Category Archives: Lorenz Larkin

Lorenz Larkin: Bellator already has promoted me more for 1 fight than UFC ever did

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NEW YORK – Lorenz Larkin couldn’t be happier with his decision to sign with Bellator as his promotional debut approaches on Saturday at Bellator NYC.

Larkin (18-5 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) felt underutilized and under-promoted over the course of his 10-fight UFC tenure. However, with Bellator, he was immediately placed in a welterweight championship fight with Douglas Lima (28-6 MMA, 10-2 BMMA), which takes place on the Bellator NYC pay-per-view lineup at Madison Square Garden following the Bellator 180 card on Spike.

Larkin said the push he’s received from Bellator is a complete 180 from his time with the UFC, and as a result “The Monsoon” is in a happy and comfortable place ahead of his first major championship bout.

“I have no complaints (about Bellator),” Larkin told MMAjunkie. “I feel like I probably got promoted out of this card more than my whole career with (the UFC). It’s kind of bittersweet, but it’s a great position I’m at right now, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world right now.”

Larkin, No. 7 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA welterweight rankings, also said he appreciates the fact he’s free to dress how he pleases ahead of Bellator NYC, something which was not the case when he was forced to adhere to the UFC’s Athlete Outfitting Policy deal with Reebok.

“It just allows me to be myself,” Larkin said. “It allows me to wear what I want to wear. It allows me to be me. I’m not up here wearing a private school uniform. So, I can’t complain.”

Larkin believes his happiness is going to transition into a stellar performance against Lima. Getting a title shot right off the bat against No. 13-ranked Lima can be a pressure-filled moment, but Larkin doesn’t see it that way. He believes he has considerable advantages over the 170-pound champ, who he says has not faced an opponent with his abilities.

“A lot of the guys I’ve fought are strikers,” Larkin said. “He’s a great fighter, but there’s nothing in his repertoire that I’ve not seen before or strikes me as something I really, really need to train for. I felt like I’ve seen it before at one weight class or another. There’s nothing that’s surprised me. If anything, my style is going to frustrate him. From the fights I’ve seen, he’s never fought a guy like me.”

Should Larkin capture the belt at Bellator NYC, his first challenger will come in the form of fellow former UFC fighter Rory MacDonald (19-4 MMA, 1-0 BMMA), who made a successful Bellator debut with a second-round submission of Paul Daley in May. In the lead-up to the fight Lima has been asked about a fight with MacDonald, but Larkin hasn’t been approached with the same questions.

Larkin said he looks forward to an eventual showdown with “The Red King,” but he’s not particularly impressed by what he did against Daley.

“His performance was good, but his opponent’s performance was horrible,” Larkin said. “So I can’t really judge his performance. Yeah, he went in there and killed the dude, but I didn’t even feel like the guy was training. It didn’t look like he was trying or anything like that. I can’t judge that. The guy didn’t fight back to me. But when I hear things, and they talk about Lima and his thoughts on Rory, just keep them coming. It’s just going to feel that much better when they start asking me after the fight.”

For more on Bellator NYC and Bellator 180, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator's Scott Coker: Champ Douglas Lima is 'the best welterweight in the world right now'

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured Videos, News, Videos

Sorry, Tyron Woodley. But for Bellator CEO Scott Coker, the 170-pound division has another undisputed king across the board.

Douglas Lima is a killer,” Coker said in a promotional video leading up to Saturday’s Bellator NYC pay-per-view affair at Madison Square Garden in New York. “I’ll say here, he is the best welterweight in the world right now.”

OK, so Coker may be a little biased. But a look at champ Lima’s record show the claims are not completely without merit. Since his Bellator debut in 2011, Lima has only two losses. The most recent, a title-costing one to Andrey Koreshkov, was later avenged – with Lima re-claiming the belt in the process. Of his 28 career wins, a whopping 24 were finishes.

Lima (28-6 MMA, 10-2 BMMA), who’s also No. 13 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA welterweight rankings, puts his belt on the line against No. 7 Lorenz Larkin (18-5 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) – a former 205-pounder who makes his Bellator debut on the heels of major UFC wins over contenders Neil Magny and Jorge Masvidal.

