After main event win over former champ, Lorenz Larkin eyes Bellator Japan card
Lorenz Larkin picked up his biggest win under the Bellator MMA banner this past weekend and now has his eye set on a historic card to cap off 2019.
“The Monsoon” defeated former Bellator welterweight champion Andrey Koreshkov via split decision in an all-out battle in the main event of Bellator 229 last Friday night. It was the third straight win for Larkin, which also includes victories over Ion Pascu and Fernando Gonzalez.
In his post-fight interview with Big John McCarthy, it sounded like the direction Larkin would go is towards the Bellator welterweight title — which will be defended later on this month in the welterweight Grand Prix finals between Rory MacDonald and Douglas Lima. While Larkin would like another shot at the belt, the 33-year-old has an item to cross off the bucket list as Bellator makes its debut in Japan.
“I haven’t been told anything, but my goal is to fight in Dec. 29 in Japan,” Larkin told The Body Lock on Thursday. “That’s my goal, that’s what I wanted, and that’s what I conveyed before this fight. I didn’t look past Koreshkov, but I made it clear that if everything goes good in this fight, book me on that card. Everything went good, I’ve got little bumps and bruises, but everything is good. I sparred yesterday. I’m ready to get right back into camp.”
Bellator Japan will feature a heavyweight bout between Quintin “Rampage” Jackson and Fedor Emelianenko. The event will also cross-promoted with RIZIN FF to potentially create several compelling and exciting matchups.
In terms of opponent, Larkin isn’t too concerned. It’s more about the venue than foe for the California native.
“For me, it’s more of a pivotal point in my career,” Larkin said. “Don’t get me wrong, I love boxing. I grew up watching boxing, and one of the bucket list (items for me) was MSG, fighting there. To me, the mecca of fighting, where I would feel like I made it after all this time, would be to fight at Saitama Super Arena. That would be crazy for me. To me, that’s bigger than Madison Square Garden any day.”
The fight with Koreshkov last weekend was a big test for both fighters at Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, Calif. After a tough first round which saw Koreshkov drop his opponent with a quick and nasty wheel kick, Larkin was able to battle back, dropping the former champion in the second round, nearly finishing the fight. After a closely contested third round, Larkin was able to get the nod from two of the judges to move above .500 in his Bellator run.
More than getting a victory, Larkin felt like he passed a difficult test that most fighters on the roster were not willing to take.
“It felt good,” Larkin said. “I kept saying the whole time during fight week, or even leading up to the fight, that he’s the dark horse of the division. Everybody ducks this guy, and it shows. He’s been in Bellator since 2012 and he hasn’t fought anybody at the top of the welterweight division besides Lima and Ben Askren. The whole time I’ve been talking to people, I was asking, ‘How is that? How has this guy been here so long but has only fought those two guys?’ The only thing that made sense in my head is that everybody is ducking this guy.
“That kick was fast,” Larkin continued. “It was more of a flash. It happened and as I was falling, I was like ‘Oh shit!’, it wasn’t like I didn’t know where I was at. It was just one of those things where it was fast and, even when I watched the replay, it didn’t even look like he hit me. It was like damn, that was a fast kick. But I knew what I was getting into and that’s why I wanted this fight. Even after it was cancelled the first time, I made sure that Bellator knew that I still wanted this fight. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. It was good and I came out with the W.”
In addition to picking up the victory, Larkin took great pride in proving people wrong — from fans to media members who picked against him, or didn’t give him a chance to defeat a former world champion.
In classic Lorenz Larkin fashion, he made his way through YouTube and social media to take some subtle jabs.
“I’m known for giving the f**k you to people,” Larkin stated. “I love it. That’s how I exited the UFC. It’s just one of those things where it’s like an inner win for me. I look at people’s comments, I take a gander. I don’t say much but I give a like, or like somebody’s comment. It’s always fun for me.”
Check out the full interview with Lorenz Larkin below where he also discusses being a promoter, the ups and downs of the fight game, people suggesting he fight Michael Page and what it would take to make that happen, his pick for the rematch between Rory MacDonald and Douglas Lima, and more.