Larkin was making his Bellator debut and it was straight into the fire as he took on a man who had been defeated only once in his last eight fights. The bout was one of the most highly anticipated of the night and even Rory MacDonald checked into Twitter to let the world know he was interested in seeing it all unfold.
The fight started out tentatively as both men looked to use their kicks early to establish their range. Larkin was the man taking the centre of the cage, but Lima looked happy countering and he caught Larkin with some stiff leg kicks to keep the Bellator debutant at bay.
In round two, both men started to close the range and things started to get interesting. Larkin was caught with a big left as he rushed in on Lima and he hit the mat with a thud. Lima followed him down to the ground and looked to end the fight, but Larkin was able to cover up well before forcing the fight back to the feet.
The shot that dropped Larkin definitely stunned him, but the challenger had his bearings back before the bell sounded to end the round.
The momentum was certainly in Lima's favour heading into round three and he started it well by taking the centre of the cage and stalking Larkin down. The challenger looked to get his jab working to counter Lima's pressure, but his range was off and he was constantly falling short of the mark. Both men landed the odd single shot, but for the most part the round lacked action and it would've been a difficult one for the judges to score.
Round four and again Larkin came out looking to press the action. The challenger landed some glancing kicks to the midsection, but midway through the round Lima caught him with his own big kick and he pushed Larkin down to the mat. Lima was unable to do any significant work with Larkin on his back, but the positional control was probably enough for the champion to sneak another round.
The final round started and most cageside believed that Larkin would need to hunt the finish. Both men again traded jabs and landed the odd stiff body kick, but neither seem to be able to put combinations together and fully take control of the round. Even the sound for the final 10-seconds failed to get both men to really open up and the fight ended on somewhat of a wimper.
After a brief pause, the judge's scorecards were read and there were no surprised. Douglas Lima retained his title with the scorecards reading 50-45, 48-47, 48-47.
Rory was seemingly not impressed with what he saw ....