Lorenz Larkin is a fighter whose career has had some ups and downs recently, but who should excite every fan of striking. Larkin possesses a willingness to throw any unorthodox strike in the book and the speed and power to make them effective. After an outstanding start under the Strikeforce Challengers banner, Larkin received his first loss at the hands of Muhammed Lawal, and has since dropped to Middleweight. In the UFC, however, he's not quite been able to consistently get back to his winning ways.
His most recent fight was a loss at the hands of Ray Sefo product Brad Tavares, who outworked Larkin with superior volume. Larkin doesn't think Tavares was able to hit him very cleanly, but admits that he was overly patient in the fight.
"I feel like I was just trying to wait for the perfect punch, instead of Tavares where it was him creating his punches," Larkin said. "I was trying to counter him with a punch instead of [making openings]."
Larkin said that he will not be waiting on openings against his Fight Night Cincinnati opponent Costa Philippou, but will be a lot more eager to press the issue.
Larkin spoke at length about his eclectic striking style, which draws influence from various traditional martial arts. One technique which stood out in particular during Larkin's fight with Francis Carmont was a spinning wheel kick to the thigh, which fans might recognize as one of the signature moves of the late Andy Hug. Larkin, however, didn't know the technique's kickboxing history, and came upon it by happenstance during padwork.
I didn't know about it being Andy Hug's move. . . Most of the moves--we're just always working mitts--and I'm just like "Oh, let me try this." And then I'll try it and I'll ask my coach, "Did you feel it?"--they're wearing the big Muay Thai pads on the thigh--and they're like, "Duuude. It hurt."
Much of Larkin's unorthodox style has developed this way through creativity. One such technique, which Larkin claims to have first seen in a YouTube video, is one that he says he'll throw against Philippou if the opening presents itself. He calls the kick, a rolling round kick sometimes seen in knockdown Karate competition, "The Life-changer." So look for this beauty against Philippou:
When asked what he thought MMA striking is missing most, Larkin thought of two things that he says he's been developing in particular to deal with the boxing-heavy game of Philippou. "In-and-out movement," he said. "And angles."
Feel free to listen to the full interview below. For more interviews like this as well as fight analysis, check out Heavy Hands, a podcast dedicated to the finer points of face-punching. And stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for continuing coverage of UFC Fight Night: Cincinnati.
Special credit for this episode of Heavy Hands goes to Steph Daniels, aka Crooklyn, who made these excellent interviews possible.