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It’s no secret that the UFC hates their men’s flyweight division. Hell, there was a time brass were skeptical about bringing in featherweights and bantamweights. For his part, Dana White & co. seemed to give up on the whole idea the moment their first flyweight tournament to crown a new champion ended in a draw because local regulators didn’t read the rules.
Things got bad enough that, in the middle of the championship run of one of the most dominant fighters in the history of the sport, the UFC looked to shut the flyweight division down. For flyweight fighters with the UFC in 2017-18, anyone that lost even one bout had to be ready to get the axe. The division was whittled all the way down to just a handful of athletes before the promotion finally decided to reverse course.
Now there are more than 40 fighters in the promotion’s flyweight division. It’s healthy and going strong, with a fantastic quadrilogy of title fights between Brandon Moreno and Deiveson Figueiredo to show for the effort. But male flyweight fighters are still at the bottom of the totem pole. Look no further than main card and main event bookings to find the evidence.
Kai Kara-France vs. Amir Albazi named UFC Fight Night main event
When Jack Hermansson pulled out of his fight with Brendan Allen set to headline the UFC’s June 3rd Apex show, fans wondered who would grab the main event slot. Would Brendan Allen get a replacement bout? Would the UFC book a new fight. Instead, Kai Kara-France announced on the Who the Fook are These Guys podcast, that his bout against Amir Albazi had been elevated to the top spot on the card.
“I’ve just found out that my next fight, I’m the headline now. It’s five rounds!” Kai Kara-France said. “I’m gonna go out there and remind everyone why I’m the best in the world.”
The last time a men’s flyweight bout headlined a UFC card without a title on the line was when Sergio Pettis and Brandon Moreno fought in Mexico City on August 5th in 2017. That’s nearly five years without a featured spot for a top flyweight contender on at an event.
Kara-France (24-10_ comes into the bout off a loss to Moreno at UFC 277, where he fought for the interim flyweight title. Moreno won that bout via 3rd round TKO, snagging another title shot against Figueiredo in the process, which he then went on to win, unifying the belts in the process. The loss to Moreno broke a three fight win streak for the 30-year-old, including a KO victory over Cody Garbrandt.
For Xtreme Couture’s Amir Albazi (16-1), this will be the Baghdad-born fighter’s first time in a five round fight. The 29-year old made his debut in the Octagon back in 2020, and while he’s struggled to get to the cage with regularity, he’s put together a perfect 4-0 record over the last three years.
Hopefully both men use the opportunity to make their skills shine. And just maybe we’ll get a few more flyweights in prominent bookings in the not too distant future.
Kara-France vs. Albazi Fight card
- Kai Kara-France vs. Amir Albazi
- Miesha Tate vs. Mayra Bueno Silva
- Jim Miller vs. L’udovit Klein
- Alex Caceres vs. Daniel Pineda
- Tim Elliott vs. Victor Altamirano
- David Onama vs. Khusein Askhabov
- Maxim Grishin vs. Philipe Lins
- Jinh Yu Frey vs. Elise Reed
- Abubakar Nurmagomedov vs. Elizeu Zaleski
- John Castaneda vs. Mateus Mendonca
- Da’Mon Blackshear vs. Luan Lacerda
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