UFC Fight Night 39 Date: April 11, 2014 Arena: DU Arena City: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Welterweight bout: Ryan LaFlare (-300) vs John “Doomsday” Howard (+250) Fight Breakdown: The UFC Fight Night 39 main card will be featuring a welterweight contest between a 30-year old rising prospect and a 31-year old resurging veteran, when Long Island’s Ryan LaFlare squares off against Massachusetts’ John “Doomsday” Howard. LaFlare is the betting favorite heading into this scrap at -300 ($300 to win $100), with “Doomsday” being an underdog at +250 ($100 to win $250) at 5Dimes Sportsbooks. Ryan LaFlare (10-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) is coming off of a unanimous decision victory over TUF season 11 winner, Court “The Crusher” McGee. He took the fight on very short notice, and came out on top on the judges’ scorecards. The win makes it 3-0 for LaFlare inside the Octagon, as it followed unanimous decision wins over Ben Alloway and Santiago Ponzinibbio, respectively. All three of his Octagon appearances have resulted in decision victories, and they’re the only three in his 10-fight professional fight career that have gone the distance. The 30 year old is undefeated in his professional mixed martial arts career with 10 wins that span of nearly six years. After posting a 6-0 record that included four knockouts and two submissions, he stepped away from the sport for two and a half years. Upon his return to the cage, he scored his third career submission victory that earned him a call from Joe Silva. LaFlare is a talented wrestler who won a state championship in high school, and went on to win another championship in college, where he was a teammate of current UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman. This Long Islander is powerful on the mat, and controls opponents rather easily. His submission game is also very solid, as is evident with his three submission wins, and the fact that he owns a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He is also a well-conditioned athlete who is capable of going a full 15 minutes of action without breaking much of a sweat, even in fights he takes on very short notice. Cardio has never been an issue for the New York native. The Long Islander has a great level change, and incredible takedowns. He works an excellent double leg, and is very quick with transitions on the mat. Once in top position, he never gives opponents a second to think or breathe, as he is constantly on the offensive, both with his strikes and submission attempts; his favorite being the armbar, which is the submission he has used to secure the three tapout victories on his professional mixed martial arts resume. To compliment his grappling, the 30 year old is also very good on the feet. Despite having been rocked in the past, he has a good chin, and his striking defense is above average. He delivers fantastic kicks, and puts together some effective combinations that often end with a kick. He also likes to use his knees and elbows to make opponents pay every chance he gets. LaFlare is a very aggressive fighter who likes to move forward, push the pace, and constantly put the pressure on his opponents; he is especially good at not leaving openings for opponents to capitalize on. John “Doomsday” Howard (22-8 MMA, 6-3 UFC) made the most of his return to the Octagon when he stepped in for an injured Josh Samman to take on Urijah Hall. It was a close, back and forth fight I personally felt Hall won, but two of three judges sided with the veteran, handing him a split decision victory. He followed that win with a dominant unanimous decision victory over Siyar Bahadruzada, and now looks to make it three in a row in his second sting in the Octagon, as he gets set to take on the LaFlare in Abu Dhabi. “Doomsday” had four straight wins in the Octagon that were followed by three consecutive defeats that lead to him getting cut from the organization. Since receiving the pink slip, he racked up an impressive 6-1 record and earned his way back to a spot on the UFC roster. Now, with two wins strung together under his belt in his second stint with the promotion, Howard has proved he belongs. The 30 professional fight veteran works well on the mat, as was evident in his last outing against Bahadurzada. He displayed solid wrestling, though it should be noted that his opponent lacked defensive wrestling skills. The Massachusetts native is well-versed in the submission game, as well, both offensive and defensive. Like his opponent, Howard also owns a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He also possesses dynamite in both hands, being a powerful striker who can put opponents out from any angle. The 31 year old has three times the experience as LaFlare, yet is only one year older. Some might call that an advantage, others might say wear-and-tear. I don’t expect cardio to be an issue with the former middleweight heading into this bout, even considering the amount of weight he has to cut in order to make the welterweight limit. Gabe’s Prediction: I think LaFlare is going to dictate where this fight takes place. I expect him to get the better of Howard on the feet and mix in some takedowns to secure his fourth consecutive unanimous decision victory inside the Octagon. Gabe’s Call: Ryan LaFlare by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Ryan LaFlare (-300) parlayed with Beneil Dariush (-190) for +103 4.55u to win 4.7u
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