UFC Fight Night 35 Play: Brad Tavares (+180) vs Lorenz “The Monsoon” Larkin (-220)

Lorenz-LarkinUFC Fight Night 35 Date: January 15, 2013 Arena: Arena at Gwinnett Center City: Duluth, GA Middleweight bout: Brad Tavares (+180) vs Lorenz “The Monsoon” Larkin (-220) Fight Breakdown: The co-main event for UFC Fight Night 35 is a middleweight contest between The Ultimate Fighter season 11’s Brad Tavares and Strikeforce import Lorenz “The Monsoon” Larkin. Tavares is the underdog heading into this bout at +180 ($100 to win $180), and “The Monsoon” is the favorite at -220 ($220 to win 100) at 5Dimes Sportsbooks. BRAD TAVARES (11-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) is riding a four fight winning streak, owning decision victories over Dongi Yang, Tom Watson, Riki Fukuda, and most recently, Robert “Bubba” McDaniel. He was far from impressive against McDaniel, being unable to find his range and put solid combinations together. That said, he did enough to win the first two rounds, but the fight hit the mat in the third frame, and he found himself under McDaniel, but Bubba did not do much on top, so he lost the round, but took home the unanimous 29-28 win. Tavares is a tough fighter with a ton of heart, and no quit in him. Like many Hawaiian fighters, he has a solid chin and loves to scrap. Before signing with the UFC, all his career wins were by stoppage; since signing with the promotion, only one of six wins have come inside the distance, and the rest have all gone to the judges’ scorecards. I would not be quick to rule him out as someone who finishes fights, though, as his opponents have been very tough and durable, having only been finished inside the distance in a combined 16 times out of 129 professional fights (13 out of 16 just between Seth Baczynsky and “Bubba” McDaniel). Tavares was a participant in the eleventh season of The Ultimate Fighter, where he received his first unofficial career loss against current UFC welterweight Court McGee. McGee rocked him, and then secured a rear naked choke for the submission victory, moving on to the finals, which he ended up winning. The Hawaiian bounced back and has had an incredible run inside the Octagon, getting his hand raised in six of seven fights, with the only loss being a controversial split-decision. Tavares is a well-conditioned mixed martial artist, and will be ready for a three round battle against Larkin. LORENZ “THE MONSOON” LARKIN (14-1-1 NC, 1-1 UFC) is coming off of a unanimous decision victory over Chris Camozzi just two months ago. With his eyes set in the title, he now makes a quick turnaround and looks to make it two in a row inside the Octagon, as he works his way up the UFC’s middleweight ladder. After losing a controversial decision to Francis Carmont in his promotional debut, he is hungry for a string of wins. Larkin is one of the best strikers in the middleweight division. He has great striking defense, as he has very good head movement, excellent footwork, and works beautiful counters. He has great balance, and solid takedown defense, but if taken down, he is very active off his back. He moves around the cage really well, and comes at his opponents from different angles. He is fast, and changes his speed up well. His kickboxing and boxing are both solid. It is worth noting that he went 5-0 as an amateur boxer. The uppercut is one of Larkin’s favorite punches, and he uses it well. He even has a great lead uppercut, not to mention a heavy overhand right and a solid left hook. “The Monsoon” also has some nice flying attacks, including a flying knee and a flying roundhouse kick. He can be flashy with his style, but he is also very effective. He employs a spinning attack, as well, with which he often finds success. The Riverside native likes to use his jab, even his lead jab. He does damage with nearly every strike he connects with. Larkin has an excellent kicking game. He delivers beautiful, heavy kicks, and likes going to the head and body with them. He also works the inside and outside legs of his opponents really well, as he likes to mix it up and slow them down. “The Monsoon” works the Thai plum clinch well, and uses the position to put his knees and elbows to work. He puts great, effective combinations together, and while Larkin does not have excellent top control, he does employ a solid ground and pound attack, in which he does damage with heavy, vicious elbows. It is a quick turnaround since his last fight, but I expect him to be prepared to go hard for three full rounds against the Hawaiian. Fight Prediction: This is a fight between a pair of guys who hit pretty hard. While I would not be surprised if either of them scored a knockout, I think more often than not this fight goes the distance, because they are both capable of taking an incredible amount of punishment. I think more often than not, Larkin gets the better of Tavares on the feet for the majority of 15 minutes, and takes home a decision. Gabe’s Pick: Lorenz Larkin by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Over 2.5 rounds (-175) 1.75u to win 1u. I am opting to take the over 2.5 (-175) line over Larkin (-220), because while I think Larkin wins this fight, I am not counting Tavares out. Considering that, plus how much we’re saving on the juice, and the fact that I think it goes the distance more often than not, I feel the ‘over’ is the smarter play. However, keeping in mind that they both hit hard, I am keeping this play on the smaller side

Written by Gabe Killian

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