Fresh off of the debacle that was the UFC welterweight title fight between champion Tyron Woodley and Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson at UFC 209, Bellator has quietly strengthened their welterweight division by adding ex-UFC fighter Lorenz Larkin.
“It’s been a long process, I didn’t expect it to be that long,” said Larkin. “I wanted someone to get behind me and have some faith that I can deliver and I can be an asset to wherever I go and that’s what I felt like with Bellator. They pretty much checked off all the things that I was looking for.”
The UFC is widely considered the home to the best MMA talent in the world but in at least one division, Bellator is challenging that narrative.
Lorenz Larkin joins a welterweight division that features champion Douglas Lima, former UFC title contender Rory MacDonald, Michael "Venom" Page, Paul Daley, and Josh Koscheck.
The Bellator division may not stack up with the UFC's at the very top, but their talent isn't far off, and the ability to book exciting match ups is plentiful. That means fights like the rematch between Woodley and Thompson are unlikely to happen in the Bellator division. Their fighters have a strong history of exciting fights, finishes, and title fights.
That'll undoubtedly strengthen Bellator's legitimacy and hopefully steer the promotion away from the novelty main event fights that they've recently used to carry their cards.
Take a better look at some of the division's top Bellator fighters.
- Record: 28-6
- Notable Wins: Andrey Koreshkov (KO 3), Ben Saunders (KO 2), Paul Daley (UD)
Lima is a two-time Bellator welterweight champion, most recently regaining his title and avenging his loss to Andrey Koreshkov.
- Record: 18-4
- Notable Wins: Tyron Woodley (UD), Demian Maia (UD), Nate Diaz (UD)
Rory MacDonald is on a two-fight losing streak but both losses came at the hands of top welterweights Robbie Lawler and Stephen Thompson. He hopes to get a taste of gold in Bellator, and it begins with a fight against Paul Daley.
- Record: 39–14–2
- Notable Wins: Brennan Ward (KO 1), Jorge Masvidal (UD)
Daley is a true MMA veteran and he's fought some of the best welterweights, regardless of promotion, during his lengthy career.
A fight against Rory MacDonald will likely set the winner up as #1 contender for Bellator title.
- Record: 19-2
- Notable Wins: Benson Henderson (UD), Douglas Lima (UD), Justin Baesman (KO 1)
Andrey Koreshkov just saw his amazing Bellator championship run come to an end at the hands of Douglas Lima, but he's proven to be a top caliber Bellator welterweight, so don't be surprised to see him earn another title shot.
Michael "Venom" Page
- Record: 12-0
- Notable Wins: Evangelista Santos (KO 2), Charlie Ontiveros (TKO 1), Jeremie Holloway (Sub 1)
Michael "Venom" Page is arguably the most entertaining fighter in Bellator, but his lack of highly ranked opponents have many still doubting his skills. Expect to see him land tougher fights with the influx of talent into the division.
- Record: 18-5-1
- Notable Wins: Neil Magny (TKO 1), Jorge Masvidal (SD), Robbie Lawler (UD)
Lorenz Larkin hit free agency after two very big UFC wins over Jorge Masvidal and Neil Magny. It's only a matter of time until Larkin is in the Bellator welterweight title picture.