In the first round of their main card bout, Mukhamed Berkhamov was in on the legs of Larkin (24-7 MMA, 6-2 BMMA) against the fence looking to take the fight to the ground. Larkin landed a hard downward elbow to the back of Berkhamov’s head, which caused a slightly delayed reaction. Berkhamov (15-1 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) dropped to the canvas while holding the back of his head and the referee paused the fight.
After being given some time to recover, the fight was declared a no contest because Berkhamov was unable to continue.
“I’m more disappointed,” Larkin told reporters during the post-fight news conference. “At first, I didn’t know if I hit him with a bad elbow. Then I saw the replay, and I was like, OK. But it wasn’t as hard as I wanted it to be. I knew I hit him with it, but it wasn’t what I thought to be stopped.”
The bout was stopped at 2:52 in the first round.
There were some early back-and-forth moments, including Larkin having to work off his back, but he said everything was under control from his perspective. While he understands the stoppage was justified due to the rules, he became upset when he overheard a conversation between Berkhamov and the doctor backstage.
“I got super pissed at him because when we went back to the doctor room, it wasn’t even his head,” Larkin said. “It’s not even his head, it’s his knee. It’s his knee. Oh, man. I’m trying to be respectful, but I was just sitting next to him and it wasn’t even his head that was hurting. He said ‘Oh, it’s a little bit,’ but it was his knee. … I heard the doctor talking about his knee, his left knee.”
Adding to the frustration of not being able to show off how hard he worked in training camp to hand Berkhamov his first loss in Bellator, the conversation he overheard took his emotions to a higher level. Larkin didn’t exactly accuse his opponent of wanting a way out of the fight, but it did cause him to think twice about the situation.
Larkin entered Friday’s bout on the heels of six-straight wins, looking to take out Berkhamov, who hasn’t lost since 2013. Unfortunately, neither man got the chance to get their hand raised due to the illegal elbow that led to a no contest.