UFC Fight Night 62: Maia vs. LaFlare – Fight Picks And Kountermove Preview

Maia LaFlare

After the event of the year in Dallas, Texas last week, it’s back to basics for the UFC this week. The Octagon travels all the way down to the South American hotbed of Brazil for what, on paper, is a pretty mediocre card.

Topping the line up is, by far, the best bout of the night as New York prospect Ryan LaFlare has what is tantamount to an away fixture against veteran Damian Maia. Having gone the first eleven fights of his career undefeated, LaFlare’s progression has slammed on the breaks of late due to injury. The American was set to face Gunnar Nelson at UFC Dublin in July last but was forced to pull out and will be just over a year devoid of professional action when he steps back in on Saturday night. Like LaFlare, Maia has also been blighted by injury in the last year following a career threatening staph infection which has kept him out of action since May. Before that, Maia had an up and down time since dropping to welterweight with wins over gritty veterans Jon Fitch and Rick Story but losses to Jake Shields and Rory MacDonald. LaFlare has had no such fluctuations, winning unanimous decisions in all four of his UFC bouts to date.

Fighting out of the southpaw stance, LaFlare has been an extremely effective and impressive fighter in his young career. The American has very good defence in the striking and attacks with hard kicks to the body and combinations up high. LaFlare loves to mix wrestling into his game and will change levels in a second to get it on the deck. Although he has a dominating top game, that may not be the best option in his fight. Maia is a decorated Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and will be ultra dangerous should it hit the deck. On the feet, Maia hasn’t the best striking arsenal but he does have some good setups and trips to get it into his world.

With both men being out of action for so long it’s difficult to tell how they will look. We know what Maia will do, and that’s try to get the fight to the floor and look for a submission. LaFlare will look to avoid being on bottom at all costs while getting his grappling and striking into play. Although being elusive has been one of LaFlare’s strong points in the past, over five rounds, it will be fairly hard to keep away from Maia. Add in the fact it’s his first real step up in opponent, and on foreign soil, then LaFlare’s prospects don’t look too great. With that said, it’s certainly not impossible. And, If he can survive the submission attempts and take the fight into the latter rounds, LaFlare will probably be favoured. I think he might just have enough to establish a striking dominance which will make Maia’s finishing chances few and far between. Should be interesting either way.

In the co-main event, the only other two widely recognizable faces feature as, on just over a week’s notice, John Koscheck steps in to fight Erick Silva. Koscheck, who was choked out by Jake Ellenberger just 21 days previous to this fight, was a member of season one of The Ultimate Fighter and went on to fight for the welterweight title in a losing effort against Georges St-Pierre. The American has wins over the likes of Diego Sanchez, Matt Hughes and Anthony Johnson but has hit a downturn in his career since 2012. Koscheck hasn’t won a fight in his last four, losing to Johny Hendricks, Robbie Lawler, Tyron Woodley and the aforementioned Ellenberger but has wins. Silva, as of yet, hasn’t beaten anyone to that level. The Brazilian has been a highly touted prospect for years but at 5-4 in the UFC, without two consecutive Octagon wins as of yet, really needs a W here to keep his top level hopes on tap. Silva does have good wins over the inimitable Takenoti Sato, Jason High and Mike Rhodes last time out but Koscheck would be the first real scalp.

The fight itself, on paper at least, looks an appealing one styles wise if not in terms of rankings. Koscheck is a hard nosed wrestler with a technical striking game which has been sculpted over a long career and will try to push the pace in this one. Silva isn’t as easily described. The Brazilian is a wild striker with knockout power, good wrestling and some of the best attacking jiu-jitsu at the weight especially early on during any scrambles. Both men also have their flaws, though. Koscheck’s chin certainly what isn’t what it used to be while Silva also has been knocked out a couple of times. If both looking to capitalize on that, we could be in for an exciting bout. With such a short time period to prepare, after a fairly unimpressive outing three weeks ago, the deck seems stacked against the the Californian. On a full camp I’d probably pick Koscheck here but I think the speed of Silva might be too much for him on the feet while also having a huge advantage if he manages to get on top. Must win for both guts.

