SACRAMENTO – Ryan LaFlare got the biggest step up in competition of his career in a short-notice fight, and he passed the test.

LaFlare had to eat a few punches along the way, but he punched his way past “Ultimate Fighter” winner Court McGee for his third straight win in the UFC. LaFlare took 29-28 nods from all three judges in the victory.

The welterweight bout closed out the preliminary card of today’s UFC on FOX 9 event at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento. It aired on FOX Sports 1 following an additional prelim on MMAjunkie and ahead of the main card on FOX.

LaFlare looked for a takedown after a feeling-out process, and stayed after it. But McGee popped up quickly to land a body kick. Ninety seconds in, McGee put a good flurry on LaFlare, but LaFlare answered back with a combo of his own. Both fighters were cut open from eating leather, but with 90 seconds left in the round, McGee caught a kick and took LaFlare to the canvas for his best opportunity of the round. LaFlare scrambled back to his feet, though, and continued to put punches on McGee, both upstairs and to the body.

LaFlare continued to look for that one big shot against McGee in the second, but when the opportunity presented itself, he took McGee to the canvas. A McGee chance to get on top midway through the frame in full mount was shucked off by LaFlare, who moved back to his feet. WIth less than a minute left, LaFlare briefly had side control on the ground, but a severely bloodied McGee got back to his feet to finish the round standing.

McGee tried to get busy in the third, but LaFlare fired back and landed a left that stopped McGee in his tracks. LaFlare spun past a takedown seconds later. LaFlare stumbled a couple minutes into the round, and McGee had a brief opportunity for a guillotine choke that he couldn’t get far enough started on to have LaFlare in much danger.

“I took this fight on short notice, but everything has a way of working out,” LaFlare said. “I mean, there was a point where I went almost two and a half years without a fight. That’s why I take fights when I can, because you don’t have any control when they might be available. I’m just happy to be 3-0 in the UFC and am looking forward to getting another fight – but I think I might enjoy a vacation first.”

LaFlare (10-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) stayed unbeaten and will finish the calendar year with a 4-0 record, including all three of his UFC fights after a 7-0 run for Ring of Combat. McGee (16-4 MMA, 5-3 UFC) had a two-fight winning streak snapped with the loss.

Up-to-the-minute UFC on FOX 9 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC on FOX 9, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.

John Morgan and Steven Marrocco contributed to this report on-site in Sacramento.

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