UFC 277: Brandon Moreno finishes Kai Kara-France after brutal liver kick to claim flyweight interim title

UFC 277: Brandon Moreno finishes Kai Kara-France after brutal liver kick to claim flyweight interim title
Brandon Moreno cruised fairly easy through the first two rounds of his interim flyweight title fight with Kai Kara-France on Saturday at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, in the co-main event of UFC 277.

Kara-France cut Moreno below his right eye with an elbow early in the third. Moreno was down and Kara-France began landing shots from the top and took control of the fight.

But in the final minute of the round, Moreno blasted Kara-France with a kick to the liver. Kara-France folded over in agony and Moreno finished him with punches. Referee Herb Dean stopped it at 4:34 of the third.

“I practiced that kick so many times,” said Moreno, who switched camps after his last fight with Deiveson Figueiredo and was trained for this one by James Krause. “I worked on it so much.”

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Moreno was in command early in the fight, using his boxing and mixing in kicks, though the first two rounds were fought at a measured pace.

By finishing Kara-France, Moreno began his second stint as a champion. He fought to a draw with Figueiredo when Figueiredo was champion in 2020, then submitted him at UFC 263 to win the belt. Figueiredo regained the belt at UFC 270 in Anaheim, California, in January, winning a hotly disputed split decision.

Figueiredo was in the audience and entered the ring after the fight. He praised Moreno’s performance but said he wanted to fight the fourth fight between them in his home of Brazil. Moreno quickly agreed.

UFC 277 RESULTS: BRANDON MORENO DEMOLISHES KAI KARA-FRANCE WITH BRUTAL BODY KICK TO CLAIM INTERIM FLYWEIGHT TITLE
Brandon Moreno is gearing up for his fourth fight with Deiveson Figueiredo after he defeated Kai Cara France in the co-main event of UFC 277 to capture the interim flyweight title.

It was an incredibly impressive performance by Moreno, who actually had a bit of a problem until he landed a body shot that just shut down Cara France completely. As the New Zealand native fell to the canvas, Moreno punched him before referee Herb Dean stepped in to stop the bout, which ended at 4:34 of the third round.

After that, Moreno celebrated the victory by returning the UFC belt to his waist and waiting for the inevitable fight with Figueiredo.

“Coming here for this fight on the week of the fight, I experienced a lot of emotions. I wanted to go against Deiveson Figueiredo and unleash all my hatred and all my rage,” Moreno said. “Then I remembered that my daughter was watching me at home in Vegas. I don’t want to be the guy who gives shit to a guy in front of his daughter. I have a chance to be an example for my daughter.

“I don’t hate you. I don’t say anything against you. Please forgive me if I have done anything against you brother. I want to fight you in December. We’ll go in December.”

By then, Figueiredo had made his way into the cage and eventually raised Moreno’s hand to show him respect as the longtime contenders left bad feelings behind as they prepared to fight again to determine the true UFC 125 pound champion.

“This guy, this is his night,” Figueiredo said. “He is a champion. I respect him very much. I want to fight this fight in Brazil.”

Before the moment shared between the champions, Moreno had to go through Cara France first and he definitely had a fight before the stoppage.

A left hand hit Cara France a couple of times in the first round, and Moreno landed tactical leg punches. Although it took him a few minutes to really get into action, Cara France eventually hit back with a right hand that definitely got Moreno’s attention.

Although it was an early hit, Cara France’s best shots tended to be the many kicks he consistently landed on Moreno in an attempt to chop off the former flyweight champion. However, Moreno avoided more punches than he took, constantly changing stances and then returning to the top with lightning-fast hand combinations.

With the flyweights battling for a place in the third, Cara-France landed an elbow that opened a significant cut under Moreno’s right eye, sending blood down his face. Luckily, the cut was where it didn’t affect Moreno’s vision, but that moment seemed to fuel Cara France’s confidence as he began to really relax into his punches.

Cara France landed with more accuracy, but it also became more aggressive, and this gave Moreno more room to return fire. It was then that Moreno landed a body kick that simply reverberated throughout the arena as Cara France collapsed to the canvas.

“I love this kick,” Moreno said. “It’s crazy how everything is in its place now. I’ve been practicing these punches all this training camp. I have been working on becoming a complete mixed martial artist and today I can grab [this title] again.”

Now, by TKO, Moreno is fighting Figueiredo again after they’ve already fought on three previous occasions, but it’s impossible to object to a fourth fight, especially after what happened on Saturday night in Dallas.

 

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