Strikeforce welterweight Ryan Laflare’s journey from Prospect to Contender

Posted: August 28, 2012 in Combat Sports, UFC
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There is no road map to ensure a safe trip, between prospect and contender. Redemption is never guaranteed, and the only assurance your receive are nagging injuries, and bruised egos.  Strikeforce welterweight prospect Ryan Laflare is no stranger to any of these roadblocks. Currently 6-0 as a professional, and entering Strikeforce as the reigning Ring of Combat Welterweight Champion Laflare is entering a world of possibility, with a fight ethic and pedigree that shows great promise.

As an avid athlete, Laflare’s journey to the mixed martial arts world is an all too familiar one, with rather unusual results. As a high school and collegiate wrestling champion, Laflare’s foundation like many, began quite normally. After completing High School, he began to study the art of Brazilian Ju Jitsu. He excelled, but Laflare, wanted to become a well rounded fighter, so he decided to take up kickboxing! At the age of 23 he began training MuayThai, and studying under the tutelage of renown striking instructor Keith Trimble at Bellmore Kickboxing Academy. Immediately his striking showed incredible promise, odd for a grappler of his caliber and back-round. Although a gym taught wrestler, Laflare developed his early striking skills on the streets of Long Island. With a tough foundation, technique was built, quickly. After showing promise in two amateur fights, that ended decisively, Laflare was ready to turn pro. “Both my amateur fights ended quickly, with one win coming by armbar, the other by TKO” Laflare said.

With his brief amateur career in the rear-view mirror, and after consistently getting the better of pro teammates in sparring, Laflare booked his first professional fight with Ring of Combat. Normally first time professionals, feel a gambit of emotions that vary from nervous jitters, to intense energy. However, for Laflare it was much different. “When I was a wrestler I was my own worst enemy”, Laflare said. “But, now for some reason I don’t get nervous, maybe a little anxiety!” Anxiety, that he attributes to eagerness. “Once the cage closes, and I look into [my opponents] eyes,  its kill or be killed, there is no emotion!” Laflare said.

Compiling an impressive 6 fight win streak in Ring of Combat, Laflare became the promotion stalwart, and walked through everyone put in front of him leading to his first title, and eventually to a call from Strikeforce. With his dreams on the horizon, a bad rash of luck led to several injuries that left Laflare without an opponent, and then unable to fight. First a bad car accident led to wrist surgery, then while training a severe knee injury led ACL surgery.  With a long lay-off, his professional fate in limbo and a growing family Laflare was forced too re-dedicate himself to the sport across the board.

Now finally healthy, the welterweight prospect is ready to stake his claim in the Strikeforce welterweight division. However, Laflare knows the road is going to get more difficult, and he seems ready. One aspect of Laflare’s personality that makes him so magnetic, is his humble attitude. “I’m not looking to get in with Nate Marquardt right away, ‘Who am I’, I haven’t fought anyone yet.” Laflare said. Currently, there is a fight in the works, however it has not been announced yet, so it’s still anyone’s guess who Laflare will face first. “I just want to put on a good fight, I’m ready. Laflare said.

The injuries sustained may have prevented him from competing, however for the past 2 years Laflare has been assisting fellow Long Island Martial artists with their fight preparation, in nearly every capacity. Long Island has a real tight-knit community of MMA Fighters, so Laflare helped prepare UFC fighters like Costas Philippou and Chris Weidman (Team Serra/Longo), as well as his own promising team-mates  Chris Wade (3-0 MMA), Gregor Gillespie (former NCAA champion wrestler), and UFC fighter Dennis Bermudez (9-3 mma 2-1 UFC).

Although injured, the past two years were used to rehabilitate, and too improve on an already impressive arsenal of weaponry. “I spent some time down with the Blackzillian camp, and trained a lot with Henri Hooft” Laflare said. “If you think my striking was good before, I’ve had two years to improve on it!” It is hard to imagine how a fighter like Laflare can become more dynamic. Ryan already possesses a unique blend of dynamic striking, and explosive positioning. Whoever Scott Coker puts across from him, had better be ready for the intelligent fury that has thrust this young fighter from prospect to contender.

  1. Well written my man. Ryan has been building quite the name for himself locally here on Long Island. He’s as dedicated as they come and I can’t wait to see him unleash his talents on some of these fellow pros. I wish him, his family and his career all the success he deserves!


  2. brian says:

    Ryan Owns and operates Long Island MMA and Fitness Center in Lindenhurst NY, where he grew up


    • Yeah, he was telling me about all of his fellow team mates. Ryan is a great guy, I am myself am from Long Island, so we know a few of the same people. Usually fighters love talking about themselves, Ryan would rather talk about how awesome his fighters are! A refreshing change!


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