UFC Fight Night 35 put Brad Tavares and Lorenz Larkin in the co-main event of the evening, and it did not deliver.
It was a solid performance from Tavares, but the fight as a whole failed to deliver the excitement that fans had hoped. On paper, this was a good looking middleweight scrap.
Larkin was not able to get after Tavares the way he wanted, and Tavares took advantage of the opportunities given to him. Larkin entered ranked No. 13 in the division, but will most likely give up that spot to Tavares now.
This is what we learned from the lackluster co-main event of UFC Fight Night 35.
What We'll Remember About This Fight
Tavares being first.
Larkin entered as the more feared striker, but more so because of how dynamic he can be. Tavares never gave him the chance.
Tavares was first in the majority of the striking exchanges. He dictated the pace on the feet, and routinely touched Larkin. He forced Larkin into being a more reactionary fighter in this bout, and it paid off in a victory.
What We Learned About Larkin
He is still developing.
After some electric performances in the past, Larkin's stock returned to Earth. He is still a young and developing fighter.
Tavares is actually the younger fighter, but he has more big fight experience in the Octagon. The bright lights of the UFC are different. He has been in three-round battles with some tough characters and come out as the victor.
That is not to say Larkin hasn't been in the cage with quality fighters. His last five bouts have all been against legit competition.
What We Learned About Tavares
While not the most athletically gifted fighter in the division, Tavares continues to show what hard work can do.
He is a technically skilled well-rounded fighter. He is a tough out for the vast majority of the division, and he can create a lot of problems for middleweights. The performance at UFC Fight Night 35 showed exactly why.
He will drag you into his style of fight.
What's Next For Larkin?
There is a laundry list of mid-tier middleweights for Larkin to return against.
Look for Joe Silva to pit Larkin in a fight where he has the favorable matchup. They will want to get him some confidence and give him the chance to show more improvements to his game.
What's Next For Tavares?
He will take Larkin's spot in the top 15, and likely earn a top 15 fight in his next outing.
This was his fifth straight win and moves his overall UFC record to 7-1. That is worthy of a bigger fight in spite of his unexciting bouts.
Who in the top 15? That really depends on timing. No. 6-15 are all viable options in terms of matchups, but some fighters are booked and some are not back from injury. Costas Philippou could be a name you hear since he fought on the same card.
Timing will be important for Tavares. Does he jump into a very important middleweight bout, or does he find himself fighting simply to protect his ranking?