Brock Larson is one of the most experienced fighters in the welterweight division with 44 fights and 14 years of professional MMA experience. He has fought for the WEC, the UFC, and Strikeforce, but has never won a title.
He came close in a successful WEC stint, losing out to Carlos Condit in a fight for the 170-pound belt, but Larson has the opportunity to put that disappointment behind him and secure the most important win of his career when he takes on Nobutatsu Suzuki at ONE FC: War of Nations next month.
With the ONE FC 170-pound title will be on the line at Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpur, Larson knows that the stakes are high and this next fight could be career defining.
“To be the ONE FC champ would be the crown jewel of my fight career. I have watched some of his fights and he’s good, but I plan to do my thing and I think I’m better almost everywhere,” he said.
Both fighters have black belts, Larson in BJJ and Suzuki in Kyokushin Karate. The Japanese fighter has 10 knockout and TKO finishes out of ten wins, whereas the American has 26 submissions in his 37 wins, so statistics would suggest that this is a straightforward battle between a grappler and a striker.
Suzuki is renowned for his knees, but whereas he has never submitted an opponent, Larson does have six TKO wins to his name and warns that he is dangerous in every department.
“I think I’ll be able to take him down if I choose to, but I like testing my skills against anyone. Don’t sleep on my hands or they will put you to sleep!”
In his ONE FC debut last year, Larson moved up to middleweight to face feared Dutch kickboxer Melvin Manhoef. It was an intimidating assignment, going up a division to face one of the most accomplished strikers in the sport, but he sailed through with flying colors to win a unanimous decision.
Larson was able to take Manhoef down and unleashed a third-round assault, which left the Dutch fighter bloody, battered, and clearly behind on the scorecards. It was an impressive win and Larson admits that on that occasion, he wanted no part of his opponent’s striking.
“The fight with Manhoef was crazy; I didn’t want to get hit by that man. I would have liked to gotten the submission, but I’m happy with the win of course.”
Although Larson has competed occasionally at 185 pounds throughout his career, it is close to his walking weight, which puts him at a clear disadvantage against fighters who have to shed plenty of pounds to get down to the middleweight limit and he thinks he is more suited to the welterweight division.
“170 is a much better class for me. My height and strength is perfect for 170.”
Suzuki had initially been scheduled to challenge Adam Kayoom for the inaugural ONE FC welterweight title, but the Malaysian suffered an unfortunate injury in training that is set to keep him out until the middle of the year.
With Larson having registered a huge win in his ONE FC debut, he was next in line on Matt Hume’s list, but the American admits it was an unexpected offer.
“I was a little surprised. You don’t get offered a world title shot every day, but I love ONE FC and the rules work in my favor.”
ONE FC rules allow soccer kicks and elbows and he will be looking to utilize both techniques on March 14. Waiting in the wings for the winner is the promotion’s latest marquee signing, undefeated former Bellator champion Ben Askren, but Larson says he isn’t looking past his next opponent.
“Ben who? I’m just worried about Suzuki right now.”
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