Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) flyweight hitters Cody Garbrandt and Kai Kara-France will face off this weekend (Saturday, December 11, 2021) at UFC 269 inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
It’s no secret that Garbrandt has struggled since losing his bantamweight title, most often losing to the 135-pound elite in recent years. In search of a fresh start, âNo Loveâ chose to switch to Flyweight for the first time. While he has yet to officially come up to weight and perform, it doesn’t seem like the worst idea on paper, as Garbrandt was never a particularly big bantamweight. He certainly did not receive a softball in his division debut. New Zealander Kara-France is a true knockout threat with a lot of experience, and he’s only tasted defeat to top talent.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for every man:
Key wins: Dominick Cruz (UFC 207), Raphael Assuncao (UFC 250), Thomas Almeida (UFC Fight Night 88), Takeya Mizugaki (UFC 202), Augusto Mendes (UFC Fight Night 83)
Key losses: TJ Dillashaw (UFC 227, UFC 217), Rob Font (UFC Vegas 27), Pedro Munhoz (UFC 235)
The keys to victory: Perhaps the most interesting question ahead of Garbrandt Flyweight’s debut – outside of BIG – is how Garbrandt’s speed will be transferred. In bantamweight he was probably the fastest man in the division, but now that advantage can be more evened out.
Will a subsequent power increase compensate for this?
Either way, Garbrandt needs to stay active from a distance. In his last loss to Rob Font, Garbrandt ran into problems when he started to rely too much on his head movements and counters. While Garbrandt chased the perfect punch, Font found his timing and did damage.
Garbrandt has a fast, powerful jab and punishing kicks. It would be well advised to actively employ these weapons, as well as the occasional withdrawal or two. If Garbrandt can stay ahead on the points game, it forces Kara-France to start taking risks and swinging bigger on their own front foot.
From Cruz to Assuncao, this is how Garbrandt succeeds in his heaviest blows.
Save: 22-9 (1)
Key wins: Rogerio Bontorin (UFC 259), Raulian Paiva (UFC 234), Tyson Nam (UFC Fight Night 168), Mark de la Rosa (UFC Fight Night 157)
Key losses: Brandon Moreno (UFC 245), Brandon Royval (UFC 253)
The keys to victory: Kara-France is a very technical kickboxer. He plays the outdoor game very well, attacking with combinations, blocks and kicks from long distances. Like many of his City Kickboxing peers, Kara-France moves and feigns with precision.
He scored 10 wins by knockout.
Pointing the finger at Cody Garbrandt is not really a path to victory. Font did it technically, but he wasn’t trying to win with narrow margins – he dropped his hammer with his right hand at every opportunity. No, Kara-France shouldn’t plan to outdo Garbrandt with quick shots and low shots, not when Garbrandt’s pitches are likely to have more of an impact in the eyes of the judges.
Instead, Kara-France should be looking to replicate Font’s success. Even though Garbrandt is the man to drop the weight classes, Kara-France has the edge at hand, and establishing the jab would definitely benefit him. Kara-France has a nasty right hand, and if he can start ringing Garbrandt from the edge of his range, he’ll be the one to lead the dance.
Countering Garbrandt’s right hand is also a must. âNo Loveâ loves the pitch, so Kara-France should look for opportunities to block / slide and retaliate whenever possible.
It’s a huge fight for the division.
In particular, the importance of this fight for Cody Garbrandt cannot be overstated. If he wins, “No Love” suddenly finds himself in the Top 5 in a relatively star-less division. Hell, the UFC might just choose to kick it off with a win – it’s the Endeavor era of matchmaking after all. At the same time, one loss makes it two straight losses for the former champion, and his next move is unclear.
As for Kara-France, he’s looking for the biggest UFC win of his career. Following a huge knockout win by knocking out Garbrandt on a top UFC card would surely help his momentum grow. The only other top contender at the moment is Alexandre Pantoja, so perhaps the win here could score a title eliminator against the Brazilian.
TO UFC 269, Cody Garbrandt will make his flyweight debut against Kai Kara-France. Which man will have his hand up?
Remember that MMAmania.com will provide live, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 269 fight map. here, starting from the beginning ESPN + Online ‘preliminary’ matches, which are scheduled to start at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining bank card balance on ESPN /ESPN + 8:00 p.m. ET, prior to the main PPV card start time at 10:00 p.m. ET on ESPN + PPV.
For the latest and greatest news and ratings from UFC 269: “Oliveira vs Poirier,” be sure to check out our full event archive. here.