Sport | MMA

Four confirmed, Adesanya bout in wait for next UFC takeover in Sydney

Kara-France, Ulberg, Diamond and Young book bouts with Adesanya expected to confirm main event soon.

As the UFC continues to shape its fight card for UFC 293 in Sydney, it includes even more of New Zealand’s best MMA fighters preparing for another New Zealand takeover on September 10.

While light heavyweight contender Carlos ‘Black Jag’ Ulberg (Tainui, Te Atiawa, Hāmoa) was the first fighter confirmed last month, this week alone has seen two more confirmations in the form of flyweight Kai Kara-France (Waikato, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Kahungunu, Te Atiawa) and welterweight Michael Mathetha, more commonly known by his fight nickname Blood Diamond.

It’s a moderately quick turn-around for ‘Don’t Blink’ Kara-France who lost a very tight contest to Iraq’s Amir Albazi at the start of June via split decision. It was his first fight since losing his interim flyweight title opportunity against Brandon Moreno a year ago in Dallas, Texas.

No.5 ranked Kara-France meets No. 8 ranked Angolan fighter Manel ‘Starboy’ Kape in a three-rounder. Kape’s record sits at 3-2. but is on a three-fight win streak, most recently with a unanimous decision win over Davi Dvorak in December.

Diamond enters the UFC octagon for the third time, for the first since joining Kara-France on the Texas card last year in July. Despite two losses, he will look to get his first win when he meets newcomer Charlie ‘Chuck Buffalo’ Radtke, who has a 5-3 record to take with him to his UFC debut.

September’s top cards

Featherweight Shane Young (Ngāti Kahungunu) had his fight officially confirmed earlier today by the UFC. He meets Gabriel Miranda (16-6), who is in his second UFC fight and chasing his first win since losing his debut last year in September.

Young (13-7) has been on a three-fight losing streak, his last win back in 2019.

Aussie light heavyweight Tyson Pedro, who has been training as of late with City Kickboxing, will also take part in Sydney’s scraps against Anton Turkalj.

Speculation has been brewing that Brad Riddell could round out the City Kickboxing cohort in September.

That leaves the last fighter, middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, to confirm if his first title defence this year is indeed against South Africa’s Dricus Du Plessis for UFC 293′s main event.

Du Plessis won a middleweight contender eliminator a couple of weeks ago, defeating Māori-Aussie and former champion Robert Whittaker in dominating fashion.

That brought him to his sixth straight win, having risen through the middleweight ranks with multiple finishes against his opponents and remaining undefeated since his UFC debut in 2020.

Adesanya’s last dance was an emphatic knockout victory over kickboxing rival Alex Pereira in a rematch for the middleweight championship in April, having lost previously in November 2022.

Public Interest Journalism