Following his huge victory at Rizin 19 last month Keita Nakamura is gunning for another decisive win to sustain his surprising career resurgence.

The Japanese superstar will face American stalwart Lorenz Larkin in a battle of seasoned veterans at Bellator Japan this Sunday at the Saitama Super Arena.

Proving that he has a lot left in his tank, the former Deep welterweight champion easily dispatched Brazil’s Marcos Yoshio de Souza in his promotional debut. It was his first fight since being released by the UFC.

On that night Nakamura countered his foe’s attacks perfectly and found the sweet spot with a right hook to topple the Brazilian.

He was understandably pleased with that performance,

“I prepared to be wary of those dangerous situations in training. My timing was so good in that fight, and I found a way to deliver that punch and take the victory. The finish was good. I love it,” he said about through a translator.


UFC veterans

The 35-year-old Tokyo native wishes to replicate the same feat against Larkin, a fellow UFC alumnus who has gained a decent standing in Bellator since he joined the organization in 2017.

Nakamura has not spotted too many technical deficiencies in his opponent during preparation for the marquee welterweight match-up. But he has found a way that he can get the edge and bring his power to bear in a toe-to-toe battle,

“He (Larkin) is a very complete opponent, able to use both hands well. He is more of a stand-up type, but also good with his ground skills. He has good durability, but he is not too powerful. I will try to force him to exchange with me,” he shared.

Pressure and power

If he has read his upcoming American opponent correctly Nakamura is confident his firepower and ground game will be too much for Larkin to handle,

“I have a lot of strategies, and he knows I’ll throw hands. But I’m coming with more than he’s ready for. I’m going to pressure and overpower him in all aspects,” he said.

Nakamura is hoping for a quick night’s work. But he won’t throw caution to the wind by going all out for the stoppage,

“I will try to be quick, I will be more cautious and I won’t give him many opportunities.”

Global audience

This will be Nakamura’s first bout in Bellator, an opportunity that has come after a second unsuccessful stint in the UFC.

His total UFC record stands at 4-7 but he picked up impressive wins during his tenure. The Japanese welterweight submitted Li Jingliang and Kyle Noke while scoring decision wins over Alex Morono and Salim Touahri.

Nakamura is no stranger to fight fans in the west. But he is well aware that this is an opportunity to remind fans who watched him in the UFC what they are missing out on now that he is on the Rizin roster,

“The world will be watching. Not just Japan, but the United States and other countries will be able to watch us and other fighters on the card. This gives me more motivation. It is a match that I really want to win.”