Larkin can turn the tide of a fight with one blow. On Friday,
he entered Nick
Rossborough into evidence.
Larkin (12-0, 3-0 SF) survived a stern test from the game Jeremy Horn
protégé, as he notched a hard-fought and well-earned unanimous
decision in the Strikeforce
“Challengers 19” headliner at the Palms Casino Resort in Las
Vegas. All three judges sided with the unbeaten Riverside, Calif.,
native: 30-27, 29-28 and 30-27.
A late replacement for the injured Virgil
Zwicker, Rossborough (20-15, 0-1 SF) brought the fight to
Larkin from the start. He battled for superior position in the
clinch, utilized his dirty boxing and kept Larkin from striking at
a distance. However, his outing unraveled inside the first minute
of the third round, as Larkin delivered a crushing knee to
Rossborough’s solar plexus and folded him where he stood.
Larkin -- who had scored mostly with leg kicks, punches to the body
and sporadic combinations up to that point -- pounced and tried to
finish. Though Rossborough defended and recovered, he was never the
same. The air had been let out of the proverbial balloon. Later in
round three, Larkin drew considerable blood with a short elbow
strike from top position, as he kept Rossborough pinned to the
canvas and accelerated the Utah-based light heavyweight’s fade down
“I think he came to fight,” Larkin said. “That’s what I want. I
couldn’t ask for nothing better. I love how he pushed me. This is
where fighters show their heart.”
In the co-main event, heavyweight prospect Shawn
Jordan submitted Lavar
Johnson with a second-round keylock. The tapout came 3:08 into
round two, as Jordan (12-3, 1-1 SF) recorded his first victory
under the Strikeforce banner.
Jordan bullied his way into clinches, shook off Johnson’s
considerable firepower -- smiling on occasion – and put the
heavy-handed heavyweight on the ground three times. His hands made
an appearance, as well, as he tagged his foe with a thudding left
hand in the opening seconds that resulted in visible damage to
Johnson’s right eye.
In the second round, Jordan made his move. He waded through heavy
fire, pinned Johnson to the cage and scored with a powerful
double-leg takedown. From there, Jordan softened Johnson (15-5, 3-2
SF) from the top, cinched the keylock and wrenched the submission
for the tapout. Now based at Jackson’s
Mixed Martial Arts in Albuquerque, N.M., Jordan has posted nine
wins in his last 11 appearances.
“Working with guys who are real fighters, it’s great,” said Jordan,
a gifted all-around athlete who won two national championships as a
fullback with the LSU football team before he entered MMA. “It’s a
Couture rebounded from his first professional defeat and
captured a majority decision from
Wand Fight Team representative Maka Watson
in a lightweight showcase. Two of the three cageside judges scored
it 29-28 in Couture’s favor; a third ruled it a 28-28 draw.
Couture (3-1 SF, 3-1 SF) controlled vast stretches of the match
with takedowns and grappling. He routinely seized Watson’s back and
threatened him with repeated arm-triangle and rear-naked chokes.
Watson used his hands to fend of the submissions, but he remained
on the defensive for much of the 15-minute encounter.
However, Watson (4-2, 0-2 SF) had his moments. He sprang to life
late in the first round, slicing open Couture with an elbow to the
forehead. The Hawaiian added another cut to Couture’s collection
later in the fight, but he failed to turn the tide in his favor.
Couture built a significant advantage on the ground, having mounted
Watson in the first and third rounds.
“He’s tough as nails,” Couture said. “That was not that fun. I’ve
still got a lot of work to do.”
Elsewhere, takedowns, top control, ground-and-pound and the
occasional submission attempt carried American Top Team’s Jason High to
his sixth consecutive victory, as he outpointed
WEC veteran Todd Moore en
route to a unanimous decision at 170 pounds. High (15-3, 2-0 SF)
swept the scorecards by matching 30-27 counts.
Moore had no answer for High’s pace or takedowns. The 2009 Dream
welterweight grand prix finalist mounted and threatened with an
arm-triangle choke in the first round, scored with ground-and-pound
in the second and opened a wicked vertical gash on the back of
Moore’s head with an elbow in the third. Outside of a brief
reversal into top position in round two, Moore (14-5, 1-1 SF) was
never a factor in the match.
Bellator Fighting Championships veteran Brian
Melancon dealt Brazilian prospect Felipe
Portela his first career defeat and notched a unanimous
decision in a featured welterweight matchup. Melancon (6-2, 1-1 SF)
made a living on clean left hooks -- some to the body of Portela
(7-1, 0-1 SF) and others to the head -- and timely takedowns. All
three judges scored it for the Houston-based welterweight: 29-28,
29-28 and 30-27.