Mark Hunt is no longer in the UFC, but the knockout continues with Kai Kara-France scoring an outrageous first-round save for Rogerio Bontorin at UFC 259.
Opening the main preliminaries, Kara-France was in great danger of being submissive before regaining a foothold and landing a sensational combo on the Brazilian’s chin.
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Bontorin planted the face, with Kara-France making her best flyweight impression on Mark Hunt and walking away.
There was some confusion as it wasn’t clear if referee Herb Dean had stopped him, so Kara-France returned for a follow-up shot.
Dean intervened to confirm the fight was over, before an enraged Bontorin threw his mouthpiece into the ring at Kara-France.
It ended in a magnificent knockout, but Kara-France was in serious trouble earlier.
The Kiwi landed well early in the process, but Bontorin was full of power and energy as he engaged and scored an out 90 seconds into the fight. Kara-France got into big trouble immediately, with Bontorin looking for a naked rear choke against the cage wall.
The Brazilian locked himself in a body triangle, which allowed him to land punches and seek out submission opportunities. It was a dire prospect for the New Zealander.
KKF regained their feet 90 seconds from the end of the lap, but Bontorin picked it up and nearly clinched an RNC victory on the mat.
Against all odds, Kara-France escaped danger, got back on his feet and scored the huge knockout comeback in the final stages of the round.
“I was caught early, I weathered the storm, I got up and became my guard,” he said. “I just had to stay there.
“I train my jiu-jitsu just as much. Just because it’s City Kick Boxing doesn’t mean we don’t practice wrestling and jiu-jitsu. We got down to business and I just had to stay calm.
“I’ve been in the sport for so many years now, and once I felt he couldn’t finish it gave me confidence. I flipped him over, hit him once with a good right hook and I felt it land. Next time I sat a little more on it and it was a Mark Hunt walk. “