Kai Kara-France has earned his shot at a UFC title.
On the back of a three-fight winning streak which included two first-round knockouts, the Kiwi contender will fight for the interim UFC flyweight title against familiar foe Brandon Moreno.
The bout will be the co-main event at UFC 277 in Dallas on July 31, and will be Kara-France's first five-round bout inside the UFC octagon.
It will be the second meeting in the UFC between Kara-France and Moreno. The pair fought at UFC 245 in December 2019, where Moreno claimed a unanimous decision win.
It was an entertaining bout in which Kara-France got the better of the early stages, but Moreno was able to storm back and win the second and third rounds. The pair were also teammates on the reality TV series The Ultimate Fighter back in 2016.
It's a major opportunity for the 29-year-old Kiwi contender, who has taken on all comers in the division.
Kara-France hasn't been afraid to put his position in the division on the line in his UFC tenure - fighting lower-ranked opponents several times. Since entering the UFC rankings in 2019, Kara-France has fought back in the rankings four times. Only twice has he taken on a higher ranked opponent - his 2019 loss to Moreno and his most recent bout, a unanimous decision win over Askar Askarov in March.
The win over Askarov was the punctuation mark on a strong recent run for Kara-France. He overcame some terrible positions to knockout Rogerio Bontorin early in 2021, before running through former UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt to claim his second first-round KO in as many bouts.
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Against Askarov, who was previously unbeaten and expected to one day lift the flyweight title, Kara-France again defended through some bad positions, before turning the fight in the second and third rounds to hand the Russian his first loss.
The interim title bout has come onto the table as reigning champion Deiveson Figueiredo is injured and isn't expected to be back in action until later in the year.
While it will be Kara-France's first shot at UFC gold, it's a common position for Moreno. The Mexican's last three bouts have been title fights. He fought to a draw with Figueiredo in late 2020, before winning the title from the Brazilian in a rematch in June 2021. He then lost the title back to Figueiredo in January, losing a unanimous decision.
The bout will be one of two title fights on the card, with women's bantamweight champion Julianna Peña defending her throne against the women she took it from, Amanda Nunes, in the main event.