#KiwiUFC Kai Kara France and Dan Hooker Wrap

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A win at UFC Fight Night Shenzhen for Kai Kara France, a few weeks after Dan Hooker's classy finish at Fight Night San Antonio has set the scene for the epic UFC 243 in Melbourne. While the delightful card headlined by Robert Whittaker vs Israel Adesanya is still a month away, certain pieces are falling into place to make what will already be the craziest moment for combat sports in Aotearoa and Australia, that much better.

Anytime I write about UFC 243, I'll continue to hammer home how epic this event will be. Casual sports fans in Aotearoa might not quite be able to envision the buzz and hype for Whittaker vs Adesanya from a strictly fighting perspective, while those around the world will struggle to understand what this means for MMA fighting in this part of the world. However you want to look at that fight and the entire card for UFC 243, it'll most likely be slept on and then celebrated; hence I'm telling you now and will continue to tell you that UFC 243 will be monumental.

UFC 243 may feature Kai Kara France as well, after he dispatched Mark De La Rosa in the flyweight division. This fight took place in China, with Chinese fighter Weili Zhang defeating Jessica Andrade in the main event to make a major statement for the sport in China. France grabbed a unanimous decision over De La Rosa, dominating the fight via the power in his hands and how he uses strikes as an Auckland City Kickboxing fighter.

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France and De La Rosa threw a similar number of strikes (193 vs 195), however France landed at 47 percent compared to De La Rosa's 30 percent. There was plenty of variety from France as he also landed significantly more kicks than De La Rosa and while his opponent managed to land 1 of 7 takedowns, France attempted just a single takedown and did so beautifully. That resulted in some ground strikes as well and wherever this fight went, France was too slick.

It's a quick turn-around, yet the ideal situation would be for France to get a fight on the UFC 243 card about a month away. France didn't suffer much damage in this fight and this would take UFC 243 up to a nek level if a fight can be sussed. The flyweight division is headed by champion Henry Cejudo and there is a clear path for France to wiggle into the top-tier of the division with a another win or two. Being 3-0 in a division that isn't overly deep is a great spot for France to be in and regardless of whether he is fighting again soon, or has to wait for another card, the same challenge awaits him.

Hooker has already been booked to face off against Al Iaquinta, in the fight before Whittaker vs Adesanya. Hooker dismantled James Vick with a beautiful TKO, which was a crucial win for Hooker given that he suffered a bit of a hiding at the hands (and feet) of Edson Barboza in his previous fight.

There will be plenty more time and space to preview all the UFC 243 fights, including Hooker vs Iaquinta. What intrigued me from the Hooker win over Vick was the manner in which Hooker landed the heavy left hand; preceded by a super fake with his right hand. MMA joker Luke Thomas has highlighted how Israel Adesanya uses fakes extremely well and this is becoming a staple of the AKCKB whanau under coach Eugene Bareman.

Here's Hooker faking the right hand, which gets Vick to try counter with his left...

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As Vick drops his right hand, Hooker comes in over the top with his left...

This was sublime. Fluid. Then powerful. The craft involved is becoming a trademark of AKCKB and while not quite as blatant or destructive as the Hooker example, France did offer a similar fakey style in defeating De La Rosa. France steps into his left hand, which looks like it could be the main blow until De La Rosa blocks it...

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As soon as De La Rosa bites on France's fake and puts his own left hand out into the mixer, France pounces with his right hand coming over the top...

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Rather similar, albeit with opposite hands. There are numerous ways to execute these fakes, it's super funky that Hooker then France showcased not only how powerful they are but the skill to put that power into action. Adesanya is the best at this, with greater variety in his striking and supreme control of his movements, now we are seeing the AKCKB stable starting to showcase their talents as well. The rise of Alexander Volkanovski is also notable when celebrating AKCKB as the Australian featherweight has racked up big wins over Chad Mendes and Jose Aldo since spending more time in Auckland.

UFC 243 as it stands right now, features Whittaker, Adesanya, Hooker and Luke Jumeau from the #KiwiUFC perspective. Jumeau's last fight was in February 2018, so this will be an important comeback fight for the Hamilton based welterweight. Then we may get France added to make it four #KiwiUFC fighters and three fighters from AKCKB.

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Peace and love 27.