Lorenz Larkin made the decision in March to jump from the Ultimate Fighting Championship to Bellator MMA, joining other fights like Phil Davis, Rory MacDonald, Matt Mitrione and Valerie Letourneau. The 30-year-old Riverside, California, native will challenge Douglas Lima for the welterweight championship in his promotional debut at Bellator 180 this Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Larkin competed in multiple weight classes before settling in at 170 pounds. A failed encounter with Muhammed Lawal in 2012 prompted a move from light heavyweight to middleweight, and losses to Francis Carmont, Brad Tavares, Costas Philippou and Derek Brunson resulted in his decision to downshift to welterweight. Larkin has no regrets about the path he took.
“I think everything happens for a reason,” he said in the latest installment of the Sherdog Forums Q&A series, “and if I didn’t go through everything, who knows, I might not be at welterweight.”
The Millennia MMA export owns victories over former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler, “The Ultimate Fighter 16” semifinalist Neil Magny and two American Top Team reps: Jorge Masvidal and Santiago Ponzinibbio. Larkin will enter the cage against Lima on a two-fight winning streak and has no plans to allow the judges to involve themselves in the outcome.
“I [expletive] hate it [when it goes to the scorecards],” he said. “I’m always thinking, ‘What the [expletive] are these judges going to say?’”
Larkin went 5-5 in his 10-fight stint with the UFC, and it came as a surprise to some when the organization did not do more to keep him away from Bellator. For his part, “The Monsoon” admits he would have liked to have taken on a few more challenges inside the Octagon, a battle with Donald Cerrone chief among them. A hypothetical bout with Stephen Thompson also interested him.
“I feel like ‘Wonderboy” always gets clipped,” Larkin said. “You just have to stay on top of him and be smart about the shots that you pick on him and not go for guillotines.”
Larkin has compiled a 4-1 record since moving to welterweight, a split decision loss to Albert Tumenov his only misstep. While he has not fought since he stopped Magny with elbows at UFC 202 on Aug. 20, he showed no concern regarding the layoff and potential rust. Larkin adheres to Dominick Cruz way of thinking on the subject: “Ring rust is nothing more than mental weakness.” Nevertheless, he has a difficult task in front of him. Lima captured the welterweight title at Bellator 164 in November, when he knocked out Andrey Koreshkov in Israel. The Atlanta-based Brazilian has won 16 of his past 18 bouts.
A unique kick-heavy style that features a variety of spinning attacks has made Larkin a fan favorite. That he has excelled while utilizing more traditional martial arts techniques comes as little surprise to him.
“I think that you can use a traditional art in MMA as long as you adapt it to MMA and take some things that work in that style and use it in MMA,” Larkin said, “but just to go in as one traditional martial artist, you won’t ever make it.”