Lorenz Larkin opted to stay busy rather be given a guaranteed spot in the Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix. After Bellator 207, so far, it looks like a smart decision.
Uncasville, CT — Bellator welterweight Lorenz Larkin made it two in a row Friday night at Bellator 207, at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasvile, Connecticut. In a key bout against Ion Pascu, he earned a unanimous decision, winning a fight that served as an alternate bout for Bellator’s Welterweight Grand Prix, which kicked off just last month at Bellator 206.
And so Larkin now has an alternate spot in the tournament. But as he explained on Friday after the event, that was by design, not circumstance.
“With this fight, I had a lot of changes and things like that. I fought in January. So I felt the rust in there,” he said of his performance against Pascu. “I like to be an active fighter, as long as I’m healthy, you know I like to fight. With this fight, it was stretched out for so long, I didn’t know when I was going to fight.” The end result was that Larkin felt just “a little bit rusty in there. But as long as I stay active, you know. I got a little bit of ring time in there. He’s a tough opponent. I feel like it’s coming back, I’ve just got to stay active.”
Staying active was why Larkin was fighting as an alternate at Bellator 207, rather than part of the tournament proper. “The whole thing about this tournament, just to clear it up: I was never approached to be an alternate,” Larkin explained. “I was approached to be in the tournament, and I decided to be an alternate. Because the time that I would have fought in the tournament would have been way too long. It would have been the longest layoff of my career. So what we came up with was, I’ll fight earlier, and it’ll be for [an] alternate spot in the tournament. So that’s how that whole thing came about, I was originally apporached to be in the tournament.”
As to when Larkin gets back in the cage, “as long as it’s soon,” Larkin said. Otherwise, he tends to fall into bad habits, fast food, and it’s that much harder. That means Larkin isn’t about to sit and wait for someone to drop out of the Grand Prix.
In one of Ion Pascu’s better moments in the fight, he locked Larkin up in a late-fight heel hook. Larkin, however, downplayed the danger. “That’s the thing. I love playing with footlocks,” he said. “I’ve been playing with footlocks with big old heavyweights over here. It wasn’t tight at all. If you can go back and look at my facial expression, I felt super comfortable. Out of the whole fight, that was probably most comfortable position, that I felt the most comfortable in.”
Erick Silva, meanwhile, a fellow former UFC athlete, was Larkin’s originally scheduled opponent at Bellator 207. Silva pulled out of the fight due to injury, but tweeted after Larkin’s win that though Larkin had defeated his “substitute,” things would go different with Silva himself. Asked for his thoughts on the Brazilian’s statement, Larkin answered that “My first thought is the tournament. At the end of the day, and this is public knowlesge, every time I sign a contract, I show up. Win or lose, I show up. Never, anybody who knows my career has never thought that I was not going to show up to a fight. I train smart, I have some of the best coaches in the game. I train hard, and I train smart. I come in to fight.”
“If you had a good camp, there’s no way you’re coming in 100% into a fight. Nobody does,” he continued. Allowing that “I have bumps and bruises and things like that, things I come into the fight with,” Larkin added that those are essentially just part of being a fighter. “I sign the contract, I show up on the date, and I perform. Period.”
“Before he starts talking,” he said of Erick Silva, “tell him to show up to a fight when he signs a contract. And then we can go from there.”