Of course, the 170-pound crown is not the only one up for grabs at Saturday’s event. Lightweight champ Michael Chandler (16-3 MMA, 13-3 BMMA) also tries to keep his majesty when he meets undefeated Brent Primus (7-0 MMA, 5-0 BMMA).

Dubbed the “Mike Tyson of Bellator” by Coker, the champ is clearly feeling up to the task.

“Brent Primus is young, tough guy,” Chandler said. “I’m excited for him. But I’m as close to unbeatable as I’m ever going to be in this sport.”

Primus, however, has some high-caliber support speaking on his behalf. Chael Sonnen, who headlines the card in a long-awaited meeting with longtime foe and MMA legend Wanderlei Silva, is encouraged by what he saw in training with the up-and-comer.

“As fighters, we all know who the best is,” Sonnen said. “We all know who’s where in that weight class. I’ll tell you right now: Michael Chandler, he’s got problems with Brent Primus. Primus is the right guy for this job.”

To hear more from the people involved in Bellator NYC, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of Bellator NYC and Bellator 180, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, Featured Videos, News, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Never beat anybody good? Douglas Lima says he'll answer those critics at Bellator NYC

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Filed under: Bellator, News

Bellator welterweight champ Douglas Lima currently sits at No. 13 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA welterweight rankings, and he knows what it will take to move up that list. That’s why he’s happy Lorenz Larkin signed with Bellator.

“It’s what I wanted – an opponent like Lorenz Larkin,” Lima told MMAjunkie. “He’s coming off important victories over Neil Magny and Jorge Masvidal, and he’s beat a lot of other tough, high-profile fighters. It’s what I need in my career.”

Of course, Lima is on a pretty respectable run, as well. After all, his last two wins have come over the likes of former champ Andrey Koreshkov and British slugger Paul Daley. The Koreshkov win was especially satisfying, since it not only meant earning back the Bellator title but also avenging a loss to the durable Russian.

“This last fight against Andrey Koreshkov was great,” Lima said. “He’s one of the toughest fighters in our weight class. He’s not only fast, but also strong. He’s big and strong. I knew it’d be a tough fight, but … it went well. I think my low kicks defined the fight from the start. I was landing and hurting him. I think that’s why he rushed me on the third round. He was hurt and probably wouldn’t be able to stand in the fourth or fifth round like that, so he tried to finish me in the third, and that’s how I found the opening for the knockout.

“I was really happy with that win, especially since it was a KO. People had been praising Koreshkov since he was coming off a win over Benson Henderson. He ran Henderson over, so we were very happy with the fact that I beat Koreshkov the way I did, and when I did.”

Now Lima (28-6 MMA, 10-2 UFC) puts his belt on the line against Larkin (18-5 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who sits at No. 7 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie list and makes his Bellator debut at Saturday’s Bellator NYC pay-per-view event at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Lima said it’s an opportunity to prove to the world exactly what he’s capable of as a fighter – and a moment he’s been anticipating for quite some time.

“I’ve been following Lorenz for some time now,” Lima said. “I really enjoy his fighting style. He always looks for a finish. I think that matches up well with my game. I always envisioned us fighting. I knew his style would make for a great fight with me.

“I’m really happy, especially since this is Bellator’s first time at Madison Square Garden. It’s an honor. I think our fight could have been the main event. It’s going to be explosive. I’m getting ready. I’m in a great moment in my career. I’m training more intelligently as I get older. We learn with age. I’m almost 30. I want to give everything I have in there. I want to deliver another exciting fight. I’ll look for a knockout or submission.”

A victory would certainly up Lima’s stock, and the Bellator champion is well aware of that reality. While the UFC still holds the majority of the world’s top welterweights, Bellator is constantly looking to add talent to its roster, and Lima wants to take advantage of every opportunity he’s given against top-tier competition.

“This is another chance to prove that we (at Bellator) deserve to be regarded as top fighters,” Lima said. “Sometimes people like to claim that a certain fighter never beat anyone good. That’s been said about Koreshkov and Paul Daley. This is just another chance to show what I can do against one of the best in the world. I’m very excited for this fight.

“I’d like to thank those fans who’ve been with me since the start. And as far as the doubters, I’m here to prove again that I deserve to be at the top and hold this belt. I’m going to defend my belt in spectacular fashion.”

