Thursday, January 21, 2010
Kenny Florian vs. Takanori Gomi Targeted For Ultimate Fight Night 21, March 31st
According to a tweet by ESPN's MMA Live crew, a lightweight match between perennial UFC lightweight contender Kenny "Ken-Flo" Florian (12-4) and one-time, world-wide, divisional king Takanori "The Fireball Kid" Gomi (31-5) has been targeted as the main event at Ultimate Fight Night 21. The event will air live from Charlotte, North Carolina on Spike TV and serves as a lead-in to the first episode of The Ultimate Fighter 11 reality show, which features a cast of middleweights and will be coached by longtime rivals Chuck Liddell (21-7) and Tito Ortiz (15-7-1).
Both Florian and Gomi have fought well in losses to, UFC lightweight champion BJ Penn in the past, so this bout can be seen as an attempt by the UFC to mark just one for a potential rematch with "The Prodigy" in the near future.
Kenny Florian arguably took a round from Penn at last August's UFC 101: Penn vs. Florian before succumbing to a fourth-round rear naked choke. He has since changed his main training camp from Mark DellaGrotte's Team Sityodtong in Boston, to Firas Zahabi's TriStar Gym in Montreal. Displaying his newly retooled MMA game for the first time, Florian recently rebounded from his loss to Penn with a convincing submission of Clay "The Carpenter" Guida (25-11) at last December's UFC 107: Penn vs. Sanchez. Kenny has won ten of his twelve career UFC bouts at lightweight, including seven of his last eight.
Takanori Gomi fought BJ Penn back in 2003 when "The Prodigy" was in the midst of a self-imposed exile from the UFC. It was a spirited, back-and-forth match that ended when Penn secured a fight-ending rear naked choke midway through the third round. Since that time "The Fireball Kid" competed mostly in Japan's PRIDE and Sengoku promotions compiling a record of 17-3-1. However, with losses in two of his last four, some have began to question if the hard-hitting Gomi has lost a step. It seems he will have the chance to acquit himself of those accusations in his long-awaited UFC debut against "Ken-Flo" on March, 31st.
This match-up presents an extreme likelihood for a violent and decisive finish considering that Florian and Gomi have ended 28 of their 43 career victories inside the distance, for a combined finishing rate of over %65.
Other matches likely for UFN 21 (March 31st) include: Roy Nelson vs. Stefan Struve; Nate Quarry vs. Jorge Rivera; Yushin Okami vs. Lucio Linhares; Cole Miller vs. Andre Winner; Ross Pearson vs. Dennis Siver; and Gleison Tibau vs. Caol Uno