Something will have to give when two talented top-15 welterweights put their unbeaten records on the line at UFC Fight Night Dublin on July 19. Both Ryan LaFlare and Gunnar Nelson have been impressive in their Octagon tenures combining for seven victories between them. LaFlare most recently secured a unanimous decision victory over John Howard at Fight Night 39 in Abu Dhabi, while Nelson returned after a lengthy absence to submit Omari Akhmedov at Fight Night 37 in England.
The no.15 ranked LaFlare has reeled off 11 straight victories to begin his career. He hasn’t been able to produce a finish during his UFC tenure with four straight decision wins after beginning his professional career with seven consecutive stoppages. The 30-year-old LaFlare has a solid wrestling background and showcases a diversified striking game with his volume punches and leg kicks. LaFlare also showed a pretty good chin against “Doomsday” as he took a couple of hard shots but was able to quickly clear the cobwebs. He owns other Octagon victories over former TUF winner Court McGee, Santiago Ponzinibbio and Ben Alloway.
Nelson is an Icelandic warrior who is currently one of the best submission specialists in the sport. He made quick work of Akhmedov in London to earn a Performance of the Night bonus. The fight marked his Octagon return after a 13 month absence due to injury. The 25-year-old Nelson has an unorthodox style but possesses formidable power and a tremendously dangerous ground game thanks to his elite jiu-jitsu skills.
He’s 12-0-1 in his career with 11 finishes by knockout or submission with that draw coming in his first career fight. The No. 13 ranked Nelson is regarded by many as one of the brightest prospects in the 170-pound division. His other UFC wins have come against Jorge Santiago and DaMarques Johnson.
This is a very intriguing matchup and fans in Ireland should be treated to an entertaining affair between two competitors looking to maintain perfect records. The winner will definitely be poised to tangle with top-10 competition moving forward.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports