A pivotal flyweight clash is expected to take place in March.
MMA Junkie verified verbal agreements are in place for the bout with two people close to the situation. The people requested anonymity because the UFC has yet to make an official announcement.
Askarov, 29, will get his wish. After seeing Kara-France campaign for a title shot, the former ACB flyweight champion suggested they fight to vie for the No. 1 contender spot. Unbeaten in his pro MMA career, Askarov is coming off back-to-back wins over Alexandre Pantoja and former multi-time title challenger Joseph Benavidez at UFC 259. Askarov also battled current UFC flyweight champion Brandon Moreno to a split draw in his promotional debut.
Kara-France, 28, meanwhile, is coming off the biggest win of his career, a first-round knockout of former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt at UFC 269. The finish of Garbrandt marked his second consecutive “Performance of the Night” bonus after he dispatched of Rogerio Bontorin at UFC 259.
With the addition, the UFC Columbus lineup includes:
- Jan Blachowicz vs. Aleksandar Rakic
- Amanda Ribas vs. Michelle Waterson
- Sara McMann vs. Karol Rosa
- Tucker Lutz vs. Seungwoo Choi
- Askar Askarov vs. Kai Kara-France