UFC on FOX 9 Play: Court McGee (-160) vs Ryan LaFlare (+120)

ryan-laflareUFC on FOX 9 Date: December 14, 2013 Arena: Sleep Train Arena City: Sacramento, C.A. Welterweight bout: Court McGee (-160) vs Ryan LaFlare (+120) Fight Breakdown: The UFC on FOX 9 preliminary card on FOX Sports 1 will be headlined by a battle that is sure to get fans ready for the main card. Two warriors will compete to see who remains unbeaten in the UFC’s welterweight division, when The Ultimate Fighter season 11 winner Court “The Crusher” McGee takes on Long Island’s undefeated Ryan LaFlare. McGee is currently the favorite in this match-up at -160 ($160 to win $100), while LaFlare is the underdog at +120 ($100 to win $120) at Several Bookmakerss. Court McGee (16-3 MMA, (5-2 UFC) is coming off a razor thin split decision victory over Robert Whitaker just four months ago. The win followed a very dominant unanimous decision over veteran Josh Neer, in what was McGee’s welterweight debut. It took 15 minutes with Neer for McGee to set a record for most strikes landed in UFC welterweight history. After going 3-2 as a middleweight in the Octagon, “The Crusher” now sits at 2-0 as a welterweight, and looks to make it three in a row this Saturday night against New York’s Ryan LaFlare. Since making the drop to 170 pounds, McGee has become a lot quicker on the feet. He is a heavy volume striker who delivers very solid kicks, both high and low, that look a lot sharper and more effective in his new home. McGee is a very focused and determined fighter who is full of heart and has no quit in him. He is the type of fighter who will keep moving forward and looking for a knockout when he is badly hurt. McGee is a very good boxer; he works a nice jab and has a solid uppercut, which I think is his favorite punch. What I think McGee is missing from his boxing arsenal is that knockout punch. Maybe what he needs to do is start throwing some overhand rights like his hero Chuck Liddell. McGee is a good wrestler, albeit with average takedowns, who prefers to stand and trade with his opponents, as he is very confident in his hands and ability to take shots in order to dish them out. Training out of The Pit under the tutelage of John Hackleman, McGee is a very durable fighter who possesses both a great chin and incredible cardio. He will be ready to go all three rounds against LaFlare, should the fight go the distance. RYAN LaFLARE (9-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) is coming off of a unanimous decision win over Santiago Ponzinibbio just one month ago, and is now stepping back into action on short notice, replacing an injured Kelvin Gastelum. LaFlare is undefeated in his professional mixed martial arts career with nine wins that span over five and a half 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. The native New Yorker is now 2-0 inside the Octagon, both being unanimous decisions, and they’re the only two in his nine-fight professional fight career that have gone the distance. He used his dominant wrestling and top position to control both opponents, and win convincingly. 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. (Note: I think he is deserving of a brown belt, and would likely earn it with his first submission victory inside the Octagon). LaFlare 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, LaFlare 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. Fight Prediction: This is LaFlare’s second fight in five weeks. There is a possibility he may be worn out from having to go through his second weight cut in that time period, and after going through a 15 minute fight where he was rocked a couple of times. He has only gone the distance twice in his career, and his conditioning seemed to be at least decent. He was tired after his last bout, which was against a Brazilian in Brazil. Fighting again so soon on short notice, and having to go through a weight cut again, I am questioning whether fatigue will start to play a factor with him this time around. It could also be the total opposite. Having just been in a fight could play to his advantage, as long as he left the fight with no injuries, and does not have to make a rigorous weight cut to make the 171 pound welterweight limit. Assuming he is prepared to take on this fight, I think he has a good chance at pulling out the W. I see this fight being competitive both in the striking and grappling, but I think LaFlare will find more success with his takedowns, and spend more time in top position, ultimately giving him the edge on the judges’ scorecards. Gabe’s Pick: Ryan LaFlare by Split-Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Ryan LaFlare (+120) 1u to win 1.2u for a value play, as I think he should be -130.

Written by Gabe Killian

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