Although it was a tougher fight than most people expected, Lorenz Larkin
managed to take home a unanimous decision after a hard-fought 15-minute brawl with Nick Rossborough on Friday night, improving to 12-0 and winning his third Strikeforce
Challengers fight of the year.
The judges scored it 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 for Larkin, who at age 25 is demonstrating that he's one of the most promising fighters in the sport.
"I think he came to fight, I think he was hungry, and that's what I want," Larkin said, before turning to Rossborough and saying, "Nice fight."
For the first two rounds the fight was close, but Larkin really started to bring it in the third. Early in the third round Larkin landed a huge knee to the body that sent Rossborough crumpling to the canvas, and late in the third round Larkin landed a vicious elbow on the ground that opened up a big cut on Rossborough's forehead. By the end of the round it was clear that Larkin would take the decision.
In other Strikeforce Challengers action:
-- Shawn Jordan earned the biggest win of his MMA
career, submitting Lavar Johnson
in the second round with a keylock. Jordan, a former LSU fullback
, is an athletic powerhouse who showed off improved technique in this fight, perhaps attributable to his training with Greg Jackson and Mike Winklejohn. Jordan hurt Johnson with a big left hand in the opening seconds of the first round and controlled the fight throughout, and he's looking like an up-and-coming star in the heavyweight division.
-- Ryan Couture
, son of Randy Couture
, beat Maka Watson by majority decision, with two judges scoring it 29-28 for Couture and one judge scoring the fight a 28-28 draw. Couture was a much more effective grappler than Watson, but when Watson managed to get into top position he hurt Couture with ground and pound. "He's tough as nails -- this was not that fun, but I'm really happy to get the W," Couture said afterward.
-- Jason High
beat Todd Moore
by unanimous decision in a fight that consisted of a lot of wrestling in the cage and a lot of booing in the stands. The most entertaining moment of the bout came afterward, when the confused ring announcer briefly announced Moore as the winner -- even though it was obvious to everyone that High had dominated. Both Moore and High turned around and looked at the ring announcer as if he were crazy, and the announcer quickly corrected himself and said that High had won, 30-27 on all three judges' cards.
-- And in the first fight of the Showtime broadcast, Brian Melancon beat Felipe Portela by unanimous decision, with one judge scoring it 30-27 and the other two scoring it 29-28.