Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Lethal Leprechaun - Larry Landry

Exclusive interview - MMA Blaster

Featherweight mixed martial artist Larry Landry pulled off the biggest win of his career October 25, 2008, in a stunning come from behind victory against Shah Bobonis at ICF: Power of Champions at Parris Island, South Carolina. The victory was the biggest of Larry’s mma career and got the hometown crowd whipped up into a frenzy.

Larry was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana before moving to Beaufort South Carolina. With his father in the Marines, Larry moved quite a bit in his childhood. After high school, Larry enlisted in the Navy. While in the Navy, Larry delved into combat sports for the first time picking up boxing. Larry found himself on the Navy boxing team and enjoyed the competition.

After his Navy career, Larry boxed professionally from early 1997 until the end of 1998. Larry had mixed results in his boxing career finishing up with an even 500 record. He beat some tough opponents that turned out to become major stars. Larry fought Dorin Spivey, who won two National Boxing Association featherweight titles, Roberto Nunez, who fought for WBO lightweight championship, and DeMarcus Corley, who fought for the WBC light welterweight titles.

Larry’s boxing career stalled after dropped a controversial decision for the Carolina Boxing Title in which he thought he clearly won. When speaking of some possible corruption in the boxing world, Larry remarked, “Man, there were some times that promoters found guys off the street on the way to the event in order to get their guys wins.”

At this point in his life Larry was working as a firefighter and began to develop serious strength. “I was doing the firefighter competitions that you see on TV,” said Larry. “That is the toughest workout out there is, dragging hoses, ladders, it really tires you out. It really is the best cardio workout.”

While working as a fire fighter, Larry maintained his conditioning and eventually wanted to compete again. He began watching the UFC and became interested. Larry said, “I was living in Atlanta at the time and went to a gym called Knuckle Up Fitness. They knew I had boxed before and that I wanted to compete. They told me weigh-ins were the next day if I was interested. I decided to go for it and fought Micah Miller.”

During his first fight with one day of training under his belt, Larry clinched with Miller, and Miller struck his thumb deep into Larry’s eye. The thumb detached Larry’s cornea from the retina. Despite the injury, Larry went out and fought six fights over the course of the year while basically blind in one eye. In his next fight, Larry injured his hand, specifically breaking the right index finger and middle finger knuckle. When he went to the doctor for the hand, he found himself getting prepped for eye surgery.

Larry was rushed to surgery immediately, and the doctors pulled his eye out of the socket, cleared out scar tissue, and used gas to deflate the eye and put it back in the socket. The surgery left Larry with the ability to see out of the eye. His hand was also fixed and placed in a cast.

With his injuries taken care of, Larry returned to mixed martial arts more focused. He began training harder and trying to get more work done in the gym. When describing his early training, Larry said, “I made a dummy out of sweats and would drill with it. I’d watch UFC tapes and other stuff and try to practice the moves. Regular training just didn’t exist. I would have people hold mitts for me. But I worked hard.”

Larry has since pulled off three victories in a row now, with his latest over Shah Bobonis for the 145 pound ICF title. When asked about the spinning backfist and kick that Larry absorbed, he remarked, “[t]he thing about the spinning backfist is that it is an awkward move. It’s like a superman punch in that it gets you off your rhythm. He got me with that and the high kick. It hit me and I just kept coming, I’m lucky I was biting down on my mouthpiece and my chin was down. I knew Shah was fast and I was trying to cut the cage off. Once I got the fight near the fence, he threw a straight punch and I countered with my right hook. My right hook is quick and short and landed to his temple before he hit me with the straight. After the hook landed he was stunned and I got the takedown and rear naked choke.”

Larry’s fight game has changed dramatically from his first fight until now, he said, “it is night and day. I workout at the Compound gym out here in Oceanside California. Brian has helped a great deal with my ju-jitsu at North County Fight Club. There is a Master Sergeant Jacobs that will come by and work mitts for me on base when I’m not at the gym. I still do cardio by myself in the mornings. I’ll do sprints with a weight vest on and weights on my thighs, pull-ups, weights in a cycle. Sundays I’ll do private jiu-jitsu at Brian’s house. I can roll with purple belts now and prevent the submissions, I might not be able to get them, but I can defend well now.”

When asked about the origins of the nickname Lethal Leprechaun, Larry said, “My Mom’s side of the family is strong Irish and Scottish background. Some buddies started calling me that and it stuck.”

Larry’s wife Tammy has been a constant supporter of his during his mma career. She is an active duty Marine Gunnery Sergeant who has seen time in Iraq. “When she was in Iraq, we only had one kid, now we have two. I had four or five fights when she was gone. It was tough getting everything together, but we got it done," Larry said.

Larry is a strong fighter, and when asked about the strengths of the mma game he said, “my physical strength. I’m as strong as any 21 year old out there. I have good striking and boxing, especially my right hook. I might not be the fastest guy, but I have good reaction time and can explode. I can also take a punch, that can’t be taught.”

Larry wanted to thank sponsors Triumph United, Compound MMA, Brian Whiteaker Ford, Quick and Painful, Mad Beatings and Omega Attire. If anyone is interested in sponsoring Larry, check him out in my top friends on myspace. We should see Larry defend his title early in 2009.

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*Larry in a firefighter competition

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