It took him three tries, but Lorenz Larkin finally got that first Bellator victory.
On Friday night in Temecula, Calif. - just a short drive away from his hometown of Riverside - Larkin was the main event of Bellator 193, and the hometown fighter delivered, winning a convincing decision over Fernando Gonzalez.
Gonzalez missed weight for the contest, coming in slightly over the previously agreed upon 180-pound catchweight limit. The fight went on as planned though and despite Gonzalez being the one who missed weight, Larkin looked to be the substantially larger man in the cage, using his length and his movement to stay on the outside and potshot Gonzalez for the better part of 15 minutes. As the fight was winding down, Larkin began to really turn up the pressure and started landing big shots, but there wasn’t enough time left in the round for “The Monsoon” to get the stoppage.
The win stopped a two-fight skid for Larkin who has so far been unable to make good on the potential Bellator saw in him when they signed him from the UFC last spring. In his previous two Bellator fights, Larkin lost convincingly to Douglas Lima and Paul Daley so the welterweight standout will look to build off of this win and get himself back into title consideration.
In the co-main event of the evening, Saad Awad put himself among some illustrious company, earning his 10th win under the Bellator banner when he took a unanimous decision over J.J. Ambrose. Awad used outside leg kicks on the feet to slow Ambrose’s movement down and sealed the deal with his superior grappling game, sweeping all three rounds on every scorecard. The win is Awad’s third in a row and should put him in a line for a title eliminator bout to face the winner of the recently announced Brent Primus-Michael Chandler championship rematch.
Elsewhere on the card, A.J. Matthews won a split decision over Kendall Grove in a tepid affair and collegiate wrestling standout Tyrell Fortune won a unanimous decision to move his record up to 4-0. Fortune’s twin brother Tyree Fortune also took a unanimous decision move to 4-0, but the standout performance of the event belonged to Jake Smith who opened up the main card show with a 57-second knockout of Steve Kozola.