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MIXED MARTIAL ARTS: Larson hopes Saturday is a springboard

Brock Larson

Brock Larson has never lost in the state of Minnesota and he doesn’t plan to any time soon.

The Brainerd resident will get a chance to keep that streak going 7 p.m. Saturday when he battles Eric Davila in the main event of the MMA Extreme Challenge at Target Center.

Larson is calling this bout a make or break battle.

“Coming from my manager if I win this fight we’re right back in the conversation of the UFC,” said Larson. “There is no guarantees I’ll get called back to the UFC, but we should be in with the talks of all the other big guys. Right now Davila is on a winning streak. He’s won 10 straight. He’s hot right now. He’s a hot commodity and if I can knock him off that would do wonders.

“The goal is to get back to the UFC and make one more run and see where I end up. It’s the beginning of the journey. This will be my biggest fight since I fought Carlos Condit for the title. Where I’m at in my life it’s go time or not.”

Larson has won four of his last five matches, including his last against Gabe Walbridge on Oct. 29, 2010. The Brainerd resident owns a 33-5 record with six TKOs, 24 submissions and two decisions. Working in Larson’s favor for Saturday will be his health.

“I’m feeling great and I’ve been healthy,” said Larson. “I have no injuries I’m dealing with. Usually I have something nagging me, but I just got done with a deep tissue massage so right now I’m feeling really great.”

Nicknamed Bighead, Davila owns a 19-10 record with three TKOs, 13 submissions and three decisions. The 5-foot-9, 170 pounder from Lubbock, Texas, is known for a big left hook and a right cross said Larson. Not known for his boxing skills, Larson said he is going to have to break away from his conventional plan of attack against a bigger, stronger Davila.

“I’ve been watching a lot of film on him and he’s a strong, very big guy,” said Larson. “He’s bigger than me and if he connects with a punch...I have to be careful.

“I’ve never been much of a boxer or a finesse guy so I’m going to try to work the more technical style of boxing and less brawling. I don’t want to get into a brawl with this guy because it could be the end of the night and I’ve never been knocked out before. I’m going to go Rocky on him and stick and move. I hope to create angels and eventually get down on the mat and take him down to my level. My ground game is much more refined then his.”

Helping combat the size difference will be the creature comforts of home along with a partisan fan base at the Target Center.

“He’s got to make weight and he’ll be trying to do that in an unfamiliar place so he’ll be looking for places to eat and recovery,” said Larson. “I’ve got all that stuff down. The night of the fight the place will go crazy. He’ll have to walk out to a bunch of hostile fans. I get to feed off of them. I’ve never lost in Minnesota and I don’t plan on it.”

JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at or 855-5856.