For more on Bellator NYC, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

MMAjunkie reader predictions: Make your picks for Bellator NYC at Madison Square Garden

We want your predictions for this week’s Bellator NYC event in New York City.

In late 2015, we expanded upon our traditional staff picks to include the consensus picks from MMAjunkie readers. Simply cast your vote for each bout below, and we’ll use the official tallies that are registered by Thursday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT).

Those MMAjunkie MMA reader consensus picks will be part of the Bellator NYC staff picks we release on Friday ahead of the event. Bellator NYC takes place Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The main card airs on pay-per-view following the Bellator 180 portion on Spike and MMAjunkie.

* * * *

Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva

Records: Chael Sonnen (29-15-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA), Wanderlei Silva (35-12-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA)
Past five: Sonnen 1-4, Silva 3-2
Division: Light heavyweight
Rankings: None

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Fedor Emelianenko vs. Matt Mitrione

Records: Fedor Emelianenko (36-4 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), Matt Mitrione (11-5 MMA, 2-0 BMMA)
Past five: Emelianenko 5-0, Mitrione 3-2
Division: Heavyweight
Rankings: Mitrione No. 14

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Douglas Lima vs. Lorenz Larkin

Records: Douglas Lima (28-6 MMA, 10-2 BMMA), Lorenz Larkin (18-5 MMA, 0-0 BMMA)
Past five: Lima 4-1, Larkin 4-1
Division: Welterweight
Rankings: Larkin No. 8, Lima No. 12

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Michael Chandler vs. Brent Primus

Records: Michael Chandler (16-3 MMA, 13-3 BMMA), Brent Primus (7-0 MMA, 5-0 BMMA)
Past five: Chandler 4-1, Primus 5-0
Division: Lightweight
Rankings: Chandler No. 11

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Aaron Pico vs. Zach Freeman

Records: Aaron Pico (0-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), Zach Freeman (8-2 MMA, 0-0 BMMA)
Past five: Pico 0-0, Freeman 3-2
Division: Lightweight
Rankings: None

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Phil Davis vs. Ryan Bader

Records: Phil Davis (17-3 MMA, 4-0 BMMA), Ryan Bader (22-5 MMA, 0-0 BMMA)
Past five: Davis 4-1, Bader 4-1
Division: Light heavyweight
Rankings: Davis No. 3, Bader No. 4

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For more on Bellator NYC and Bellator 180, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator champ Douglas Lima's pick to win would-be welterweight tourney might surprise you

If Bellator eventually assembles a welterweight tournament, champ Douglas Lima has his picks for the fighters to meet him in the final – and his next opponent is not among them.

“I’d say either Koreshkov or MacDonald,” Lima told MMAjunkie Radio.

The Viacom-owned promotion’s PR team teased a possible tournament this past week, putting Lima (28-6 MMA, 10-2 BMMA) beside other standouts at welterweight including Lorenz Larkin (18-5 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), who challenges him for the title on June 24 at Bellator NYC, which takes place at Madison Square Garden in New York City and airs live on pay-per-view.

Lima doesn’t object to Larkin’s immediate title shot after defecting from the UFC earlier this year to sign with Bellator. He notes Larkin, the No. 8 fighter in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA welterweight rankings, was the next-highest ranked fighter after an injury kept him from accepting a bout with No. 4 Rory MacDonald, another high-profile free agent targeted for an immediate title opportunity.

But when it comes to overall competitiveness, Lima likes Andrey Koreshkov (19-2 MMA, 10-2 BMMA) and MacDonald’s (19-4 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) chances compared to Larkin, whom he compares to Bellator veteran Paul Daley (39-15-2 MMA, 5-2 BMMA) in his favor of the striking game.

“Out of all the challengers, I think those two are the toughest, because they mix everything up pretty good,” Lima said. “They’re both long. I think either one of them will be in the final.”

Lima relishes the idea of a one-night tournament, which evokes the old Vale Tudo gatherings of his native Brazil. He is enough of a veteran to have experienced tournaments under Bellator’s previous promotional leadership, though they typically were contested over three months. It appears the new leadership is more bullish on one-night contests, with the promotion holding a four-man tournament in 2015 to determine a light heavyweight title challenger.

