Lorenz having lost two of his last three and Philippou his last two, someone had to right the ship at the U.S. Bank Arena. As it so happened, it was Philippou that got back on the winning track, trying to rekindle the five-fight streak he was on before his recent two-fight skid.
A former Golden Gloves champion, Philippou immediately looked to establish his boxing range, while Larkin fell back on his kickboxing prowess and started launching kicks.
Philippou landed the first heavy blow, sending Larkin up against the fence. The former Strikeforce standout recovered quickly, and started to establish his kicks.
Larkin landed a right uppercut-left hook combination followed by a knee up the middle about midway through the opening round. Shortly after that, he landed a couple hard kicks to the body, but just as he seemed to be ramping his kicking game into high gear, Philippou found his sweet spot with his counter punches.
As Larkin tried to keep attacking with kicks, Philippou countered with a right hand that grazed Larkin’s face. He followed that with a solid left hook and a straight right that dropped Larkin to the mat, and just like that, the fight was over.
It was an emotional victory for Philippou, who, at 34 years of age, had been doubting whether his career should continue.
“I was doubting myself last time. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep fighting and it showed; I looked awful,” he admitted after the fight. “The UFC called, gave me another shot. I put in the work, and it paid off.
“Whatever was lost, I found it tonight. I’m back guys.”
(Follow @KenPishna on Twitter)