Ryan LaFlare seems to be making a big impression.
Barely a month after his last fight and eight months after his UFC debut, LaFlare will now face Court McGee at UFC on FOX 9, replacing the injured Kelvin Gastelum.
The news was first reported Tuesday night by MMAJunkie.com.
The 30-year-old welterweight from Farmingdale, N.Y., has a wrestling base but shows a well-rounded skill set in the cage. In his UFC debut, he dominated Ben Alloway to earn a unanimous decision win at UFC on Fuel TV 9 in April. Just last weekend, he did it again to Santiago Ponzinibbio at UFC Fight Night 32 in Brazil.
LaFlare (9-0) is a veteran of New Jersey's Ring of Combat promotion, regarded by many as one of the best talent factories in regional MMA. It is clear his first two victories, both full of aggression despite going the distance, left a positive mark on UFC matchmakers if he got the nod from a crowded welterweight field. It probably also does not hurt that LaFlare is coming out of a camp and already in good shape, particularly since he did not suffer any major damage at UFC Fight Night 32.
McGee will easily be LaFlare's toughest professional test to date. A large welterweight, McGee has the wrestling prowess to match LaFlare and perhaps control him on the ground. McGee is also a tough and prolific, if not especially technical or powerful, competitor in the stand-up phase. The veteran and winner of The Ultimate Fighter 11 is looking to move to 3-0 as a welterweight in the UFC (most of his career to date has been spent at middleweight).
UFC on FOX 9 is one of the more star-crossed UFC cards of recent months. In addition to Gastelum's withdrawal, lightweight champion Anthony Pettis last week pulled out of his title defense against Josh Thomson, citing injury. The bout was subsequently canceled and replaced with Demetrious Johnson's flyweight title defense against Joseph Benavidez, which was originally scheduled to headline the The Ultimate Fighter 18 finale on Nov. 30.