Bellator 180 took over Madison Square Garden a few weeks back and while the old timers, Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva, were given the task to headline, Lorenz Larkin fought for the Bellator welterweight championship and fell short against Douglas Lima via unanimous decision. Lima was impressive and deserves every bit of praise, but sometime its fun to wonder, “what if?” In a parallel universe where Larkin re-signed with the UFC, he could’ve been sporting UFC gold, which could’ve increased his value to the company that let him walk.
Prior to signing with Bellator, Larkin was coming off a TKO win over Neil Magny at UFC 202, who is currently ranked fifth and a split decision win over Jorge Masvidal before that, who is currently ranked fourth. Currently ranked third is Robbie Lawler, who Larkin defeated via unanimous decision back in 2012 at middleweight.
While Larkin lost a close decision to Albert Tumenov prior to his two fight win streak, it was his lone UFC loss in five bouts at 170 lbs. Larkin’s ability is usually on full display during most nights, but there were times when he failed to push past opponents who he was expected to beat. Names like Costas Phillippou, Brad Tavares, and Derek Brunson come to mind and one could even add Douglas Lima to that list too.
Momentum is an essential part of MMA and usually separates the contenders from the pretenders and with Larkin riding high on the win over Magny, there’s a chance Larkin could’ve been given the title shot over Demian Maia. The again, there could’ve been a scenario where the UFC booked Larkin against Maia instead. Either way, Larkin was very close to earning a shot at Tyron Woodley and seeing how Woodley has strategically found himself on the stacked UFC 205 and UFC 214 card, Larkin would’ve certainly benefited monetarily speaking.
For some reason Larkin who is still only 30-years-old was not appealing enough for the UFC to make him a priority and while he still stands to have success at Bellator and could even fight former UFC standout, Rory MacDonald down the line, fans missed out on seeing Larkin potentially fight someone like Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson or “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone. The UFC could still wind up kicking themselves in the future if and when Larkin gets back on the winning track, but for now it appears that they were right in not seeing enough championship material in “The Monsoon.” There is still always hope of a reunion with the UFC and maybe one day he’ll be welcomed back with open arms. Until then, Bellator MMA just became more entertaining now that Larkin is aboard.