When it was announced that Lorenz Larkin would fight for a title in his Bellator debut, no one was more surprised than the fighter himself.
Larkin’s parting shot to the UFC was an impressive TKO victory over Neil Magny at UFC 202 in 2016. Failed contract negotiations resulted in a stalemate between the promotion and the fighter before it was confirmed recently that Bellator had acquired the welterweight. aNot long after, the promotion announced that Larkin’s first task under the Bellator banner would be against welterweight champion Douglas Lima at the pay-per-view event at Madison Square Garden, New York.
Larkin told a news conference on Wednesday that while the announcement was unexpected, he is delighted that Scott Coker and co. have deemed him worthy of a chance to become a champion under the promotion’s banner in just one fight with Bellator:
“I was pumped, but I was surprised,” Larkin told reporters. “I wasn’t thinking about (a championship fight) in the slightest bit. Once it was offered to me, I was ecstatic. I was pumped. Now I’m going to be ready.”
“The Monsoon” is 4-1 in his last five fights, which include consecutive victories over Neil Magny and Jorge Masvidal. The 30-year-old Californian joins what is certainly the strongest division in Bellator MMA (welterweight), which boasts names such as the current champion Douglas Lima, Rory MacDonald, Paul Daley and Michael “Venom” Page among others. While it was expected that the champion (Lima) would be fighting one of those names, if Larkin was asked if he wanted the fight beforehand, it would have been a “no-brainer”:
“We were just focused on getting the deal done, and then not too long ago I got the call and they asked me if I was interested,” Larkin said. “I said, ‘That’s a no-brainer.’ I’ve been wanting to fight. It’s been a while since I fought and now I’m here. Who would I say no to Madison Square Garden?”