At least one of these welterweights could be watching the main event between Robbie Lawler and Carlos Condit more close assuming victory this January 2, 2016 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Match Up
Welterweight Albert Tumenov 16-2 vs. Lorenz Larkin 16-4-1 NC
Welterweight Albert Tumenov -260 vs. Lorenz Larkin +220
3 Things You Should Know
1. Tumenov is one of the hottest fighters at welterweight right now. Is it all a mirage, or does the 24 year old nicknamed after the world's most popular physicist still have plenty to teach opponents?
When Tumenov made his UFC debut, he lost in disappointing fashion to Ildemar Alcantara (more for the result than lacking a show of promise). Since then he's worked on some of his deficiencies. He only recently turned 24, so it's clear that he's just the right age and sustain his development and growth. He's 4-0 since that loss. While he hasn't scored any major wins, he's done what he's needed to do in victory over guys like Nico Musoke and Alan Jouban.
2. Larkin went from boom to bust at the beginning of 2014. With two wins in his last two fights, is he coming back around to the 'boom' part of contender spectrum?
Nothing gets fight fans as riled up as a kickboxer with blue chip MMA talent. And until he ran into Muhammed Lawal, fans were properly riled up. Since then his career has had more downs than ups. Even with a win over Robbie Lawler on his dance card, 2014 was the nadir of his career; going 0-3 against fighters like Derek Brunson, and Costas Philippou. He's pick himself since then, but is it only a matter of time before the other shoe drops?
3. Even in slow motion, the exchanges between these two will be a blazing saddle of wild west showdown(ing).
Whatever their long term futures hold, the fight itself has all the makings of a savvy, entertaining affair. The first thing to note about both guys is their movement. Larkin doesn't move intelligently, but he moves actively, and it could end up creating enough chaos to open the striking game up for him. Tumenov relies on shuffling, and pivots to accentuate some truly nasty weaponry; the left hook and high kick being the most dangerous.
Tumenov, like a lot of Russian fighters, has that unique arc to his strikes. Kind of like how great Russian hockey players are characterized by well they disguise their wristers/one-timers, the same principle seems to hold true of great Russian fighters; straight punches are disguised as "looping" and vice versa. His combination punching is something Tumenov used to lack, but that's quickly becoming a thing of the past.
What's hard to predict is how Larkin will utilize his kicks. He's an expert in foot fetish violence; the single most important element of his win over Lawler. He chambers them quick, low and high. But I wonder if he'll be a little hesitant.
A lot of discussion will focus on Albert's left hook for good reason. It's his money punch, and by far the hardest strike opponents are able to defend. He cuts it across distance so fast, it lands like clockwork. But a lot of has to do with the way Tumenov can transform it from a straight, to an underhook, from a diddled-eye Joe to a damned-if-I-know.
However, his ability to lunge and cut distance with his right hand will be what allows him to get to Larkin. It's how he'll take away Larkin's kicks. Larkin's combination punching will be the story of the fight if he wins because Tumenov likes to work in close quarters, and Larkin is a hair quicker. But Tumenov is more complete. Albert Tumenov by Decision.