Lima needs to focus on holding on to his strap against Larkin, a fighter he respects as an accomplished competitor inside the cage. But if he’s called to defend it against a field of Bellator’s best welterweights, he’s down for the challenge.

“Man, that would be fantastic if they were to make that happen,” he said. “I would love to do a one-night tournament, like the old days of Vale Tudo.”

For more on Bellator NYC, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Twitter Mailbag: Mark Hunt's future, Max Holloway's first title defense, and more

Where will Mark Hunt go from here? Who should get the next UFC title shot at featherweight? Should WME-IMG be worried about whether or not Dana White is the right man to lead them into the future?

All that and more in this week’s Twitter Mailbag. To ask a question of your own, tweet to @BenFowlkesMMA.

* * * *

Mark Hunt signed a six-fight deal just last year, so new contracts aren’t the big concern right now. For the moment, he’s got to worry about Derrick Lewis throwing those hammers at his head in New Zealand this Saturday at UFC Fight Night 110, but at least Lewis has to worry about the exact same thing in more or less equal measure.

The good news for Hunt here is that, after all his concern about being forced to fight opponents with a history of performance-enhancing drug use, here he can be mostly certain that his opponent isn’t on anything stronger than Fritos.

This is my favorite kind of heavyweight fight, honestly, pitting one fat guy bruiser against another. It feels like it could have taken place in the muck of the Deadwood thoroughfare, on the undercard of Dan Doherty vs. The Captain.

This is a big part of Hunt’s value to the UFC right now. He’s got an exciting style, fans love him, and he serves as a good, though at times limited test for up-and-comers in the heavyweight class. Plus, even in his declining years he can still headline a card in Auckland, and you better believe I’m not going to miss a chance to see it.

As for where he goes from here? Probably back into the cage again as soon as he can. He’s not getting any younger, and the new deal he signed pays pretty handsomely. There are worse fates for a UFC fighter in his 40s.

Either this is a genie with very specific and limited powers, or else I have made a really poor choice on the use of my wishes. But fine, for the sake of the hypothetical, here’s what I would ask of the great genie:

1. Anderson Silva

Because why not, right? Old vs. old. Brazilian vs. Brazilian. Run it back one last time to complete Vitor Belfort’s UFC contract. And then…

2. Chael Sonnen

Assuming the bad guy is willing to put some effort into selling the fight, this could be fun. You know, prior to the bell.

3. Fedor Emelianenko

This one might have to take place in Japan on New Year’s Eve, and I imagine by then Belfort may have found some way to return to the physique he had circa 2012.

4. Guy in a Cartoon Character Mask

Also in Japan. Because if we’re going to get stupid, let’s at least get fun-stupid.

5. Phil ‘CM Punk’ Brooks

After all that, the man deserves to go out on his own terms.

Maybe, but let’s not act like size explains everything here. Yes, Conor McGregor and Max Holloway are both relatively big for featherweight, and definitely bigger than Jose Aldo, who’s about average. But McGregor went on to claim the lightweight title and Holloway was on a 10-fight winning streak coming into his fight with Aldo, so they’re also both just really good fighters.

My money’s on Frankie Edgar. It’s either him or Cub Swanson, and Holloway’s win over Swanson is only about two years old.

Plus, at 25 you can still paint Holloway as a young gun, even with the title around his waist. He beat one grizzled veteran in Aldo, so why not see if he’s up for a legends butt-whooping tour of his own against old man Edgar next? That’ll give Swanson and the rest of the division more time to sort out a pecking order on their own.

Giving UFC President Dana White a share of the profits is a good way to ensure he puts the new company’s interests first, so that wouldn’t be my big concern. What I’d be worried about is the possibility that maybe he only knows one way to do this job, and maybe it’s not the best way to move the company forward.

Especially lately, we see a paint-by-numbers approach to dissent in the ranks. A fighter won’t do what you want? Run to a friendly media outlet (or a UFC-owned one) and blast him. Fighter complains? Make the case that said fighter isn’t really that good. Fighter wants more money? Hey, even if he is good, people don’t pay to see him (which may or may not be related to how many times you’ve told us he isn’t that good).

White’s primary value to the UFC has been his ability to be a bombastically quotable figure capable of hammering a narrative until it becomes true. It’s also his ability to be a constant. Superstar fighters come and go, but White will always be there, and TMZ will always want to hear what he has to say.

