by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
The welterweight division has continued to grow worldwide and the WEC has become a breeding ground for some of the top 170lb fighters in the world. This Sunday will be no exception when WEC Welterweight Champion Carlos Condit steps in to defend his title for the first time against top contender Brock Larson.
The fight between Condit and Larson is expected to be one of the fastest paced and most energized bouts fans could see all year. It is also a fight that was originally supposed to take place in June, but due to an injury to the champion, it was pushed back until now. Condit talked about the injury and his health recently when he spoke to MMAWeekly Radio.
“I separated my AC joint while training,” said Condit. “I got kind of tossed and landed on my shoulder. It was a painful injury, but not very serious. It healed pretty quickly and it’s 100%. I’m ready to go. This fight’s been a long time coming. I had an unfortunate injury and I was really stoked for that fight and now I’m just ready to get this thing handled.”
Instead of the fight with Condit, Brock Larson took on Kevin Knabjan and won by TKO in less than 30 seconds. Larson also spoke to MMAWeekly Radio and commented on his excitement that the fight is now taking place.
“I’m pretty excited. We were supposed to do it a couple of months ago and I’m more ready now than I was then, so I’m pretty excited. I’m pretty confident and I’m ready to go,” said Larson.
The dynamic of this fight goes to the very heart of mixed martial arts as Condit, who is widely seen as one of the best strikers in the world at 170lbs and Larson, who has world-class jiu-jitsu and wrestling skills. Both have been training to improve though, working to win this crucial welterweight match-up.
Larson, who has always been seen as an extremely dominant ground fighter, has also been working on his hands and proved that with his victory over Knabjan.
“For quite some time now guys have been telling me to chill out on the jiu-jitsu, ‘you’ve got that, you’re there, you’re pretty world-class at that level, and focus on your striking’ and I listened to them,” said Larson about his new found striking skills. “I have been focusing a lot on striking and I’m just getting comfortable with the footwork and the angles. It’s a new part of my game and I’m kind of enjoying it a little bit.”
Many fighters have learned a harsh lesson when they’ve picked up a new skill set and try to use that to their advantage against their opponent and Carlos Condit feels that Larson could step right into his game plan if he stays standing with him.
“I think people maybe get a false sense of confidence,” said Condit. “He beat that guy pretty decisively, but I’m not that guy. If he thinks he’s going to come in and steamroll over me like that, he’s going to have a rough night.”
When training for this fight, Larson also commented that he has prepared specifically for Condit’s strengths, which come from his very dangerous striking game.
“This is one of the first times I’ve changed my training a little bit for my opponent… just for the knees basically,” said Larson, respecting his opponent’s strengths. “That’s one thing that’s a really big concern are the knees, so we’ll stay away from those and light him up with my hands.”
If Condit is feared on his feet, then Larson is equally as feared on the ground, but Condit, who has a very active ground game, thinks he will do just fine on the mat if the fight goes there.
“If he thinks he’s going to dominate me on the ground, he’s got another thing coming,” stated Condit.
Larson, who will be cutting weight for this fight, as he is currently walking around at 190lbs, wants to prove he belongs in the upper echelon of the welterweight class.
“That’s why I’m training, I want to be the best,” commented Larson.
For Carlos Condit, this is the chance to prove he deserves to be ranked as he defends his title for the first time.
“I think Matt Hughes said ‘you’re not really a champion until you defend your belt’ and I agree with that 100%,” said Condit about the match-up with Larson. “A win over Brock is going to catapult me up the rankings for sure.”
Carlos Condit will defend his WEC welterweight title against Brock Larson, live on Versus, Sunday, August 5th from Las Vegas.