Lorenz Larkin is a name that will hopefully be commonplace in MMA circles within a year.
"The Monsoon" caught the eyes of the Strikeforce brass after scoring five consecutive first round knockouts on the local circuit in the greater California area. In his last bout before earning an invite to the Strikeforce Challengers series, he slightly disappointed himself by only scoring a technical knockout (TKO) victory in the second stanza.
When Japanese judo gold medalist Satoshi Ishii backed out of his Strikeforce Challengers fight, Larkin came in on just one week's notice and displayed tremendous striking ability, putting away the K-1 kickboxing veteran, Scott Lighty, via TKO in the second frame.
Not bad for a guy who's original nickname was "The Chihuahua" when he first started fighting.
It was recently announced that Larkin had signed a four-fight contract with Strikeforce and would be competing against exciting light heavyweight Gian Villante in the main event of the next Strikeforce Challengers show on June 24.
He tells MMAmania.com that he's ready to show the world that they only got a glimpse of what he's capable of against Scott Lighty:
"Watch out for my next fight. It's going to be even more exciting than the last one because I'll actually have some notice this time."
Speaking of "the last one," Larkin detailed exactly how he was summoned to Strikeforce in the first place.
"I was driving when I received the call about whether I wanted to fight in Strikeforce. Just off of that alone I was already pumped. They said it was going to be a last minute replacement versus (Scott) Lighty. I'd seen a little bit of Lighty when he fought Mike Cook so I was able to do a little research."
"What helped everything fall into place was that I'd fought February 21st in Riverside. They hadn't posted the fight on my record yet so it still showed that I was 8-0 and if they were looking up my record, they might have thought I hadn't fought since last year but in reality I'd fought a month prior and I was still in really good shape. I only took about five days off after that fight so I that's why I decided to accept it. I knew that as long as you pressured Lighty, he'd crumble. That was the gameplan and we went in and executed it."
During his bout with Lighty, Larkin used tremendous footwork, looking very light on his feet. The big man bounded across the cage, willing to throw multiple diverse strikes from different angles. His style impressed many in the media.
The young California striker explained how his unique style developed.
"In the beginning, i wasn't flashy, but I like to open up and try new things. I'm not scared of something not working, I'll try it anyways just to experiment. I'm not flat-footed, I'm not just going to stand there right in front of you. It helps me out a lot in the long run."
"I train at Martial Arts International in Riverside, California. One of the good things about my team is they don't just teach one style. If I come to the gym and ask about working on some new kick, we'll spend a good amount of time working on how to make this kick work or how we can make a different punch work. I love my coaches and we have a great connection and they're always willing to help me work on something new."
Larkin fought like a seasoned veteran against Lighty, and had him hurt on multiple occasions. Instead of recklessly diving for the finish, he was very patient and waited to end the fight until he knew he could do it safely. The talented young light heavyweight explained his strategy.
"In every fight, my biggest thing is that I want to stay patient. I don't want to rush in and make a minor mistake and pay for it. Once time went by, I knew it was going to be hard to finish Lighty because he's such a tough guy. I'd seen him fight Mighty Mo from K-1 and Mo hit him with an overhand right and Lighty got dropped but he got back up. He's incredibly tough so I was just going to keep putting my hands on him and just wear him out because I knew it wasn't going to be easy. When I saw the final opportunity, I took it."
While some feel Larkin is ready to be a superstar, he has no problem being slowly brought up the ranks. In fact, he's prefer to be on the Challengers series while he gets used to the brights lights of a major promotion.
"I still want to be on the Challengers and adapt. I'm still used to the regional circuit which is smaller venues, and smaller crowds. It takes some getting used to, fighting on a bigger stage in front of the cameras. you've got to adapt and defend and that's my main concern. Getting used to that and getting comfortable."
Of course, it all starts with Villante on June 24. Larkin has big plans for his career if he can keep progressing against tougher opposition.
"(Strikeforce) has a really good roster. I don't know where I stack up truthfully. I've got four fights with them and we'll see how these first two fights go. I know that they're all big guys but I just want to take one fight at a time and see from there. (In the next year) I want to be an established fighter in Strikeforce and I want to be known as one of the top contenders."
Larkin gave a brief shout-out to trainers and sponsors afterwards.
"Shout-out to my trainers, Arnold DeWitt, Sam Mason, Tony Gianopoulos, my sponsor Hostility and to MMAmania for the interview."
So what do you think Maniacs? Can "The Monsoon" make a big splash in the Strikeforce light heavyweight division?