At UFC Fight Night 21 on Wednesday, the former Pride lightweight champion, Takanori Gomi, made his long-awaited UFC debut.
Florian – a formidable test for any fighter in their first UFC appearance, confirmed sportsbook
predictions and dominated Gomi with crisp boxing, and his superior reach. The jab was the tool of choice for Florian, who was able to land shots on
Gomi at will, avoiding Gomi’s dangerous countering style.
Feints were clearly in the game plan. Florian would throw feints, wait for Gomi to counter, and then counter off those movements. Ken-Flo, as he’s
affectionately known, also peppered Gomi with leg kicks and the occasional body shot.
When the fight did go to the ground, Gomi did not fair much better. After eating nasty ground and pound in the form of Florian’s elbows and
hammerfists, Gomi eventually succumbed to a rear-naked-choke in round three. While the win was certainly expected according to those versed in UFC betting, the question of where both men go from here is intriguing. Florian is
expected to meet Gray Maynard, a wrestling powerhouse who has been dominating the UFC’s lightweight division with his crushing top game. As for Gomi,
the picture is less clear. While most expected Gomi to lose to Florian, is the once feared Fireball Kid another relic of a forgotten era? His next
bouts in the UFC will determine this, but Gomi faces nightmarish style match ups against bigger wrestlers who will look to negate his striking by
controlling him on the ground for three rounds.
A Maynard-Florian match is intriguing. Does Florian have the defensive wrestling to stop Maynard’s takedowns? Does Maynard have the chops to hang with
Florian in a boxing match? Expect to find out in the coming months.