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Takanori Gomi falls again during Sengoku’s “Seventh Battle”

Takanori Gomi’s free fall from having once been considered the top lightweight fighter in the world continued during Sengoku’sSeventh Battle” on Saturday in Saitama, Japan at the Saitama Super Arena.

Despite having lost to Sergey Golyaev via split decision during Sengoku’s “Sixth Battle” in November, Gomi was given an opportunity to face the promotion’s lightweight Grand Prix winner, Satoru Kitaoka, in a bout to determine Sengoku’s first-ever lightweight champion.

Gomi’s fight vs. Kitaoka lasted all of one minute and 41 seconds after the former PRIDE lightweight champion was forced to submit to an Achilles lock. The result left him with just two victories in his last three fights, hardly credentials worthy of elite-level competitor status.

Gomi’s fall from grace began in February of 2007 at PRIDE 33 when he was submitted in the second round by Nick Diaz courtesy of a gogoplata. The result was later ruled a no contest by the Nevada State Athletic Commission after Diaz had tested for abnormally high levels of THC. However, millions of fight fans witnessed Gomi being dominated in the standup aspect of the fight after he had been pushed by PRIDE as the best lightweight striker in the world.

He rebounded with a first round TKO (due to cut) victory over Duane Ludwig during Sengoku’s first-ever event this past March but followed it up with an uninspiring unanimous decision victory over Seung Hwan Bang during Sengoku’s “Fourth Battle.” The performance sparked many pundits to question whether Gomi should still be regarded as a top rated lightweight. Gomi only provided his critics with additional ammunition following his consecutive losses to Golyaev and Kitaoka.

A former welterweight champion in Shooto, Gomi rose to prominence in PRIDE with notable victories over Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett, former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver, Marcus Aurelio, Ralph Gracie, and current DREAM standouts Mitsuhiro Ishida and Tatsuya Kawajiri.

Gomi actually began his PRIDE career with a perfect 10-0 record before losing to Aurelio via first round submission in April of 2006 at Bushido 10. He would later avenge the loss to Aurelio and improved his PRIDE record to 13-1 before losing to Diaz at PRIDE 33.

With the win, Kitaoka improved his record to 24-8 and is now recognized as both Sengoku’s first-ever lightweight Grand Prix winner and lightweight champion. He presently holds notable wins over his career against Gomi, Paul Daley, Kurt Pellegrino, current WEC welterweight champion Carlos Condit, Eiji Mitsuoka, Clay French and Hidehiko Hasegawa.

Kitaoka is now 10-1 in his last eleven fights, which is quite a dramatic turnaround for a fighter who began his career with just one victory in his first six bouts.

  • Marshall says:

    This is a sad sight to see, but I believe Gomi will rebound from these losses.

  • Davey D says:

    I have never considered Takanori Gomi the #1 LW fighter in MMA. As I recall, he got destroyed by BJ Penn in Hawaii year’s ago. His run in Pride FC was impressive but he lost to Marcus in a “non-title” bout which, he did avenge (according to the judges). We all know about the Diaz bout, best fight in 2007. Now he has lost 2 in a row in Japan.

    IMO, Gomi never looked comfortable being regarded as the #1 LW. His post-fight antic’s got him a lot of press over the year’s but that only goes so far. You must perform well in order to succed. I still consider him top 10 and would also like to see how he would do in the Octagon. Not so much in a ring anymore. The UFC could still use someone of his caliber if they hold an event in Japan again.

  • Rich S. says:

    I had Gomi at #1 there for a while..
    He’s a great fighter, I just think he may get caught up in confidence every now and then..

    I’m sure he’ll get back to fighting smart, and he’ll be dominant again some day..

  • HexRei says:

    The result left him with just two victories in his last three fights, hardly credentials worthy of elite-level competitor status.

    Minor correction Sam, I think perhaps you meant 2 victories in his last four or five fights. :)

  • ACK! says:

    There’s nothing sad about this. Gomi’s had a nice run and now it’s up to him to figure out whether he’s on his last legs or not. I don’t see Gomi’s recent fights has tarnishing his legacy or anything either. He was a really good fighter in that environment who consistenly put on great fights, but time changes everything and all you can do is adapt or perish.

    Anyway, this is all about Kitaoka. He’s a good fighter with a very bright future after a poor start to his career. Considering how hard he must have worked to get to this point and then seeing him dominate Gomi, who seems to have gotten a little lax after years of fame and stardom, it’s hard to ignore the moral to this story.

  • ACK! says:

    Also, Kitaoka has almost 40 fights at 28 years old. He’s been fighting MMA since he was 21 while spending most of his career with Pancrase. In the past year, he has fought 6 times, with 5 of those in the last 8 months. He hasn’t been stopped in his past 28 fights and the only time he ever has been was in 2002 by KO (Knee). Other than that all of his loses (7 out of 8 total) have been by decision. In the past 3 years, he’s gone 11-2-1 with his last loss (as well as that draw) coming against Katsuya Inoue.

    He hasn’t fought a lot of elite competition, but he’s had many impressive submission victories including devastating leg locks. Over his career he’s shown very few offensive standup skills, but is rarely exploited by striking which is a testament to his toughness and defensive abilities. On the ground he’s extremely dangerous and has never been submitted in his career.

    If look beyond his first year or so in MMA when he was young and inexperienced, Kitaoka’s had a promising career against mostly middling competition. Recently he’s faced some tougher competition with solid results. Maybe Kitaoka’s realizing his potential or maybe he’s gotten some lucky breaks, but eitherway this is a great story of a fighter who’s had a long career and taken his share of lumps before experiencing much true success. And now he’s still a relatively young fighter with loads of experience (both good and bad) who’s only stronger because of it.

    Quite a contrast to Gomi, eh?

  • Davey D says:

    ACK!, great post. I honestly hadn’t heard of Kitaok until now. Although I do watch a lot fight’s and it’s hard to remember everyone. I’m interested to see what he’ll do next.

  • jj420 says:

    im kind of glad to see gomi didnt win considering he didnt earn that title shot.

  • Marshall says:

    You must have been really pissed then when Brock Lesnar won since he didn’t “earn” his title shot. After all Gomi’s record was 29 and 4 before this fight and Lesnar’s was a staggering 2 and 1 when he got his title shot.

  • Cole from Chicago says:

    Gomi with is iron chin a strong punches is a dangerous match for anybody in the lighterweight classes. And he is an exciting fighter and one of my favorites.

  • ViciousUppercut says:

    Poor Gomi, since gettin beat by Nick Diaz, a guy known for hitting Bong. since then he’s only been able to defeat a couple guys named Bang. I really don’t care for Gomi he’s overrated and I never really gave a Dang. But if that idiot don’t start winning, he’ll find himself unemployed at home playing with his wang

  • CMT says:

    Davey D – not being familiar with abbreviations, I looked up IMO. I now know what it means, but on a side note, it also means “country bumpkin” (literally potato) in Japanese slang. Funny.
    Vicious – Funny.
    I don’t watch Gomi for his fighting skills, I watch him for his entrances!


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