Ryan LaFlare’s Nassau Coliseum dream turned into a nightmare in an instant on Saturday at UFC Long Island.
The Lindenhurst native was sent home with one shot by Alex Oliveira in the second round at UFC on Fox 25 on Saturday night. Oliveira caught LaFlare with a vicious counterpunch after LaFlare rushed in, sending LaFlare face-first into the canvas for a knockout at 1:50 of the second round.
Things started off as well as they could for LaFlare. He engaged Oliveira in the clinch early in the first, looking for a trip and eventually bringing Oliveira to the canvas. Oliveira looked to catch LaFlare with a submission, but LaFlare had little trouble fighting it off and advancing to side control, soon looking for a choke of his own. LaFlare maintained top position, but was unable to advance or do much damage. Oliveira tried to scramble with 1:30 left in the round, but LaFlare kept his cool and stayed on top. He tried to take force a late submission, but didn’t have time to finish the job before the horn sounded.
Both men opened the striking game in the second round, landing leg kicks and punches. LaFlare sought a takedown in the clinch but was stuffed. LaFlare eventually rushed in with his punches, but Oliveira was ready to counter and landed the nasty uppercut that ended the fight early.
After delivering the knockout blow, Oliveira jumped out of the cage, posing for photographers and being showered with boos from a mostly pro-LaFlare crowd.
LaFlare was taken to Nassau University Medical Center after his bout, a UFC official said.
“I knew that Ryan’s standup was OK, but his biggest asset is his wrestling and I stayed calm in the first round and I warmed up in the second and was able to execute my game plan. I’m strong at 170 and I’m here to stay in the welterweight division. Wherever the UFC puts me will be good, I just want to fight the best in the division.”
LaFlare was finished for the first time in his career, suffering just his second professional loss. He falls to 13-2 with a 6-2 record in the UFC. Oliveira improved to 18-3-1 (2 NC).