(Ryan sticks out like a tall white guy in a room full of Blackzilians. I really want that saying to catch on. / Photo via @RLaFlare)
Let me start with an embarrassing admission: As I was checking out the UFC Fight Night 32 card last week, I was shocked to learn that welterweight Ryan LaFlare was not in fact making his UFC debut that night. Apparently he’d beaten Ben Alloway by decision on the prelims of the Mousasi vs. Latifi* card in April. I had no idea; I’d never heard of the dude before. Anyway, LaFlare is now 2-0 in the UFC (following his decision win against Santiago Ponzinibbio over the weekend), and has a chance to move to 3-0 next month when he fights Court McGee at UFC on FOX 9.
That’s right folks, LaFlare has agreed to step up as a short-notice injury replacement for Kelvin Gastelum, who was forced out of his scheduled match with McGee earlier this week due to a torn knee ligament. Considering that UFC on FOX 9 is scheduled for December 14th, LaFlare will have just five weeks between fights. It’s a gamble, but it’s one that a relatively anonymous 9-0 prospect can afford to make. If he wins, he’s just beaten a TUF winner on a televised card. If he loses…wait, who the hell is Ryan LaFlare again? This is the Long Island native’s opportunity to make his name. Considering that he’s already 30 years old — and was completely inactive from 2011-2012 — the dude needs to make some hay while the sun is shining, so to speak.
And in case you missed the update to our post about Kelvin Gastelum and Jamie Varner’s injuries, Bobby Green is also making a quick turnaround for the 12/14 card. Following his controversial TKO win against James Krause at Fight for the Troops 3, he’ll be filling in for Varner against Pat Healy.
* Hey Joe Silva, are you gonna book Ilir Latifi’s follow-up match any time soon, or what? The Latifi Nation can’t wait any longer.