It might seem like the only MMA fans care about right now is March Madness but often it’s when you least expect it that a fight card shines with stoppages. This weekend’s Ultimate Fight Night 62: Maia v LaFlare has already taken several hits with injuries plaguing nearly one-third of the scheduled fights. In the end we’re left with Ryan LaFlare putting his perfect 11-0 record against veteran submission artist Demian Maia in the main event. Let’s check out the Little Fight Night That…Might.
Ryan LaFlare (10,400) vs Demian Maia (9,300)
The main event presents a showcase of old guard vs new breed. Playing the part of the (relatively) young lion, Ryan LaFlare does everything well and has knack for taking people down to pummel them senseless. But crafty jiu-jitsu ace Demian Maia is never a good person to take down and has been experiencing a renaissance, albeit an inconsistent one, at 170lbs. LaFlare will have size, speed and strength on his side but perhaps the biggest difference between these two men is the quality of opponent they have faced in their careers. Maia is a former #1 contender (at middleweight) and recently showed grit in a loss against potential title-holder Rory MacDonald. He’s used to hanging with the best and defeating lesser fighters.
Will Ryan LaFlare use Demian Maia as his stepping-stone to the upper ranks of the 170lb division? If LaFlare keeps his distance and respects his elder’s grappling pedigree then he should find success. However, that is the opposite of his usual ‘rumble’ and wrestle style, which might find him on the wrong side of a grappling exchange with a man with six submission victories in the UFC.
Prediction: Ryan LaFlare via unanimous decision
Erick Silva (11,900) vs Josh Koshcheck (7,500)
A late replacement fighter on a four-fight losing-streak (three of them by way of stoppage) with one foot out the door faces a dangerous striker in enemy territory. It seems as if the odds couldn’t be stacked higher against soon-to-be retiree Josh ‘Kos’ Koshcheck. The sole glimmer of hope is his opponent Erik Silva’s inability to string wins together as Silva’s been flip-flopping from impressive finishes to disappointing losses throughout his UFC career. This one is a coin toss due to each fighter’s inconsistencies but Silva is unlikely to find an easier opportunity to finally connect two wins together than this.
Similarly to the main event, the veteran ‘Kos’ has been fighting much higher-level competition but it’s more correct to say that he has been repeatedly humbled by much higher-level competition. If Silva doesn’t finish in the first round then Kos will have a chance to wrestle for a decision victory.
Prediction: Josh Koshcheck via unanimous decision
Amanda Nunes (11,700) vs Shanya Baszler (7,700)
The only WMMA bout of the evening features Amanda Nunes attempting to regain her footing in the bantamweight division against an equally hungry Shanya Baszler. Both women are coming off losses against previous title challengers and are likely to fight with urgency from the opening bell. Nunes should hold an advantage in athleticism and intensity but she has to be careful not to make the same mistakes that lead her to defeat against “Alpha” Cat Zingano last fall. If she can control her aggression and energy she should be able to finish journeywoman Shayna.
Prediction: Amanda Nunes via TKO
Gilbert Burns (12,000) vs Alex Oliveira (7,400)
Undefeated Gilbert Burns faces off Alex Oliveira, who is another one of the late replacements to this card. UFN 62 will be Oliveira’s first time in the UFC after earning 10 wins with 8 of those coming via KO. This might be appealing and would have the makings for an upset except Burns has made a habit of beating fighters in their premiere UFC match and seems destined for greater opportunities.
Prediction: Gilbert Burns via unanimous decision.
Andre Fili (11,500) vs Godofredo ‘Pepey’ Castro (7,900)
The potential fight of the night goes to the up-and-coming Andre Fili and the always-unpredictable Godofredo ‘Pepey’ Castro. Fili has been developing into a consistently potent fighter and trains with the elite at Team Alpha Male. He should be able to handle Pepey’s skill-set and capitalize on openings created by Godofredo’s high-risk style. That said, there is a severe lack of valuable underdogs on this card and if anyone is game for the upset, it’s Pepey.
Prediction: Godofredo Pepey via submission