TEMECULA, Calif. – The third time proved a charm for Lorenz Larkin (19-7 MMA, 1-2 BMMA), picking up his first Bellator MMA win with a decision over Fernando Gonzalez (27-15 MMA, 7-2 BMMA).
The 180-pound catchweight contest served as the main event of Friday’s Bellator 193, which aired live on Paramount from Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, Calif.
Larkin was light on his feet to start, creating angles looking to strike. However, it was Gonzalez that landed the first clean blow, scoring with a big kick to the body. Larkin began to chop the legs in reply, and he added in a few quick punches, as well. Gonzalez was a more stationary fighter, but he did throw powerful punches and kicks when he found the openings.
Both men came out firing in the second, with Larkin bouncing light on his feet and Gonzalez pressing forward with every step. Larkin was certainly the quicker man, but Gonzalez covered well and did not offer many easy targets. Larkin’s jab started to find a home late in the frame, but he wasn’t able to add the power shot behind it, and Gonzalez continued to swing back at every opportunity.
Larkin continued to prove the more technical fighter in the third, but Gonzalez never backed down, loading up on every punch he offered. Larkin scored with a few crisp right hands that seemed to take their toll, but Gonzalez continued to press. As the round wore on, Gonzalez did seem to slow just a touch, but he still fired with power when he did go on the attach. In the closing minute, Larkin did his best work, battering his foe with brutal punches, elbows and knees that seemed destined to end the fight before the bell save Gonzalez from going out on his shield.
Larkin closed strong and took home a decision win, 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27.
Awad too much for Ambrose
In the night’s co-feature, Saad Awad (22-9 MMA, 10-6 BMMA) was just a little too much for a game J.J. Ambrose (28-8 MMA, 1-3 BMMA), taking home a decision win in a scrappy affair.
Awad was in control to start, taking the center and chopping the legs a bit before throwing punches up top. Ambrose moved well on the outside but struggled to find any real opportunities to counter. Awad gained confidence as the round wore on, dropping his hands and taunting a bit as he fired big shots in the pocket. Ambrose started to find his rhythm late in the round, and the exchanges brought the crowd to life.
Ambrose briefly threatened with a beautiful hip toss that exposed his opponent’s back, but Awad was able to slip free and work back to the feet, where they finished the round.
The two opened up the arsenal a bit in the second, with punches and kicks flying from all angles in the early going. Awad then turned to the grappling game, throwing Ambrose to the floor and moving to his back. Ambrose scrambled up and back to his feet but couldn’t get free and quickly found himself back on the floor. Ambrose finally pulled free in the final seconds but didn’t have much of a chance to answer with his own offense.
Ambrose’s right eye was visibly damaged to start the third, but he still seemed fresh enough to go the distance. The two engaged quickly, moving into the clinch, and it was Ambrose who was able to take the fight to the floor and work to his opponent’s back. However, Awad refused to stay on the floor, pulling himself up and countering with a takedown of his own that saw him move first to mount and then to the back. Awad aggressively looked for the choke, switching arms and trying to get under the neck, but Ambrose defended well, lasting until the final bell. Still, it was obvious that Awad had done enough for the decision, which he took home with 30-27 scores across the board.
Matthews edges out split over Grove
In a middleweight matchup, A.J. Matthews (9-7 MMA, 5-5 BMMA) snapped a four-fight losing streak, picking up a razor-thin decision win over Kendall Grove (23-18 MMA, 4-5 BMMA) in an entertaining contest that took place entirely on the feet.
Matthews was aggressive to start, throwing heavy hands as he moved in and out of Grove’s massive range. Grove did have some success with counters, landing a few crisp left hands in the exchanges, but Matthews seemed to have the power advantage, and he began to add in attacks to the legs, as well.
Grove turned up the heat a bit in the second, but Matthews was there to answer. The two kept an impressive pace, moving around the cage and working with a high volume. Matthews continued to control the center, generally serving as the aggressor and getting the best of the exchanges.
Both fighters had plenty in the tank to start the third, and they each let their hands go on multiple occasions. Matthews slipped on a high kick during one flurry but was able to move quickly back to his feet. Grove remained content to fight off his back foot, which earned him success but also allowed Matthews to be the man moving forward on the attack. In the end, Matthews took home the split-decision win in a wildly scored contest, 29-28, 28-29 and 30-27.
Smith makes quick work of Kozola
In the night’s first main-card matchup, lightweight Jake Smith (7-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) impressed in his promotional debut, knocking out Steve Kozola (8-2 MMA, 3-2 BMMA) in less than one minute.
Kozola controlled the center of the cage to start, and the two traded low kicks as they circled along the fence and looked to throw hands. Once they did, it didn’t take long.
Kozola got the best of the early exchanges, but Smith answered with a big counter right that stunned his opponent and a second that sent him crashing to the floor. Smith jumped on top with additional blows, putting Kozola’s lights out at the 57-second mark of the first.
Official Bellator 193 results include:
- Lorenz Larkin def. Fernando Gonzalez via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
- Saad Awad def. J.J. Ambrose via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- A.J. Matthews def. Kendall Grove via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
- Jake Smith def. Steve Kozola via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 0:57
- Ben Beebe vs. Everett Cummings
- Demarcus Brown vs. Joshua Jones
- Chris Herrera vs. Moses Murrietta
- Julio Aguilera vs. Mike Andaya
- Tim Riscen vs. Mark Vorgeas
- Justin Lawrence vs. Andrew Natividad
- Tyrell Fortune def. Joe Hernandez via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)
- Tyree Fortune def. Michael Quintero via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
For more on Bellator 193, check out the MMA Events section of the site.