After a successful UFC debut in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, in December of 2012, Ben “Benny Blanco” Alloway is set to make his return to the Octagon at UFC on FX 9 in Sweden on April 6. Alloway’s opponent is undefeated Ring of Combat veteran Ryan LaFlare, who is set to make his UFC debut at the event.
Like all successful fighters, Alloway has done his research on LaFlare and certainly got a lot out of it in the preparation for the fight.
“I watched his fight from back in January, and it looked like he didn’t really like being hit too much, so I am looking forward to seeing how he reacts with me punching him in the face,” Alloway told The MMA Corner in an exclusive interview. “I am going to test him in the cage and give him a fight like he has never had before. I am looking forward to being able to welcome him to the UFC and give him his first professional loss in the process!”
Having already experienced his UFC debut, Alloway knows all too well how LaFlare, who sports a perfect 7-0 mark, will be feeling going into the fight. In fact, he has his own theory on what it may do to the undefeated American.
“He’s used to fighting in his hometown with all his friends there watching,” Alloway said. “I think being under the lights of the big show in a foreign country might affect him a bit, and I am more than happy to find that out.”
Having already made his debut, Alloway’s outlook for the fight is a little different.
“There is nowhere near as much pressure for me,” he said. “All I need to do is go in and do my thing and do whatever it takes to live up to my Gold Coast performance.”
Having won a “Knockout of the Night” bonus in his debut—and also walking away from the TUF Smashes series with a “Fight of the Series” bonus—Alloway knows all too well what it is like to put on exciting fights. However, he doesn’t let the desire to secure a bonus check get into his head too much.
“It’s about winning the fight first, no matter what. It’s about getting the win, and if you put on an exciting enough fight you’ll get rewarded,” Alloway admitted. “The problem with chasing the knockout bonus from the get-go is that there is a fifty-fifty chance that you can be on the other end of the knockout. [laughs]”
In the later stages of 2012, Alloway became a father for the first time. Having a child has not only changed his life, but it has also changed the way that he trains and the way that he looks at his career.
“It’s tough to be consistent,” he confessed. “Sometimes, I have to cancel or move around sessions between the family business and [my son] Chael, but it’s all worth it. It’s kind of like more motivation to go out there and do the best that I can.”
Although money and providing for one’s family would certainly be at the front of most new fathers’ minds, Alloway sees things a little differently.
“It’s not always about the money,” he stated. “Sure, it helps and the UFC pays well, but for me it’s also about creating that little bit of history for your kids. Not everyone can tell their kids that they were a UFC fighter once they get older. I just love creating memories that I can show him when he grows up.”
Although he is a confessed world traveller when it comes to training for fights, Alloway has opted to keep things at home for his second outing in the Octagon.
“This time around, I am going to do the whole camp at PUMMA. I have some great guys who have been helping me, like Dylan Andrews [of TUF 17], who is a 6-foot-1 southpaw, so he’s the perfect stand-up sparring partner for this fight,” Alloway explained. “I am happy with how I have been going and how much I have evolved in stand-up. I am looking forward to standing and trading with LaFlare and can’t wait to see how he reacts to my punches.”
It may seem as though Alloway is discounting the ground game in his fight, but that’s not the case.
“If the takedown is there, I will take it and unleash the ground-and-pound,” he explained.
“The main priority is winning the fight, and I will do whatever it takes to get the job done.”
In Sweden, Alloway plans to expand his collection of “little pieces of history.” Ryan LaFlare stands in his way, but to Alloway, LaFlare will be nothing more than a character in a story that the Australian fighter tells his son years from now. And in the eyes of that boy, Alloway will be the hero.
Photo: Ben Alloway (top) (Scott Clark/Sherdog)