"It’s gonna be that fight that a lot of people are going to be talking about." - Lorenz Larkin
In his physical prime and eager to show just what he can do in the UFC’s middleweight division, Lorenz Larkin has grown tired of the waiting game. And while he returns to active duty on Wednesday against fellow up and comer Chris Camozzi, from this point on, he wants to make it known that he’s ready to go: anytime, anyplace, against anyone.
“I like to fight as much as I can,” he said. “I don’t really like the big breaks. If it was up to me, I’d be fighting six times a year, but I think that’s going to be my next route, just stay ready and tell the UFC that I’m ready. If there’s an injury, I’m there.”
On the sidelines since April, Larkin’s wait has been made more frustrating to deal with simply because that April bout against Canada’s Francis Carmont saw him lose a controversial unanimous decision. And no one wants to sit for seven months while coming off a loss.
“I don’t feel like it was in devastating fashion, but I do feel like I won,” said Larkin. “I left it up to the judges and that’s what happens sometimes. It makes me learn from it and not be so hesitant, but in a way, it kind of made me feel better about my game, as weird as that might sound. I haven’t got to check out his last fight with (Costa) Philippou, but I heard he just kept taking him down and grinding him out, and I always looked up to all these guys because they were at the top of the weight class. So it pumped me up a little bit because Carmont wasn’t taking me down like that and he wasn’t dominating me.”
Many even believed Larkin did enough to win the decision, despite not showing off the often explosive attack that marked his five-fight Strikeforce stint. But as we find out more and more as the years go by, MMA judging is an inexact science, and one open to different interpretations by whoever is sitting on a stool at Octagonside on any given night. Larkin agrees.
“I consider a takedown something where a guy takes someone down and holds him there for a few seconds and establishes a position,” he said. “But I feel like if a guy just picks a guy up, slams him, and the guy scrambles right back to his feet, I don’t think that counts for anything. Or just to reference my fight with Carmont, the two takedowns he got, one was in the last 10 seconds of the round and he didn’t punch me or do anything, he just held me to the bell. That I’ll count as a takedown. The other one, he took me down and held me, but I was working, I went for submission attempts, and I swept him. Do those count for anything these days?”
Good question, but as his Wednesday bout with Camozzi approaches, many feel that given the two styles on display, takedowns and the judges won’t be necessary.
“I’m really pumped about everything about this fight other than that maybe not too many people are gonna get to watch it,” said Larkin of the bout, which will head up the online fights portion of the Fight for the Troops card. “I don’t understand the placement, but it doesn’t matter to me. The good thing is, just like Chris is saying, it’s gonna be that fight that a lot of people are going to be talking about.”
It’s also the kind of fight both need. The 27-year-old Larkin wants to erase the memory of the less than scintillating Carmont bout, and Camozzi wants to get back in the win column as well after seeing a four fight winning streak snapped against Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in May. Stakes like that usually produce fireworks, and considering that Larkin has eight of his 13 wins by knockout and Camozzi is respected throughout the division for his aggressive standup attack, things could take off at the opening bell.
And if Riverside, California’s Larkin ends up leaving Kentucky with his 14th pro win, he will regain the buzz he picked up in Strikeforce thanks to his victories over Gian Villante and Robbie Lawler, and with him finally settled in at 185 pounds after fighting most of his career at light heavyweight, he hopes this is the statement that will end 2013 in style and prep him for a big 2014.
“I think the biggest thing as far as me fighting has always been my weight,” said Larkin, 13-1 with 1 NC. “It’s never been a hard, hard cut, but it’s something that I wasn’t used to and I never really had to cut weight like that. But now, I feel the whole change of me being real comfortable at 185 and I feel like this whole year has been about me getting comfortable at 185. So it’s perfect timing at the end of the year to really see how it goes.”
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