UFC Long Island: Ryan LaFlare becomes latest LI fighter added to Nassau Coliseum card, will face Alex Oliveira
At this point, it’s easier to say which Long Island fighters won’t be competing at the UFC’s Nassau Coliseum debut.
Another local connection was added to the card Thursday as LI’s Ryan LaFlare will face Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira in a welterweight bout at UFC on Fox 25 on July 22. The promotion also announced a welterweight bout between Harlem-born Lyman Good and Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos, as well as a middleweight contest between Manhattan’s Rafael Natal and Alessio Di Chirico.
The co-owner of Long Island MMA in Farmingdale, LaFlare (13-1, 6-1 UFC) is the fifth LI fighter to be slated for the card. He joins Chris Weidman, Gian Villante, Chris Wade and Dennis Bermudez for the promotion’s first event on Long Island.
LaFlare, the No. 12 ranked welterweight in the UFC, will be in the cage for the second time this year, a big accomplishment for a skilled fighter who has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career. The 33-year-old beat Roan Carneiro via unanimous decision at UFC 208 in February at Barclays Center, his first fight after a 14-month layoff due to injuries. LaFlare has just one loss in his professional career — a decision loss to top-ranked welterweight contender Demian Maia in March 2015.
Coincidentally, Oliveira (17-3-2, 2 NC) made his UFC debut the night LaFlare fought Maia, losing by submission to Gilbert Burns. The Brazilian is 6-2 with a no contest in his UFC career, beating Tim Means in a rematch via rear-naked choke in March his last time out.
Manhattan’s Good (19-3, 1 NC) is attempting to make his New York debut for the second time. He was scheduled to fight at UFC 205 in November at Madison Square Garden, but was removed due to an anti-doping violation. Good was suspended by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for six months after a tainted supplement resulted in a positive test. He has just one UFC appearance, a knockout victory over Andrew Craig in July 2015.
Dos Santos (16-5, 2-1 UFC) will make the walk for the first time in 2017. He returns after a unanimous decision win over Keita Nakamura last October.
Natal (21-8-1, 9-6 UFC) hopes to turn his luck around in his adopted home state. The Brazil native fought at UFC 205 at MSG, about 15 blocks from his Manhattan home, but was knocked out by Tim Boetsch in the first round. “Sapo” is riding a two-fight losing streak, his last win coming against Kevin Casey in January 2016.
Di Chirico (10-2, 1-2 UFC) will bring some Italian flavor to Long Island when he faces Natal. Fighting out of Rome, Italy, Di Chirico last fought in January, falling to Eric Spicely via triangle choke in the first round.
UFC on Fox 25 is set to be headlined by a middleweight bout between Weidman and Kelvin Gastelum. Tickets go on sale June 2.