The second fight on the UFC Fight Night 39 main card is a Welterweight clash between two rising contenders. The undefeated Ryan LaFlare looks to get his fourth straight UFC victory over the heavy handed John Howard.
Ryan LaFlare has looked stellar since joining the UFC last year. In 2013, LaFlare won all three of his UFC bouts with hard fought unanimous decisions. LaFlare has showed a lot of promise thus far in his career, and a statement win over John Howard tonight may catapult him up the rankings.
John Howard returned to the UFC’s Octagon last August to take on Uriah Hall on short notice. Howard won the fight via split decision and earned his spot back in the UFC ranks. He followed up that performance with a dominant decision victory over Siyar Bahadurzada back in December. If Howard is able to defeat LaFlare tonight, expect a big name for him next.
Round 1: They touch gloves to start. Howard takes the center of the cage. Howard feints two rights. Body kick for LaFlare and another. Howard answers, but LaFlare gets a single leg takedown. LaFlare is in half guard. LaFlare passes into side control. Shoulder strikes from LaFlare. Howard scrambles, but LaFlare stay in side control. Howard is trying to work to his feet, but LaFlare attacks with a D’arce choke. Howard pops his head out and gets to his feet. Howard eats a knee, and then takes down LaFlare. LaFlare back to his feet and pushes Howard to the fence. Knees from LaFlare and an elbow on the exit. Big shots missing for Howard and LaFlare ducks under and gets underhooks. LaFlare clinches Howard on the fence, lands some knees, and attempts a throw that does not work that well. Howard now has control of LaFlare on the fence, but eats an elbow. They are back in the center, and LaFlare with a beautiful combination. Left kick to the body and knee to the face from LaFlare. Body shot from Howard. LaFlare is stringing together some great combinations. Howard with a low kick, LaFlare answers, but Howard catches the kick and pushes him to the fence. 10-9 LaFlare.
Round 2: LaFlare moves in and is rocked on a counter 1-2 from Howard. The uppercut at the end of the combination dropped LaFlare, but he gets to his feet and clinches Howard on the fence. Howard gets underhooks and slams LaFlare. Howard moves into half guard. Elbow from Howard. LaFlare with a fantastic sweep and he lands in side control. Howard then reverses LaFlare, but LaFlare gets to his feet. That was a wonderful exchange. Combination for LaFlare with kicks and punches. LaFlare clinches Howard and lands a knee on the fence. Underhooks for Howard and he turns LaFlare, but LaFlare turns him right back and lands a brutal low blow. Howard crumbles to the mat in pain. Audible yells and a grimace from Howard. The doctor is forced to come into the Octagon, and Howard looks like he is in terrible pain. Howard is set to continue after a four minute break, but looks like he is still in a lot of pain. On the restart, LaFlare lands a front kick. Howard pushes forward, but is taken down. Side control for LaFlare. Howard turtles up to his back and eats a knee to the body. Howard gets to his feet and has underhooks. Knee from LaFlare, and another. Body shots from laFlare. Reversal from Howard on a takedown, but LaFlare gets him clinched on the fence. LaFlare with another big knee. Howard turns LaFlare around, but is LaFlare turns him right back around. Howard breaks out and lands an uppercut. Howard clinches, but pushes back and lands a brutal combination on LaFlare. LaFlare is wobbly, but there is not much time left in the round. Howard goes high with a kick, but misses. 10-9 Howard
Round 3: Front kick from LaFlare. Inside leg kick drops LaFlare. LaFlare pops back to his feet, and is being stalked by Howard. Big takedown from LaFlare and he has Howard pinned up the fence. Another great reversal from Howard. Howard with another big left hook and a combination. LaFlare answers with a hard inside leg kick. Incredible exchange where LaFlare goes for a takedown, but Howard reverses him into mount momentarily before getting reversed by LaFlare. This is a fantastic MMA fight. Butterfly guard from Howard and he pushes LaFlare away momentarily. LaFlare’s top pressure is relentless. LaFlare passes into side control. Howard attempts a sweep, but is turtled up on his back. Howard tries to spin, but can not get up. These men are battling on the mat and it is a treat. Howard spins for a heel hook and he nearly has it. Howard can not get it and LaFlare gets back on top. Howard is attacking with a kimura from his back, but he can not finish it. That was a fantastic fight. 10-9 LaFlare.
Official Decision: Ryan LaFlare defeats John Howard by Unanimous Decision