UFC Vegas 74: Kai Kara-France Details Back Injury That Left Him Unable to “Tie My Shoes”

Kai Kara-France has been on the shelf for almost a year, ever since his interim title fight against Brandon Moreno last summer.

The New Zealand flyweight finally returns at UFC Vegas 74 this weekend, in a main event opportunity against surging 125’er Amir Albazi.

“It’s been a bit of a layoff, but it’s out of my control,” Kara-France (24-10, 1NC) explained during this week’s UFC Vegas 74 media day. “A little back injury kept me from training. It’s one of those things I neglected in my career, just investing back into my body, and mobility, stretching— until it pretty much humbled me, until I couldn’t do anything.”

The nagging back injury kept him out of the gym, for the most part, for a couple of months, added Kara-France. “I had to rest for two months, and then could slightly build again. The great thing about being where I’m at in my career, I could kind of give a timeframe of when I wanted to fight, and it all came about perfectly.”

Yet while Kara-France is “glad to be here” in Vegas once again for this Saturday’s showdown with Albazi, the injury did keep him out of the UFC’s return to Australia back in February. Not that he could have made that date in Perth.

“I couldn’t get out of bed. I couldn’t bend over, I couldn’t tie my shoes. So how am I going to get ready for a fight and give the fans what they wanted to see?”

It was “awesome to be in Perth as a guest fighter,” Kara-France added.

Kai Kara-France was finished by Moreno in their July 2022 meeting; the Mexican star would go on to defeat Deiveson Figueiredo to become the UFC’s undisputed flyweight champion. But it’s not all doom and gloom for “Don’t Blink” despite falling short in his first shot at UFC gold.

In terms of takeaways from that experience, Kara-France stated that “It’s a lot of positives that we could take away from that last fight, where it just shows we’re right there with the best guys. If we went back that night and things went a bit differently, I could be here for the belt now. It’s just what happens at the highest level of the sport, that’s just how it is. It’s a game of inches.”

Kara-France begins the journey back to title contention this Saturday at the UFC Apex.

Watch the full UFC Vegas 74 media day appearance by Kai Kara-France above.