It’s hard not to like Lorenz “The Monsoon” Larkin. He’s a personable guy that can make anyone feel at ease when talking to him (even a nervous journalist interviewing a UFC fighter for the first time). His good nature isn’t only apparent in the way he holds a conversation.

The 27-year-old middleweight recently hosted a ping-pong tournament at Millennia MMA to raise money for The Carolyn E. Wylie Center. The non-profit organization, which is located in Larkin’s hometown of Riverside, Calif., provides support to families who have children with special needs.

“We did great,” Larkin told The MMA Corner in an exclusive interview. “We raised about a thousand bucks.”

Larkin (L) delivers a kick (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

Larkin (L) delivers a kick (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

The Californian takes a lot of pride in his community and is known for shaving the city’s emblem on the side of his head come fight night. His amiability, however, should not be mistaken for lack of killer instinct. Once the cage doors lock, Larkin is a ferocious competitor who continually presses forward with barrages of kicks and punches at lightning-fast speed.

Larki, whose record stands at 14-1 with one no-contest, faces Brad Tavares at UFC Fight Night 35 on Jan. 15. A win over Tavares, who is also known as a dangerous striker, would certainly put Larkin in the conversation for top contenders in a wide-open middleweight division.

The Riverside fighter had previously fought at light heavyweight, but decided to make the switch to middleweight after being finished by Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal. The fight was later ruled a no-contest after Lawal failed his post-fight drug test. Although the drop from 205 to 185 pounds was a struggle at first, the weight cut has become much easier, according to Larkin.

“The more fights I have, the easier it gets,” he said. “My first fight [at middleweight] was really tough. My last fight, though, by the time I hit the sauna, I only had to cut about two pounds.”

The last time we saw Larkin fight was at UFC Fight for the Troops 3, where he earned his first UFC win with a unanimous decision over Chris Camozzi. It had to come as a relief, seeing as his first outing was a decision loss to Francis Carmont in a fight that many thought Larkin had won. The Strikeforce veteran seems to have put the loss behind him and was very happy when reflecting on his first win in the Octagon.

Larkin (L) lands a right hand (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

Larkin (L) lands a right hand (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

“When I was younger or, you know, getting kind of into MMA, I remember watching UFC and the UFC Fight for the Troops,” he said. “So, to be able to fight in the UFC and to get that win, it was pretty cool, man. It was a surreal moment.”

With a new year come New Year’s resolutions. So, going into 2014, does Larkin have any resolutions of his own?

“Not really,” he admitted. “Everything’s been going so well for me lately that I couldn’t really think of one.”

Larkin looks to continue the good vibes with another decisive win, which he hopes would earn him the right for a top-10 match-up. Larkin realizes, though, that he must first get through a very game opponent in Tavares.

“He’s an all-around good fighter,” said Larkin. “He’s not going to be like a guy who just wants to get it to the ground. He’s pretty dangerous everywhere. He likes to strike, he has takedowns, he has jiu-jitsu. So I have to worry about his all-around game. It’s easier to just fight a wrestler, or a jiu-jitsu guy, or a striker, because you know what they’re going to do.”

Even though Larkin is known as a striker, he understands that being well prepared in every aspect of the mixed martial arts is how he’ll reach the top.

“I’m constantly evolving as a fighter,” said Larkin. “My whole goal with any fight is just to get into my rhythm. I’m just looking to go out and execute my game plan. I’m ready to bring it wherever the fight takes place.”

About The Author

Zach Miller
Staff Writer

Zach is a Boston native and has had a fascination with martial arts since playing Mortal Kombat at five years old. He was introduced to MMA after watching The Ultimate Fighter 5: Team Pulver vs. Team Penn. A recent graduate of the University of New Hampshire, Zach seeks to one day become a full-time MMA journalist. In addition to watching the sport, he has also trained in Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu, kickboxing, and tae kwon do. Zach has also written for NortheastMMA.