Make no mistake, the Bellator MMA welterweight division is a shark tank. And recent UFC departure Lorenz Larkin has found that out the hard way.
The 31-year-old Californian was on a great run of form when he signed with Bellator earlier this year. In his last five fights with the UFC, he had scored four victories – three of which came via KO/TKO. During that stint he had claimed some impressive scalps, finishing Santiago Ponzinibbio and scoring a split decision win over Jorge Masvidal. In his last appearance in the octagon he scythed through Neil Magny in scarcely believable fashion and ended the lanky contender’s three-fight winning streak.
As of last night, however, Larkin is 0-2 in Bellator.
Paul Daley’s last outing saw him lose to another recent UFC departure in Rory MacDonald, but the Englishman bounced back impressively to fell Larkin with his vaunted left hook at Bellator 183 in San Jose, California.
Larkin won the first round, utilizing kicks to the legs and body, as well as some sharp counter punching. But that all became academic midway through the second round. As the pair broke out of a clinch along the cage, Larkin landed a knee that looked like it buzzed Daley slightly, but the explosive 34-year-old responded with a spinning back-fist. The strike didn’t land cleanly but it provided enough of a distraction for Daley to sneak in an extremely short, lightning-fast and vicious left hook that wobbled Larkin to his soles. A ruthless finisher, Daley was not about to let Larkin off the hook and a scintillating salvo of hooks followed. Once he hit the floor, Larkin ate a single hammer-fist before referee Mike Beltran halted the action.
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After the fight, Daley called out fellow savant of savagery and countryman Michael ‘Venom’ Page, who is scheduled to make his professional boxing debut next month.
“Back home you’ve got a very similar character to me, a little young boy called ‘MVP’ over in the UK that keeps talking on social media,” said Daley. “Get that little punk in here with me. He’s getting knocked out as well(via MMAFighting).”
The knockout loss to Daley follows Larkin’s unsuccessful challenge for the Bellator welterweight title against Douglas Lima back in June – that defeat came via unanimous decision after five rounds. Right now, he desperately needs a win to remain relevant in an increasingly interesting division, but he has displayed resiliency in the past. Remember, Larkin lost four of his first five in the UFC, albeit at middleweight, before rebounding with four wins in his last five at welterweight.
Elsewhere at Bellator 183, heavyweight Roy Nelson made a successful Bellator debut, winning a unanimous decision against Javy Ayala, and former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson dropped to 1-3 in Bellator after he lost a split decision to Brazil’s Patricky Freire in the three-round main event.