Lawler opened strong in the first round, coming out with an onslaught of kicks and punches. He staggered Larkin early on in the fight, but couldn’t find the finishing shots to put him down and out, and that is where Larkin turned the corner.
After surviving Lawler’s initial attack, Larkin started taking control, utilizing his Thai clinch to soften Lawler up with knees to the body and open him up for short uppercuts throughout the remainder of the fight.
Larkin used a knee to open a cut on the top of Lawler’s head in the second round and never slowed down.
He didn’t exactly throw caution to the wind, even when Lawler did, but Larkin did keep the pressure on for the majority of the fight, using his reach advantage to land power punches and keep Lawler on his back foot.
In the end, Larkin won a unanimous decision, all three judges scoring the fight 30-27 in his favor.
“It was hard. I’m tired of messing with those big guys at 205, man,” Larkin said about the weight cut after the fight, but he felt it was worth all the effort, feeling much more competitive at 185 pounds.
“I’m happy man. I stood up with Strikeforce’s most deadly striker.”