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UFC Fight Night Odds, Pick, Prediction: Askar Askarov vs. Kai Kara-France Betting Preview (Saturday, March 26)

UFC Fight Night Odds, Pick, Prediction: Askar Askarov vs. Kai Kara-France Betting Preview (Saturday, March 26) article feature image

Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: UFC fighter Kai Kara-France.

  • Two top-notch Flyweights will battle it out when Askar Askarov and Kai Kara-France meet Saturday at UFC Fight Night.
  • The No. 2-ranked Askarov is a heavy betting favorite (-410 odds) in this matchup, but Billy Ward thinks this line is off.
  • He breaks down the matchup and his bet below.

Askar Askarov vs. Kai Kara-France Odds 

Askarov Odds -400
Kara-France Odds +310
Over/Under 2.5 (-250/+175)
Venue Nationwide Arena, Columbus, OH
Time 8 p.m. ET
Channel ESPN / ESPN+
Odds as of Friday and via Caesars.

Top-five flyweights Kai Kara-France and Askar Askarov square off on the UFC Fight Night: Columbus main card. This bout is likely a number-one contender matchup, though a potential Deiveson Figueiredo-Brandon Moreno Tetralogy bout could throw a wrench in that plan. Either way, the winner of this one should be in the title conversation sooner than later

It’s a classic striker vs grappler matchup, with Askarov’s stifling wrestling and Kara-France’s devastating power. Can Kara-France defy the odds and knock out a third straight opponent? Let’s dig in and find out.

Tale of the Tape

Askarov Kara-France
Record 14-0-1 23-9-0
Avg. Fight Time 15:00 11:08
Height 5’6″ 5’4″
Weight (pounds) 127 lbs 125 lbs
Reach (inches) 67″ 69″
Stance Right Right
Date of birth 10/9/92 3/26/93
Sig Strikes Per Min 3.37 5.09
SS Accuracy 55% 40%
SS Absorbed Per Min 2.65 3.79
SS Defense 56% 65%
Take Down Avg. 2.75 .51
TD Acc 28% 23%
TD Def 64% 87%
Submission Avg 0 0

Russia’s Askarov is 3-0-1 in the UFC, with each of his wins coming by decision. He’s gotten there through relentless wrestling, as evidenced by his 2.75 takedown average per fight.

While Askarov usually ends up scoring takedowns eventually, his accuracy leaves something to be desired. Still, judges tend to look favorably upon the fighter who scores a takedown, regardless of the number of attempts.

However, the ability to keep his opponents down is slightly more concerning. His UFC debut (a draw with Brandon Moreno) is a perfect example. Askarov landed takedown after takedown, with Moreno escaping back to his feet each time. While he’s since improved in that department, it’s still an issue. Joseph Benavidez was also able to get up three times in the second round of his last fight

Additionally, Askarov has shown himself to be relatively hittable. He’s been hit by fairly significant shots in most of his bouts. While one can generally get away with that at the lighter weight classes, it’s not ideal. Especially against a striker like Kara-France.

Kara-France is possibly the best striker in the flyweight division. He throws both with volume and power, scoring six knockdowns in eight UFC fights in addition to landing over five significant strikes per minute.

He does tend to get sloppy with his striking though. Especially when he hurts — or thinks he hurts — his opponents. This could be exploited by Askarov, but Kara-France hasn’t given us any reasons to question his chin thus far.

He’s exhibited solid takedown defense for the most part, as well as solid scrambling ability when needed. Kara-France’s submission loss to Brandon Royval came on a takedown attempt, not from Royval forcing the issue.

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Askarov vs. Kara-France Pick

Askarov is a fairly heavy favorite in this one, but I’m having a hard time seeing why. He’s yet to finish any of his UFC opponents, instead relying on repeated takedown attempts to win him rounds.

That’s a dangerous game to play against Kara-France. “Don’t Blink” has excelled both in stopping takedowns, and getting back to his feet when he is taken to the mat. That should give him plenty of opportunities to land a power shot and close this fight out.

While I wish this fight was five rounds, 15 minutes is still a long time to avoid getting hit. Askarov has to win all 15 of those minutes, while Kara-France only needs one good shot to turn the fight in his favor.

With that said, I’m slightly concerned Kara-France forces the grappling issue if he gets hit himself. He’s done that in the past, but it would be a bad move against Askarov.

I still like Kara-France though, especially at the +320 odds available at DraftKings. I’m also seeing value on Kara-France by knockout at +800, as it’s hard to see him winning this one if it goes to the judges.

The Pick: Kai-Kara France Moneyline (+320)

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