toward a title shot.

However, he won't be too picky over his next opponent, should the opportunity arise to join City Kickboxing teammates Israel Adesanya and Dan Hooker on the card of UFC 243 in Melbourne in October.