Heading into UFC 195 last night (Sat., Jan. 2, 2016) in Las Vegas, Nevada, one somewhat unheralded pay-per-view (PPV) fight really stood out as having great potential for fireworks.
Albert Tumenov, 16-2 and 4-1 UFC, had earned his reputation as a formidable boxer, finishing three of his last four opponents after a rocky debut in the promotion.
But, he was meeting a flashy kickboxer in Lorenz Larkin, a man who owns a victory over hard-nosed Robbie Lawler and had looked flawless in his fights so far at Welterweight after dropping down nearly one year ago.
Styles make fights. And as it turned out, both styles were very much on display for all to see. Tumenov used crisp boxing and combinations to back Larkin up against the cage, while the kickboxer tried to keep the Russian fighter at bay by utilizing punishing leg kicks.
Although Tumenov outlanded Larkin in significant strikes to the head by a margin of 52 to 12, it was really the damage to the legs that told the story in this fight.
"Da' Monsoon" battered the lead leg of "Einstein" so ferociously in the first two rounds that the Orthodox fighter kept switching to Southpaw to seek relief from the swelling mess. Larkin landed an absurd 47 kicks to the leg, leaving Tumenov limping to the finish line in a closely contested match that pitted boxer against kickboxer ... quite literally.
In the end the judges could scarcely decide, ultimately handing Tumenov the narrow split decision.