Chances are more than a few folks will be asking ‘who’s that guy?’, during tomorrow night’s UFC FN 62 broadcast, when Ryan LaFlare battles Demian Maia in the headliner. After all, unlike the latter, LaFlare has only been with the promotion for a couple of years, and he hasn’t faced big names like Anderson Silva, Chael Sonnen, Chris Weidman, Rory MacDonald, etc, etc, etc.
Of course, hardcore fans know that LaFlare has been tapped to fight Maia since he’s gone 3-0 in the UFC to date, and has moved into the #14 ranking at 170. But, LaFlare wants to be a top selling commodity for the UFC, not someone whose name only rings a bell with the ‘I never miss an event’ crew.
Since this will mark the first time LaFlare will headline, and because he’s fighting a well established contender like Maia, he knows what’s on the line tomorrow night. It’s a chance to take a big step forward in becoming a MMA household name. While talking to UFC.com recently about Saturday’s crap, LaFlare stated:
“I fought two of my fights on Fight Pass and one of them was on the undercard for a (Fuel TV) show. No one knows who I am yet and they don’t see Demian – they know he’s really good, but he’s not a super-exciting, electric fighter – but I’m really looking forward to it.
“I can’t wait to get out there and for the world to find out who I am and finally start turning some heads.”
There’s no question that defeating Maia would send more fans running to LaFlare’s bandwagon, particularly if he can finish the jiu-jitsu god. The only man who has ever stopped Maia in 25 pro bouts is Nate Marquardt, who KO’d him way back in 2009. That’s right, not even the aforementioned Silva, Weidman or MacDonald could stop the 37 year-old.
It will be interesting to see how both men look Saturday night. Maia hasn’t fought since last May when he decisioned Alexander Yakovlev, and LaFlare will be fighting for the first time since last April, when he beat John Howard.
UFC FN 62 will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The card will also feature Erick Silva taking on Josh Koscheck.