kai Kara-France handed Askar Askarov the first loss of his MMA career tonight at UFC On ESPN 33 via unanimous decision.
Kara-France with feints to start from range. Both think about a kick at the same time. Leg kick lands for Kara-France.
Inside leg kick from Kara-France and Askarov tries to counter with a punch. Fast entry from Askarov for a single-leg takedown. Great balance from Kara-France to stay upright for now, but Askarov is still working the position.
Askarov hoists that leg up high and kicks out the other one to land the takedown. Askarov able to nicely take Kara-France’s back in the center of the Octagon with half the round remaining.
He’s got the body triangle locked in and starts landing some punches. Kara-France scrambles back to his feet, but Askarov remains locked on to his back thanks to the body triangle. Kara-France walks over to the cage.
However, Askarov digs for a rear-naked choke now. Kara-France fighting off the hands. Askarov goes for the choke again, but Kara-France is showing good defense so far despite carrying his opponent’s weight.
Askarov gives up on that for now and lands a hard elbow strike. Now he’s going for the choke again, but Kara-France survives and makes it to the end of the round.
Both men swing and miss with a hook apiece. One-two from Kara-France down the pipe. Push kick from Askarov. Now he drives into a takedown against the cage. Kara-France defending with an elbow strike. Askarov able to lift him up and land the takedown.
Kara-France starting to stand back up quickly and Askarov is working to his back again. Kara-France able to turn into him and break free though.
Back to striking range now. Askarov feeling out for a potential takedown, but doesn’t commit to it. Inside legk ick from Askarov. Lunging left hand from Kara-France. He misses with an overhand right, but connects with a left behind it.
Nice entry again from Askarov as he works for a single leg. Kara-France does a great job of defending that though and gets away.
Kara-France throws a heavy salvo of punches and hurts Askarov. he lands again and Askarov is trying to reach for a takedown, but realizes he’s not able to get it and so he’s left with no option other than to throw back hard himself.
Kara-France still in the ascendancy here all of a sudden though as he lands more crisp punches and Askarov seems a bit unsettled. Kara-France throwing everything with bad intentions here and has fought his way back into this fight as he we head into the third round.
Glancing right hand from Askarov. Kara-France swings hard with the right hand, but misses. Inside leg kick from Askarov, but it strays to the groin and forces a brief stoppage.
Outside leg kick from Kara-France as they get back to business. Askarov attempts a high kick and slips to the mat for a moment.
Kara-France with a punch and Askarov drops into a takedown attempt. Kara-France defending it for now and they go to the cage. Askarov nicely works up onto Kara-France’s back again like in the first round.
Kara-France does well to get out of that quicker this time around though. Askarov continuing to try to get the fight to the mat again, but Kara-France gets away.
Push kick from Askarov. Outside leg kick from Kara-France. Right hand from Kara-France. Askarov pressing forward now. he grazes with an uppercut.
Body punch from Kara-France. He lands again but then Askarov lands a counter punch. Solid right hgand from Kara-France now. He lands a leg kick too.
Kara-France swings for the fences but misses. leg kick for Kara-France. Kara-France fakes a takedown of his own.
Right hand for Kara-France. Now a leg kick. Kara-France points to the center of the Octagon wanting to throw down, but instead Askarov opts to try for another takedown. He doesn’t get it, but that runs out the remainder of the clock and we’re headed to a judges decision.
Askarov’s superior grappling was the story of the first round, but Kara-France changed the script in the second by making the most of his striking opportunities to hurt his opponent. The third was the most closely contested with Askarov having a little grappling success, while Kara-France continued to threaten with strikes.
Not an easy one to score then, but the judges are unanimous in their decision and it’s Kai Kara-France who emerges with the victory (29-28 x3).