The mixed martial arts (MMA) world will be a very nostalgic one later tonight (Fri., Oct. 3, 2014) in Tulsa, Oklahoma. That's because BattleGrounds MMA will be putting on the first one-night, eight-man tournament on pay-per-view (PPV) in a very, very long time.
Eight men will compete and three victories will be needed to be the lone survivor who walks away with the $50,000 in prize money. A hefty sum for one night's work, but it will undoubtedly be blood money, since the winner will have sacrificed his physical well being and overall health for a chance at glory.
Back in 2005 at Extreme Challenge 63 in Hayward, Wisconsin, Brock Larson bested three opponents to win an eight-man tournament that night, and he also boasts a four-man tournament victory on his resume. The 12-year MMA veteran is easily the most experienced fighter out of the field of eight and will be calm and ready when he heads into action at the BOK center later tonight.
"I won a couple of them," said Larson, who found out only yesterday that he drew Cody McKenzie as his first-round opponent (BattleGrounds did surprise drawings prior to Thursday's weigh ins). I fought Ryan McGivern, Ryan Jensen, and DaMarques Johnson all in one night. I was at 185. Those are all tough guys. McGivern was the IFL champion and the other two fought in the UFC. I've been through the gauntlet before and now I'm trying it again. I was 27 then and I'm 37 now, so we'll see what 10 years does."
Since he knew his opponent for the first round wouldn't be announced until yesterday at the weigh ins and, of course, the possibility of having to fight three times in one night, the Brainerd, Minnesota native "has been working and focusing on himself" and what he is planning to do, instead of focusing on the seven other fighters in the tournament.
"It's kind of refreshing, actually, to work on what I do good. It's kind of old school. Back in the day there wasn't much video on anybody, so you just kind of did your own thing and worked on what you wanted to do. You weren't worried about the other. That's kind of how I've been going into this one, just sharpening up everything that I've got and getting ready to impose my will, I guess."
There are a lot of different possibilities and variables for what can happen in a one-night tournament. A fighter could win, but not be able to continue, or win, but have to deal with an injury he may have suffered in a previous bout. It's the "unknowing that makes it exciting" to Larson, who has 45 fights under his belt. Ask any fighter and they will all say something as far as strategy is concerned. Some pace themselves knowing they have to win three times in one night, others go all out like each fight is their last.
Larson had three finishes the last time he fought in a tournament (two in the first round) and that is what he would like to do this time, take each of his opponents out as fast as possible. He may put himself at risk in order to shave off precious minutes of wear and tear on his body, but that is better than having to fight a total of nine rounds if each fight goes the distance.
"I don't know many people that would want to do that," Larson laughed at the thought of having to fight a total of 45 minutes in one night. "I'm going to go out there and try to finish the guy. Maybe a little more than I normally would, just because I want to get it over with. I don't want to take a lot of damage. I don't want to take a lot of hits. I don't want to get caught. I don't want something silly to bounce me out of the tournament."
"I've fought at lot of 25-minute fights and I get tired. Obviously, if I can get them over quicker it would be to my benefit. Take a few more chances on the ground going for submissions and maybe open up a little more on the feet and take a few more chances there as well."
Larson is confident in his preparation and says he's "jacked and ready to go" for tonight. He also thinks it's "very cool" that Chael Sonnen and WWE Hall of Fame announcer Jim Ross will be calling all the action for the evening.
"I'm excited about that and all the good things they are going to say about me," he said. "I feel great and I'm ready to win this damn thing."