On a night where Strikeforce's middleweight championship was up for grabs, the promotion might have also found itself a new contender. Lorenz Larkin, fighting for the first time at 185 pounds, impressed in his divisional debut, out-classing Robbie Lawler on the way to a unanimous decision win at Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy.
All three judges tallied it for Larkin by 30-27 scores.
"I'm just happy," Larkin said. "I stood up with Strikeforce's most deadliest striker and I went all three rounds with him."
Larkin passed an early test in the fight when Lawler hurt him in the first round with a lead right hook that had Larkin stumbling around. He bombed Larkin with heavy strikes looking for the finish, but Larkin was able to initiate a clinch and weather the storm, and he quickly rebounded with a takedown into some hard ground strikes. Lawler made it back to his feet, but Larkin did good work, particularly in the clinch, where he landed uppercuts and knees to steal the round.
Invigorated by his first-round survival, Larkin came out quickly in the second with a series of kicks. He hurt Lawler with a right and performed well throughout the round, eventually cutting Lawler with a head kick.
Perhaps sensing he was behind, Lawler pressed the action early in the third, but after some early success, Larkin reversed momentum and Lawler seemed to run out of gas, relying on single strikes rather than mixing things up. By the end, Larkin had badly bloodied Lawler's face and the conclusion was no longer in doubt.
Larkin, who was fighting for the firs time since his no-decision against Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal, is now 13-0 with 1 no contest. Lawler's record fell to 19-9 with 1 no contest.