The main event situation of UFC Fight Night 62 hit a bit of a speed bump when Raphael Assunção fell to injury last month, and had to pull out of his bout with bantamweight star Urijah Faber. Faber was subsequently pulled from the card and matched up against Frankie Edgar in something of a superfight, while the UFC promoted Ryan LaFlare’s bout with Demian Maia to the main event.

With much of the star power gone along with Faber, UFC Fight Night 62 now becomes a card mostly geared at MMA hardcores and UFC devotees, though the addition of the struggling, against the wall Josh Koscheck does add one name recognizable with the casual fans. That at least shores up a main event which will be criticized by at least some fans as lacking a certain amount of star power, though it does have relevance in the welterweight division, at least as a test of LaFlare’s readiness to crack the top ten.

To that end, he has a tough bout ahead of him against Demian Maia, so lets look at some keys to victory for LaFlare.

Overcome the Distraction of the Brazilian Crowd

Fighting in Brazil is always rough for foreign fighters, and never more so as when they’re in the main event. That said, it’s something fighters simply have to overcome. Ryan FlaFlare has done that before, at UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Henderson back in 2013. He’ll need to do it again, in a much more critical fight, at Fight Night 62.

Shake Off The Ring Rust

LaFlare hasn’t seen action since a decision win over John Howard back in April of last year. While an undefeated 11-0 record and four straight wins in the UFC has been enough to keep him ranked 15th in the welterweight division, it will have been over 11 months between bouts for LaFlare, and he is coming off injury after having been forced out of a fight with Gunnar Nelson last summer.

Between healing up and being away nearly a year, he’ll need to shake off any ring rust pretty quick, and in a hostile environment to boot.

Be Wary When In Maia’s Guard

While Demian Maia is known for making his bread and butter on the ground, with a slick submission game, Ryan LaFlare, with a takedown accuracy of nearly 60%, probably will shoot at some point. And if he gets Maia on his back, he probably will wind up in his guard, where he will need to be very, very wary of his opponent’s tricky submission game. Often listed in the top ten toughest guards in the promotion, Maia is a wily black belt, well beyond LaFlare’s calibre (LaFlare himself is a purple belt).

This is a big step up in hostile territory for Ryan LaFlare. He has been given a huge opportunity here, and he does have the skills to pull off the win. After making a strong debut at welterweight, Maia lost two straight, and only just recently rebounded with a win. However, the entirety of LaFlare’s UFC career has been decisions: thus far, all four of his bouts in the promotion have gone the distance. Leaving it to the judges in Brazil isn’t always the best idea, however. Yet these two fighters match up better than you might expect, at least on paper. Striking accuracy is roughly the same, as is striking defense, and while LaFlare has the edge in takedowns, Maia has the edge in submissions.

As a result, this is really anyone’s match to win, though external factors may give Maia the edge.

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.