Since he went to a draw with Hans Stringer in late 2013, Francisco “Kiko” France has been on a tear, winning five straight bouts. According to France, his success is mainly due to a move to middleweight.
“Well, the first thing is that I dropped weight classes,” France told MMAWeekly.com. “I dropped to 185 pounds. I was just at the wrong weight class (at light-heavyweight). I feel lighter and stronger for sure now.”
In his most recent bouts last year, France’s advantages at middleweight helped him claim an RFA title against Gabriel Checco and then pick up a win against formerly undefeated prospect Ben Reiter in his Bellator debut.
“(The fight with Checco) was a five rounder, which is something new for me, but it was really good for me,” said France. “I went five rounds and beat him every round.
“Ben was a good wrestler, and I didn’t try to take him down once and went straight to striking. He tried to take me down, and I’m fine with that too, and I choked him out.”
France (13-3-1) will seek his sixth straight win when he returns at Bellator 150 on Friday in Mulvane, Kansas, against former Ultimate Fighter winner Kendall Grove (22-15) in a main card middleweight bout.
“I have a lot of respect for Kendall, but I don’t feel he’s as motivated as he used to be,” said France. “I’ve never been as motivated in my whole career as I am now. I have a good game plan for this fight; Plans A, B and C; if I follow the game plan, I will be at him.”
Should France maintain his current path, he could very well find himself in middleweight title contention for Bellator in 2016.
“I’m here for whatever Bellator needs of me,” said France. “Whatever opponent they put in front of me, I’ll take the fight for sure. I’m 33, so I want to fight as much as possible.
“I think if I beat Kendall it will put me in a better spot in Bellator. I’m not choosing who I’m fighting, because I’ll fight anybody. But I just beat an undefeated guy (in Reiter), and I know I’m going to beat Kendall, so it will put me right there (within reach of a title shot) for sure.”