Brad Tavares showed off his improving stand-up skills tonight at UFC Fight Night 35 as he outstruck Lorenz Larkin over the course of 15 minutes of fighting to earn a decision victory.
Feeling out process to begin this one with both men trading a few leg kicks. Left hook lands for Tavares.
Larkin leaps in with a punch as he tries to mix things up. Nice solid connection on a leg kick from Tavares, but Larkin show he can match it with a kick of his own.
A couple of high kicks from Tavares, but they look speculative more than anything else. He wades forward with a few winging punches, but they don’t find their mark.
Slapping kicks to the leg and body from Tavares. Hard crack as Larkin lands low to the lead leg. Good right hand lands nicely for Larkin and more behind it.
Larkin starting to heat up now, but then Tavares rocks his head back with a punch down the pipe.
Larkin misses with a kick and as he’s spinning Tavares takes his back and tries to get him down. His momentum takes Larkin down to one knee with 10 seconds to go, but he’s not able to do a whole lot with the position in the time remaining.
Tavares starts the second round off with a leg kick and then a little combination of strikes. Larkin in close with a little flurry of his own.
Another flurry from Larkin. Kick to the lead leg from Tavares. He wades forward with a couple of punches to the body and one to the head. The higher volume of strikes is definitely coming from him so far.
Tavares ducks under a big punch from Tavares as he lands some of his own. Nice right hand from Tavares sends Larkin back on his heels.
An exchange of leg kicks and Tavares presses forward with a takedown, but initially Larkin stays upright and bounces into the cage.
Tavares continues to seek a way to bring the fight to the mat and finally is able to do so, nicely moving to his opponent’s back soon afterwards. Tavares lands some little blows to his opponent’s leg with his heel as he maintains back control, but then Larkin suddenly reverses the position, but there’s not enough time left in the round for him to work.
Nice right hand from Tavares and a high kick to follow. Another good right lands and another high kick – he’s stamping his authority early in this round.
Punch and a low kick from Tavares – he’s showing good conditioning and a high work rate here in the final five minutes. Tavares thinks about a takedow, but then changes his mind and throws a punch to the head instead.
Tavares trying to close the distance again and Larkin responds with a good elbow. Larkin presses forward and unleashes a few strikes, but Tavares backs out of danger.
There’s a little more being offered by Larkin now, but he really needs to step up another gear as the time starts to tick away.
As I write that Larkin manages to get Tavares down, but he doesn’t look comfortable there and opts to stand back up.
Tavares rushes in and goes for a takedown against the cage and Larkin offers up some Travis Browne style elbows as Tavares continues to remain bent in at the hips looking to complete the takedown.
Larkin continues to rain down those elbows and after a final attempt to get the takedown Tavares finally lets go and there’s a bit of a scramble before they separate.
Larkin finishing the stronger of the two here, but time is now his enemy and he can’t find a killer blow in the remaining seconds of the fight.
Brad Tavares definitely did enough to win this one and claims the unanimous decision victory (29-28 x3).