Gunnar Nelson vs. Ryan LaFlare Becomes First Official Bout For UFC Fight Night 46 In Dublin

Ryan LaFlare celebrates his win over Court McGee at UFC on FOX 9

The first official bout for the UFC’s first return to Ireland since UFC 93 has been announced, and it’s going to be a pivotal one.

Undefeated challengers Gunnar Nelson and Ryan LaFlare will square off at July 19’s UFC Fight Night 46 from the 02 Arena in Dublin, Ireland, marking what will be the end to one fighter’s flawless record.

Nelson and LaFlare bring the momentum expected of competitors whom have never tasted defeat. No. 13-ranked “Gunni” was last seen defeating Omari Akhmedov with a slick guillotine choke at March 8’s UFC Fight Night 37 at London’s O2 Arena.

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The Icelandic jiu-jitsu expert has fought three times since submitting DaMarques Johnson in his debut at UFC on Fuel TV 5. He followed that up with a decision win over Jorge Santiago at UFC on Fuel 7, running his promotional record to 3-0. Each of his bouts has been contested in England.

He’ll make his way to another part of Europe to face No. 15-ranked LaFlare, who should be by far his toughest test in the UFC. LaFlare has been highly active since debuting with a win over Ben Alloway at UFC on Fuel TV 9 in April 2013. LaFlare has fought and won four times in that span, his most recent being a unanimous decision win over John  “Doomsday” Howard at UFC Fight Night 39 on April 11 in Abu Dhabi.

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The well-traveled Long Island-based LaFlare has looked nearly flawless in his short but destructive UFC stint, also owning a win over TUF grinder Court McGee at UFC on FOX 9. If there’s any knock on LaFlare, it’s that he’s won each UFC bout by decision; he could use a finish to help vault his name into the mainstream.

UFC Fight Night 46 is also rumored to feature the return of Irish featherweight Conor McGregor, who has been in talks to face Cole Miller, and the long-awaited flyweight contest between beloved Englishman Brad “One Punch” Pickett and formerly scheduled opponent Ian McCall.

With the UFC welterweight division arguably the most talented in all of MMA right now, each win over a Top 15-ranked challenger is going to come at a premium, and the victor of this bout will build on his already impressive win streak while keeping a perfect record intact.

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That adds up to some serious implications for this fight. Are you taking Nelson to pick up another win close to home, or will the stifling LaFlare shut down another UFC opponent to win five straight in the Octagon?

Photo: Kyle Terada for USA TODAY Sports