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Kenny Florian welcomes Takanori Gomi to the UFC at Fight Night 21

After Japanese standout Takanori Gomi (31-5 MMA, 0-0 UFC) reportedly signed with the UFC, rumors began flying around that his first opponent would be UFC lightweight contender Kenny Florian (12-4 MMA, 10-3 UFC).

Well, those rumors have begun to take a credible shape. ESPN’s MMA Live has reported the bout will serve as the main event at UFC Fight Night 21 in North Carolina on March 31. MMA Live, a show in which Florian serves as an analyst, posted an updated on their official Twitter account this morning.

Florian has spent the vast majority of his professional career with the UFC. He has seen great success in the UFC’s stacked lightweight division, but has been unsuccessful in two title shot attempts.

After an August 2009 title bout loss to champ B.J. Penn, Florian mutually split with longtime trainer Mark DellaGrotte of Team Sityodtong. Since then, Florian has been training at the Tristar Gym in Montreal under Firas Zahabi. Tristar houses UFCs famed welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre.

Last month, Florian rebounded with a dominating performance over Clay Guida—winning by submission in the second round.

Gomi, once ranked as the world’s top lightweight, dominated the PRIDE banner between 2004-2006. Critics have recently questioned Gomi’s work ethic and commitment to the sport.

With the announcement of Florian vs. Gomi, a bout that could easily be on the main card of a PPV, the March 31 “Fight Night 21” card is beginning to look quite strong:

Kenny Florian vs. Takanori Gomi

Nate Quarry vs. Jorge Rivera

Lucio Linhares vs. Yushin Okami

Cole Miller vs. Andre Winner

  • Jstew3785 says:

    IMO Florian takes this easily. Not discrediting Gomi but Florian is better all around.

  • Rece Rock says:

    Nice card getting put together… but even with a win where does Florian go from here??

  • Jstew3785 says:

    Rece Rock: Nice card getting put together… but even with a win where does Florian go from here??  (Quote)

    I think the winner of this fights Gray Maynard for the #1 contender spot.

  • retrofitting123 says:

    card looking great!i also dont see the benefit for kenny

  • fanoftna33 says:

    I think with his power and better wrestling Gomi takes a UD here.

  • nate says:

    what DOES kenny do now? if he beats gomi & then maynard? then what? he eliminates more contenders & gets destroyed by bj again?? man, bj is really effing up the 155lb division. its hard to imagine ANY of the current contenders defeating him. its crazy that bj is so good @ 155. kenny is a phenominal LW & proves that again & again by taking out almost everyone in front of him & bj still makes him look pretty green in the cage with him. he clearly is on another level.

  • Kamakosmo says:

    Question: Does every fight have to MEAN something? Can’t a good fight just be that, without everyone having to attach a “Where does he go from now” monicker to it? There will probably be around 12 UFC PPV’s this year, a few UFN’s prinkled in, and a TUF finale (or 2). That’s a lot of fights. Sometimes, a fight is just that, a fight. One put on for the fans, without the need for an asterisk or a “What now”. I myself will enjoy it for what it is….just a fight. Gomi knocks Florian on his ass….IMHO.

  • Dufresne says:

    I would normally agree with you here Kamakosmo, but Florian is a top tier LW in a division that is kinda running thin lately.

    I’m also curious as to why Florian is on a UFN when he’s coming off of a dominant opponent in Guida and who’s only 2 losses at LW have been in title fights.

    Personally I hope Dana manages to convince Diego to stick around at LW or to jump back down after his next fight and take on Florian regardless of the outcome of the Gomi fight.

  • Rich S. says:

    I hate this..
    I suppose they want to make sure he’s still a legitimate threat by just tossing him into the deep end, but it seems like bringing him in against a gatekeeper would be a FAR BETTER CHOICE in terms of getting the strictly-UFC fans acquainted with Gomi..
    Either way I’m a huge fan of Gomi and I hope to see him debut with a huge knockout over a title contender.. Or at least an impressive victory.. Seriously, that would make my year.. But, it’s hard for me to pick ANYONE that’s not named BJ Penn over Florian..

    But, you never know how these guys are going to transition from Japan into the UFC..
    Takanori could come in and steamroll Kenny.. Or, he could give a horrible performance and fade into the lower tier of the LW division.. I for one would LOVE to see the first come true.. Nothing against Kenny..

  • chiggs says:

    kenny will demolish this has been, no doubt

  • submit662266 says:

    I haven’t seen Gomi fight often enough to be sure. I do agree that giving him a “tune-up” fight and introduce him to many unknowing fans like myself would makes sense for everyone involved. They did that for Cro Cop and Rampage.


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