Kai Kara-France uses the experience of his talented teammates to boost his self-confidence

The value of having veteran teammates who have experienced all the ups and downs imaginable in a sport has never been more evident in the case of UFC’s Kai Kara-France.

A fight is one of the most unpredictable sporting events. Former Baltimore Orioles coach Earl Weaver often spoke of his love of great throws and three-point home runs as the key to a winning team. A three-run homer in baseball can change the course of a game in one fell swoop.

A punch, a kick, an elbow or a knee – the MMA equivalent of a three-point homer – can change the course of a career.

A defeat should never define a fighter, but far too often the audience and even the fighter allow that to happen.

But UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya showed the folly of that line of thinking at UFC 287 on April 8 in Miami, Florida. Adesanya was the challenger that night and had been knocked out twice before by Alex Pereira. Adesanya refused to let those defeats define him and he scored the final measure of revenge when he regained his title by knocking out Pereira in the second round.

Kara-France was there to watch everything from the start of camp to the long party period that followed.

Kara-France meets Amir Albazi on Saturday at Apex in the main event of UFC Vegas 74 in Las Vegas, his first fight since losing to flyweight champion Brandon Moreno by third-round TKO on July 30 in Dallas, Texas. Texas.

“That last one we had, you could say I was winning until I wasn’t,” Kara-France told Yahoo Sports. “Listen, Brandon is a great fighter and we fight all the best fighters in the world here. He’s a great champion. He just won again against Figgy [ex-champion Deiveson Figueiredo] and he put it away quite easily. So that shows I’m here.”

DALLAS, TEXAS – JULY 30: Kai Kara-France of New Zealand is shown in his corner before facing Brandon Moreno of Mexico in the interim UFC flyweight championship bout at the UFC 277 event at American Airlines Center on July 30, 2022 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

Former flyweight title challenger Kai Kara-France says the lessons he learned from teammates like Israel Adesanya, Alex Volkanovski and Dan Hooker will help him achieve his goal of becoming world champion. (Josh Hedges/Getty Images)

The reality that fighters face every time they step into the ring or into the cage is that it can be over in an instant. In the old days, when championship boxing matches were still scheduled for 15 rounds, ring announcers would say they were scheduled “for 15 rounds, or less.” A baseball game is always nine innings. Football and basketball are four quarters and hockey is three periods.

In the fight game, however, a fight can end in a split second and change the course of history much faster than it does for Aaron Judge to lay down a hanging curveball in the stands of Yankee Stadium.

Kara-France was bitterly disappointed to lose to Moreno, but he saw the way Adesanya handled the losses to Pereira and Jan Blachowicz and he knew if he wanted to get back on top he would have to do the same.

The value of veteran and experienced teammates is why you hear Kara-France say now that he still believes he is the best flyweight in the world. He knows he will have to prove it in the Octagon, but Adesanya has shown him that it can be done despite the odds and despite the many doubters who love nothing more than kicking someone when he is on the ground.

“Look who I train with day in and day out: Izzy, Alex [Volkanovski]Dan [Hooker], guys who have been in this game for a long time,” he said. “Their presence is a constant reminder that I have to keep striving and stick to my business and never lose sight of the objective. I never lost sight of him. The goal has always been a world champion and that remains the goal and I intend to achieve it. I’m still young in this game. I just turned 30 but I have a ton of experience and I’m much wiser.

“What experience has taught me is to treat this fighting game with the utmost respect and realize that anything can happen at any time. It’s okay to be disappointed [after a loss]but you have to pick up the pieces and keep going because that’s why it’s so hard to win [a championship] at this level.”

He is ready for whatever Albazi brings and expects Albazi to pick up the pace. He went out of his way to express his respect for Albazi’s skills, but said that because he respects him so much, he made it a point to be ready for whatever Albazi does.

It is more of this experience that passes.

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