The UFC’s debut event in Brooklyn has its first local connection.
Long Island’s Ryan LaFlare will be fighting Roan Carneiro at UFC 208 on Feb. 11 at Barclays Center, the fighter announced on his Facebook page Thursday. The UFC has yet to officially announce any bouts for the event.
“It’s a dream come true,” LaFlare told Newsday. “I can’t wait to finally perform in front of my home crowd. But at the end of the day, the octagon always has the same eight walls and a fight is a fight no matter where it is.”
LaFlare (12-1, 5-1 UFC) has been out of competition with injuries since defeating Mike Pierce by unanimous decision in Dec. 11, 2015. That was his first fight since the only loss of his professional career, a five-round decision against top contender Demian Maia in March 2015.
Carneiro (21-10, 4-4 UFC) is in his second stint with the promotion. He’s coming off a split-decision win over Kenny Robertson in September.
This will be the first time LaFlare, who grew up in Lindenhurst and now co-owns and trains out of Long Island MMA in Farmingdale, has fought in New York since the ban on professional MMA was lifted earlier this year.
It also is the closest he has fought to home since first joining the UFC in 2013. His previous fights have been in Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, California, Nevada and twice in Brazil.
He’ll be the third Long Islander to fight for the UFC in New York following Chris Weidman, who lost to Yoel Romero at UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden, and Gian Villante, who fights Saparbek Safarov at UFC Fight Night 102 in Albany on Friday.