Home MMA News Lorenz Larkin 'was surprised' to get immediate Bellator title shot in debut...

Lorenz Larkin 'was surprised' to get immediate Bellator title shot in debut vs. Douglas Lima

Lorenz Larkin’s hope was always to make an immediate splash under the Bellator banner. He just didn’t know his opportunity would be this immediate.

After completing his UFC contract with a dominant TKO of Neil Magny at UFC 202 in August, Larkin (18-5 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) has been caught up in contract negotiations. He finally came to terms with Bellator, and his signing was announced earlier this month. Shortly thereafter, the promotion announced “The Monsoon” would challenge welterweight champion Douglas Lima (28-6 MMA, 10-2 BMMA) in his debut fight at “Bellator: NYC.”

Larkin said he wasn’t sure exactly what Bellator planned to do with him when he signed but admits he didn’t think it would be a title shot right off the bat. He was thrown off guard when the opportunity was presented and said at today’s news conference that he’s thrilled to be pushed to the top so fast.

“I was pumped, but I was surprised,” Larkin told reporters. “I wasn’t thinking about (a championship fight) in the slightest bit. Once it was offered to me, I was ecstatic. I was pumped. Now I’m going to be ready.”

Larkin challenges Lima on the “Bellator: NYC” pay-per-view main card, which airs June 24 following the Bellator 180 undercard on Spike at Madison Square Garden in New York.

After Lima captured the Bellator title with a third-round knockout of Andrey Koreshkov at Bellator 164 in November, many believed the “Phenom” would get his next challenge in the form of May’s Bellator 178 main event winner between Paul Daley and another recent notable Bellator addition in Rory MacDonald.

Clearly Bellator had other plans, and it was to Larkin’s benefit. The 30-year-old has earned four victories in his past five fights, including back-to-back wins over Magny and Jorge Masvidal. He’s never been a champion in a major organization, though, so his motivation is at its highest point as he looks to shake up the Bellator welterweight division with one performance.

“We were just focused on getting the deal done, and then not too long ago I got the call and they asked me if I was interested,” Larkin said. “I said, ‘That’s a no-brainer.’ I’ve been wanting to fight. It’s been a while since I fought and now I’m here. Who would I say no to Madison Square Garden?”

For more on “Bellator NYC” and Bellator 180, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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