Just two short weeks ago, Lorenz Larkin was featured on the main card of his second Strikeforce Challengers event against one of the most highly touted prospects in the promotion, Gian Villante.
Of course, he stole the show ... again.
The Riverside native rebounded from a tough first round to obliterate Villante in the final two frames to pull out the most entertaining victory in a night chock full of decisions.
Larkin recently spoke with MMAmania.com and talked about his most recent performance, cross-training with Dan Henderson and where he feels his stand-up skills rank in Strikeforce in this exclusive interview.
His thoughts on the rough first round with Villante are after the jump.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): In that first round against Villante, he put you on your back and you weren't able to get up. Can you talk about that situation? He wasn't doing a lot with his position.
Lorenz Larkin: He was just holding on. He didn't really want to punch me, he just kinda wanted to hold me there. I think that really his team kind of thought that maybe I would panic on the ground and maybe that would play into the issue of me getting tired but once I found out he was just going to lay and pray on me, I relaxed and truthfully, I was waiting on the ref to stand us back up because he wasn't doing nothing. He wasn't landing any shots and I was in a safe position so I was waiting for the ref to stand up but he didn't.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): How comfortable are you on the ground? Especially off your back.
Lorenz Larkin: I'm comfortable. I think, now that I look at it, I shouldn't have messed around. I think I should have took him down and would have started using my jiu-jitsu, but I did like how the fight turned out. In that case, I felt like truthfully that my jiu-jitsu was stronger than his. He was on top holding me, but he wasn't trying to go nowhere, he wasn't trying to advance. He was just trying to hold me. I think if I was coming down to the second round, I would have shown everyone my jiu-jitsu skills but I didn't have to because he couldn't take me down anymore.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): How different did he feel in the second round because, watching the fight, he was at least a step or two slower?
Lorenz Larkin: I believe that he exerted a lot of energy as far as holding me down. I think that the position that I was getting into wasn't bad and I was getting on my hips and he was steadily having to push me back down on my back. While on top I could feel that he was exerting a lot of energy and all I was really doing was shifting my hips and stuff like that. I think that played a big role in the fight.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): By the end of the third round, it looked like two completely different fighters in there. You were still bouncing around like the fight hadn't even started yet and he was just done. Your conditioning is just on a whole 'nother level. Can you talk about that? Most of your fights don't even go past the first round and it's just really refreshing to see a fighter who's fought such short fights still have that conditioning.
Lorenz Larkin: I train for every fight like it's going to go to the last round. I do a lot of punch count drills, a lot of high-intensity drills. A lot of drills where my heart rate is up. If I'm relaxed, I'm just on cruise control, but if my heart rate ever elevates, it may be a scramble or we're just having a scuffle and throwing a lot of punches and my heart rate goes up, I'll have a really good recovery time from the drills that we go over in camp. I think those drills help me out a lot. I think they thought that they were gonna get me on the ground, I was going to panic and get tired and that was the total opposite of what happened.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Even in the end of the third round you kind of rubbed it in his face with that takedown. That must have felt pretty good.
Lorenz Larkin: Oh yeah. Just so everybody doesn't say, "how's Larkin's shot?" Well now they know (laughs).
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I want to bring up something the commentators started talking about. They really started harping on a drop to middleweight, saying that you were small for light heavyweight. What are your thoughts on that.
Lorenz Larkin: I think that conversation would be relevant if I was going against a small 205-er. If I was having problems against a small 205-er, then I could see that it would make sense for me to drop because there's only bigger. I think Gian Villante is probably one of the biggest 205-ers that I will ever come across. He's 6'3", cuts down from 230 and at 230 he's lean. I don't see myself ever fighting a bigger light heavyweight and I didn't have too many problems with him either. I don't know why they would say that. It would make more sense if I was fighting someone smaller and actually having problems with him, then I would understand the cut.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Just to clarify, how much do you have to cut to make 205?
Lorenz Larkin: I walk around about 220 and that's eating burgers and everything (laughs).
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): They also talked about how you went out and traveled a bit, even going out to Team Quest with Dan Henderson. What was that experience like?
Lorenz Larkin: It was good. Dan Henderson was welcoming. He's a real stand-up guy and he was all for helping me out and showing me the little things so it was a good experience. He was arms open and he welcomed me and said I was welcome to come back any time I wanted to go up there. It's kinda in my backyard too so it was a really good experience.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Did you get to spar with Dan at all? I bet that must have been pretty cool considering how fast you are dancing around him and trying to avoid that huge right hand.
Lorenz Larkin: Yeah, he likes that right hand and he likes the clinch. I've seen all the characteristics when I saw him on TV and when we went in person they were right there. I think his fight with Fedor Emelianenko is going to be great. It will finally be one of those fights were Fedor fights somebody his own size kind of. I think Dan's gonna fight him at 220 or something so it'll be good. They're almost the same height so it should be a good fight.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Just going back to learn a little more about you as a fighter. Do you have any kind of pre-fight rituals, any little things that you have to do before stepping into the cage?
Lorenz Larkin: Yeah, I've got to get my hair cut and get my toe-nails painted.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Yeah I noticed the hair cut. You had a special one for your first fight against Scott Lighty and you had a multi-colored one against Villante. Do you have to see a special guy? How's that all work out?
Lorenz Larkin: Yeah my buddy does it for me. I get it done every fight, every fight I do that. I always get the Riverside bell in it.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You've got some amazing and dynamic striking. Just on a striking scale, where do you think you would rank in the overall Strikeforce light heavyweight division?
Lorenz Larkin: I'm not too sure. i don't know. I think my stand-up needs a lot of work. I think lower of it than what other people think of it as. I got a chance to see the fight and Pat Militech had some great things to say about me in the commentary. It's kind of surreal hearing them talk about me like that. I'm just trying to hard to get to where I'm at right now and they're like "oh, this kid!" and I'm just thinking, "this is crazy. I always watched this and thought oh, I can't wait to get there." I just hoped for the chance and now that I'm finally there, it's crazy how they talk about me.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): So when would you like to fight next? You didn't take much damage against Villante.
Lorenz Larkin: I'd like to get on the next challengers show in August.
Lorenz would like to thank his cross-training gyms Millenia MMA, Team Quest, Martial Arts International and his sponsors Hostility clothing, Splat Hair Color, Cali Life as well as his coaches Arnold Dewitt, Sam Mason, Tony Gianopoulos and his fans for their support.
Have Larkin's last two performances made you a believer? Will "The Monsoon" continue to make waves on the Strikeforce Challengers series?