One problem is that the UFC is built on a business model that gives athletes a smaller share of the profits than virtually any other pro sport. That’s bound to breed discontent as fighter awareness increases, and in the past White has been known for heavy-handed responses to fighter complaints. But you can’t cut or bully or threaten or intimidate everyone, so as discontent becomes more common your strategy has to change.

Is White capable of that sort of change? I don’t know. If I were a WME-IMG executive, I’d sure hope so.

I like the general idea of referees having a more open dialogue with fans, since I’m sure we could all benefit from a clearer understanding of the rules and the thought processes that officials go through. My concern is that any referee who tried it would quickly become fed up with it, because who wants to spend their time arguing with people who may or may not understand how any of this is supposed to work?

It reminds me of what former UFC matchmaker Joe Silva told me when I asked why he wasn’t active on Twitter or any of the MMA forums. It wasn’t because he didn’t want to engage with fans or answer critics, he said. It was because he knew that if he let himself get started arguing with people, he’d never stop. It would consume his days. And who wants that?

Someone must care about Demetrious Johnson, judging by how much time we’ve all spent talking about him this week. But I think his lack of broader appeal is due in part to a one-size-fits-all approach to fight promotion.

It’s not just the UFC that’s guilty of it. Notice how you jumped right to a McGregor comparison? It’s like we’ve become convinced that the only way for a fighter to sell is by becoming a pro-wrestling cartoon character.

That’s the easiest way, painting in broad, familiar strokes so that even the people in the cheap seats can see, but there are other ways to do it. “Mighty Mouse” isn’t that guy, but he’s still an interesting guy, as anyone who’s interviewed him lately can tell you. It’s just a matter of figuring out what to do with that. One thing I can tell you is that it’s a poor salesman who tries the same approach every time, and then gives up and blames the product when it doesn’t work.

The UFC has toyed with something like that in various informal ways in the past. Back when those UFC Fight Night events on Spike were a relatively new thing, you’d see a clear progression as fighters graduated from cable to pay-per-view. More recently, you’ve seen it on those UFC Fight Pass-only prelims and events. Even “The Ultimate Fighter,” in addition to being an extremely long-running piece of TV content for the UFC, has provided a steady stream of new talent.

This is a more explicit version of that model, and that seems like the better way to go. We’ve seen the slow erosion of meaning in terms like “UFC-caliber” over the years. Now, instead of gobbling up more talent than it can reasonably use all under the same banner, the UFC is coming right out and admitting that what we’re about to see is a glorified tryout.

That helps gives those bouts added meaning, and lends an easy narrative to those who emerge from the process. As with “TUF,” it probably also helps the UFC lock young talent into contracts before they have too much bargaining power. So there’s that, too.

I don’t even think it’s in the top three reasons for it, and at the moment I’m not even prepared to call it an “exodus,” at least not of top fighters.

A lot of the fighters who have jumped from the UFC to Bellator are guys who felt like their options were diminishing inside the octagon, and the appreciation they felt they’d earned just wasn’t there.

Take Rory MacDonald, for instance. He broke his whole face giving us that epic title fight with Robbie Lawler, and afterward what did he have to show for it? He lost, so the UFC started looking at him like he was UFC Fight Night fodder, and no one could realistically tell him what he’d have to do to change that.

If you’re looking for recurring factors in some of these defections, start there. How do you make serious money as a UFC fighter? For a long time the answer was simple – win a title. But how do you get a title shot? And if you’ve already had one and lost, how do you get another one?

Winning the fights isn’t always enough to significantly advance your career anymore. Just ask Lorenz Larkin. If a fighter is unsatisfied with his pay, the UFC can’t sit him down and believably say, “X performance will lead to Y compensation.”

That’s why I think some fighters are rethinking their stance on Bellator. For some, it’s the MMA version of a lucrative old folks’ home. But for others, the ones closer to their prime, it’s a chance to have their past accomplishments really mean something. Because unlike the UFC, Bellator doesn’t have many of those kinds of fighters to choose from.

Ben Fowlkes is MMAjunkie and USA TODAY’s MMA columnist. Follow him on Twitter at @BenFowlkesMMA. Twitter Mailbag appears every Thursday on MMAjunkie.

Filed under: Bellator, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie