It’s champion versus champion Friday night in Vancouver.
The Unified MMA champion, Larsen, now covets another belt as he readies for combat with Machado on Friday night.
“I don’t really know too much about him. He looked good against Lee (Mein). I think he gets hit a lot. He’s got a good chin and kind of laughs it off when he gets hit,” said Larsen in an interview with MMA Empire.
“I’m sure he’s going to adjust for this fight here in June because I don’t think he’s going to be laughing off too many of my punches. I think he’s good, he’s champ. I think he’s 4-1, so not taking anything away from the guy, but yeah I haven’t seen a whole lot of him.”
Larsen, 34, enters action on Friday night as hot as can be, finishing his last three fights via knockout, two of which were in the first round.
The four-fight arc that saw Larsen lose to Jared Kilkenny, beat Canadian MMA pioneer Lee Mein, brutalize Tyler King, and then avenge the Kilkenny loss to captured Unified MMA gold was a stretch that truly galvanized the rising heavyweight.
“Those were really a lot of important fights. The loss to Kilkenny, beating Lee (Mein), and then going right into the quick win over Tyler King, I think those three fights definitely changed me the most. As far as confidence in the ring and experience, I think I’ve definitely improved a lot because of those three fights in particular, and then avenging that loss to Kilkenny was a huge deal for me as well.”
“That was really a can’t-lose situation, man. Losing twice to Kilkenny and losing my shot at the belt, that would have definitely kind of taken my career in a different trajectory for sure. That was a big win for me.”
With the card being broadcasted on UFC Fight Pass, there are obvious benefits to it, in some regards.
But Larsen said he isn’t the type to create compounded pressures on his performance surrounding the broadcast platform of his fight.
“It’s more exposure, a little bit more money for them, and, in turn, a little bit more money for us. So, that’s a good thing,” said Larsen.
“As for affecting the fight, it doesn’t affect the fight for me whatsoever. It doesn’t really matter if I’m fighting in front of a crowd or a stadium or whatever. You’ve still got a job to do.”
Larsen trains out of one of the top gyms in Canada in Shaved Bears MMA, home to likes of Tanner Boser, Teddy Ash, Graham Park and more.
There’s a certain kinship Larsen has with the UFC heavyweight, Boser. In fact, Boser and Larsen were co-workers at Diamonds, which played a part in beginning Larsen’s journey in the fight game.
“We’ve got a whole roomful of guys that have been accomplished in the sport. Really, you’re a product of the environment. You can’t put anybody in a room with these guys. If they’re able to put in the work, they’re going to find a lot of success. I lucked out with that,” said Larsen.
“Tanner is great. I’ve lived with him, I’ve worked with him, I’ve trained with him. He has the best work ethic out of anybody I know. You can’t really get away with slacking off when the guy beside you is killing himself every day, so it really pushes you to go that extra mile, which I appreciate.”
The vibe within that camp goes beyond just being an MMA gym and there’s a true fighting family that exists in Sherwood Park.
“This gym and our team and our coaches, they’ve put in a huge amount of work for us. Both of our coaches have a full-time job. Like all of our coaches do, they’re volunteering their time after hours to come in, train us and stuff like that,” said Larsen.
“There’s definitely a family mentality here, especially when it comes to the gym and keeping things. Keeping the championships and stuff like that. You don’t want to let anybody down. It was good things worked out how they did.”
Follow Larsen on social media: INSTAGRAM