UFC 277: Peña vs. Nunes 2 took place July 30 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. Former UFC flyweight champion Brandon Moreno (20-6-2) and top contender Kai Kara-France (21-10, 1 NC) met in an interim title bout in the night’s co-main event. The fight aired live on ESPN+ pay-per-view.
Catch the video highlights below.
For more on Moreno vs. Kara-France 2, check out the live blog by MMA Fighting’s Jed Meshew.
Round 1: Both men start the fight in orthodox with KKF taking the center of the cage and setting the pace early. The fans are already starting chants of “Mexico!” for Moreno. Not everyday you here that at a UFC event.
Both men content with a long range to start, feeling things out at first. Moreno jumps in with a left hook early. KKF looking to chop the leg. An inside low kick from KKF lands low that causes a break early.
The action resumes after a short break and now Moreno is in the center. Tension. No big action still. Moreno goes high with a kick that misses but KKF lands a low kick while he does it. Neither man willing to engage much yet. Moreno lands a lunging left. hook. He’s got KKF on his heels for now.
KKF lands an inside low kick and Moreno another left hook. KKF going for those kicks for sure. Now KKF steps in and lands a big right hand but Moreno ducks under on a single-leg. Moreno chaining and gets the rear waist lock but KKF breaks and we’re back at space.
Another leg kick from KKF. And another right hand. Moreno cutting the cage and lands a right hand and a glancing high kick of his own. KKF showing some swelling under his right eye.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Moreno.
Round 2: Relatively slow pace for the first round. We’ll see if that picks up here.
KKF takes the center early but Moreno takes it back from him. KKF steps in and Moreno grabs a body lock but KKF breaks quickly. A lot of motion from both guys.
Moreno pops a couple of long jabs out that connect but eats a low kick for his troubles. Moreno’s team wants him jabbing.
Every time Kai steps in, Moreno is ready with counters. He wants to draw KKF in and he does, landing a kick as KKF retreats. Moreno controlling the cage. Kai goes for a head kick and Moreno ducks under and grabs the rear waist lock. Moreno holding back control along the fence, trying to get a takedown. He can’t but lands a good elbow on the break.
Moreno eats another leg kick. KKF going to try and chop that lead leg to victory. Moreno goes in on a single-leg but Kai stuffs it easily. He’s not getting taken down, but man he needs to do more on the feet. The only thing Kai has is leg kicks.
Kai steps in against and eats a right hook. He’s winning the boxing. Good jab. Leg kick from Kai. Kai lands a check left when Moreno gets overly aggressive. 90 seconds left and now the pace is picking up. Both men content to stay tighter and engage more. Moreno’s defense has been great.
Moreno goes high and misses but Kai lands a chopping low kick that takes him off his feet. Up immediately. Kai lands another leg kick. Moreno bringing the pressure now and rips a big combo to the body just before the horn.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Moreno, 20-18 Moreno overall.
Round 3: That could be a 10-9 round for Kara-France. He landed a ton of low kicks. But that’s it and Moreno has landed some decent hooks.
KKF starts Round 3 on the lead and lands another inside low kick. Exchanges. Moreno steps in for his own low kick and Kai sweeps the other leg and he’s in Moreno’s guard. Moreno trying to work the legs up. It looks like he’s cut. KKF exits the guard and as Moreno gets up he looks a little unsure. KKF swings shots and Moreno wings a spinning backfist out of trouble. Back to space.
That cut is nasty. DC let’s us know that it was an elbow from Kai that opened him up. Moreno bringing the pressure though. KKF lands a monster right hand as Moreno gets too aggressive but Moreno eats it well. Big leg kick from Kai. The cut seems to have made Moreno lose his sense. He’s reckless right now and KKF is picking him off as a result.
KKF getting busy with those low kicks. Moreno still with the pressure and he’s cutting the cage decently. He’s getting his left hand to land a little more now. Jab. Jab. Body kick. Moreno’s pace is something. And he lands an uppercut cleanly in an engagement. Moreno fighting himself back into this round with will power.
KKF on his bike and ducks under on a single leg. Moreno shucks him off and lands a spinning back fist that has Kai backing up! Moreno chases him down and lands a crushing liver kick that drops Kara-France!!!! Moreno all over him and shot after shot come raining down! Dean steps in and that’s it!!! WOW what a turnaround!!
Brandon Moreno def. Kai Kara-France by TKO (body kick and strikes) at 4:34 of Round 3.