Lorenz Larkin made a succesful move down to the Strikeforce middleweight division tonight with a solid decision victory over Robbie Lawler.

Lawler started the first round strongly, landing a big right hand that rocked Larkin and left him struggling to find his feet.

He did recover though and then began to assert himself for much of the rest of the round. First he secured a takedown and landed some ground and pound elbows before Lawler managed to get back upright.

Larkin then began to open up with his strikes in close near the fence, finding success with knees and uppercuts while also working well from the clinch. Lawler reversed the position and pressed Larkin up against the cage, but Larkin was smartly using the thai clinch to control his opponent and prevent him from unleashing with anything meaningful for the remainder of the round.

In the second round Larkin was again pushing the pace and staying busier. He also had the two biggest moments of the round, firstly going for a guillotine choke which looked threatening, though Lawler did well to roll out of it and get back to his feet.

Then in the final minute as they engaged in the striking Larkin suddenly went upstairs with a head kick. Lawler ducked, but the kick grazed his head and left a nasty cut on his forehead above his right eye.

Onto the final round and Lawler comes out strongly, clearly realizing he’s got work to do if he wants to win this fight. He’s throwing heavy leather, but he then gets caught up in the clinch against the cage and Larkin’s doing a good job again of neutralizing his offense.

They part and Lawler’s pace slows a little and the minutes begin to tick by without any major action.

Then in the final 90 seconds or so Lawler starts to pick up the pace again, but so does Larkin and it’s suddenly he who is becoming the aggressor and looking lighter on his feet, firing off a volley of strikes that backs his opponent up.

Lawler musters up one last assault, but misses with a big overhand right and so this one’s going to be in the judges hands.

Larkin looked the better fighter on the night, and that’s how the judges see it too, awarding him the uanimous decision victory (30-27 x3).