Considering the adversity he overcame to have his hand raised, the win is arguably the Aucklander’s most impressive yet.
Bontorin is regarded as one of the most dangerous submission experts in the division, and after securing a takedown early in the round and cinching in a suffocating body triangle, Kara-France’s fate seemed sealed.
But Kara-France’s grappling defence held strong, fighting Bontorin’s hands relentlessly and refusing to open any window underneath his chin for the Brazlian to sneak his arm through.
Eventually, he was able to shake Bontorin off his back, then immediately pressed forward, and delivered the uppercut and right hand to secure a memorable triumph.
“I just put all the flyweights on notice,” Kara-France told UFC commentator Joe Rogan afterwards. “A lot of the guys have fights coming up, but anyone in that top five can get it.
“I can avenge losses with rematches – Royval, Morenpo, Figureido – you can all get it. Let’s go.”
The win takes the City Kickboxing product to 22-9 and should see him advance from his spot at No.8 in the official flyweight rankings.
Kara-France is the second of three Kiwi fighters to compete at UFC 259, with Carlos Ulberg earlier falling to a second-round defeat in his debut against Kennedy Nzechukwu and Israel Adesanya’s headlining clash against Jan Blachowicz still to come.
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