Outside of those two, there isn’t a whole lot to get excited for at the top level but quite a few prospects are featured. The best of those is probably Gilbert Burns who faces fellow lightweight Alex Oliveira after his original opponent Josh Thomson was injured during his preparations. Then, team alpha male featherweight Andre Fili fights for the second time in a row on Brazilian soil against another possible improver in Godofredo Castro while Leonardo Silva and Christos Giagos are also worth keeping an eye on.

FIGHT PICKS (Kountermove prices in brackets) 

Demian Maia (5,300) vs. Ryan LaFlare (5,200) – LaFlare avoids the sub, wins the decision
Erick Silva (5,300) vs. Josh Koscheck (4,300) – Interesting back and forth fight ends in a Silva sub
Leonardo Santos (4,900) vs. Tony Martin (4,700) – Goes to the ground, is exciting, Santos gets the sub
Amanda Nunes (5,500) vs. Shayna Baszler (4,100) – Nunes has her way with Baszler over three rounds
Gilbert Burns (5,300) vs. Alex Oliveira (4,300) – Burns gets the early finish      
Godofredo Castro (4,500)  vs. Andre Fili (5,100) – Away from home Fili gets the finish              
Francisco Trinaldo (5,000)  vs. Akbarh Arreola (4,600)  – I’m taking Arreola for the underdog decision
Kevin Souza (4,800) vs. Katsunori Kikuno (4,800) – Should be a straightforward win for Souza
Leandro Silva (4,600) vs. Drew Dober (5,000) –  The submission win goes to Silva             
Leonardo Mafra (4,700) vs.  Cain Carrizosa (4,700) – Close fight, Mafra gets the decision
Jorge de Oliveira (4,800)  vs. Christos Giagos (4,800) – Giagos takes the decision
Bentley Syler (4,300)  vs. Fredy Serrano (5,300) – Two inexperienced guys, I’ll go with Syler

KOUNTERMOVE FANTASY MMA PREVIEW

NatashaKM620

In Kountermove this week there is lots of money to be made for the shrewd fantasy player. The stand out fight in that respect has to be Silva vs. Koscheck. If you fancy Silva to get the finish that everyone is expecting he is available for a very affordable 5,300 while Koscheck at 4,300 is definitely something to think about due to Silva’s previous troubles against wrestlers at a high level. Outside of that you’ve got a lot of decisions to make in this card of even fights but Leonardo Silva and Akbarh Arreola both at 4,600 seems a steal while Gilbert Burns (5,300) and Amanda Nunes (5,500) are likely high scorers. The main event, though, will probably see the winning and losing of most fantasy games with LaFlare (5,200) and Maia (5,300) both likely to score high if they can get the win. Personally, I think LaFlare will land lots of strikes to earn many points and might even get a late finish.

So, to get started playing Kountermove fantasy MMA, simply follow these steps.

1. Click the link – http://www.kountermove.com/r/MMA/654925/

2. Sign up

3. Select a game

4. Select your 5 fighter team while staying under the 25,000 salary cap and submit.

5. Watch the money roll in!

If you haven’t played before, you might want to try the “Fantasy Sports Network’s UFC 185 Freeroll by Morency and Black” freeroll competition. Entry to this tournament is free and 1st place wins $150, 2nd gets $100, 3rd gets $75, 4th and 5th win $50 and more

BET OF THE WEEK

This week I’m going with an accumulator of LaFlare, Silva, Burns and Silva at around 5/2

START TIMES

Early Prelims – Fight Pass @ 11pm GMT

Prelims – BT Sport 1 @ 12am GMT

Main Card – BT Sport 1 @ 2am GMT

fantasymma

Podcaster, lead MMA writer and analyst for SevereMMA. Host of the SevereMMA podcast, out every Sunday. Economics and Mathematics graduate from UCC. Also write for Sherdog. Previously of hov-mma and fightbooth. As heard on 2FM, Red FM, Today FM and more. Follow me on twitter for updates @SeanSheehanBA and on Facebook Facebook.com/seansheehanmma