Florian submits Gomi
Report by Brady Crytzer
Photos courtesy of Josh Hedges, UFC
Kenny “KenFlo” Florian gave former PrideFC champion Takanori Gomi an unkind welcome to the UFC by submitting him in the third round with a tight rear naked choke.
Questions were set to be answered Wednesday night in Charlotte at the Bojangles Coliseum as Japanese superstar Takanori “The Fireball Kid” Gomi was making his UFC debut against two time title challenger Kenny Florian.
Gomi, who established himself as the world’s preeminent lightweight in the early 2000’s, walked to the Octagon under the scrutinizing eyes of the American public for the first time under the UFC banner. With thirty-one professional victories the question wasn’t can he still win, but does he still have it?
If anyone could’ve tested him, it was Kenny Florian. Just as he proved against lightweight champions Sean Sherk and BJ Penn, there’s no easy way around Boston’s “KenFlo.”
Gomi appeared to be the more muscular fighter of the two lightweights and fought to assume the center of the cage. The fighters postured in front of one another and winged looping punches that missed their marks. The fist significant punch of the fight was a stiff jab by Florian that froze the former world champion in his tracks. As the men jockeyed for position, the jabs of Florian began to overtake Gomi as they landed at will and backed him into the cage. Showing a sense of urgency “The Fireball Kid” shot for a takedown, but was rejected by an increasingly confident Florian. As the bell sounded, Florian remained focus as he bewildered opponent attempted a spinning back kick that was well off target.
Gomi began the round by throwing loose southpaw jabs to the midsection of his opponent. Seeing an opportunity to counterpunch Florian followed his jab with a right hand that twisted the head of Gomi. The story of the fight was beginning to develop as Florian would retain his composure and throw crisp short punches while Gomi would wing with wild haymakers. The difference? Florian’s were landing at will. The former Pride standout did find success late with hooks to the body, but Florian’s sheer volume of accurate punches controlled the round.
Florian attempted a change of pace in the third and drove Gomi into the cage. As it looked like the men were going to exchange knees, Gomi snuck away from his opponent and the striking chess match began again. In a wild combination of punches Gomi finally scored with one of his legendary haymakers. Now vulnerable for the first time in the fight, Florian slammed his opponent to the mat in dramatic fashion. From inside the guard Florian put his Brazilian jiu jitsu to work by transitioning to side mount and setting up a choke. In a heartbeat Florian sunk in a rear naked choke and forced Gomi to submit.
The official time of the tap was 2:52.
“Big Country” is Ready for the Best, KO’s Struve in :39 seconds
The Ultimate Fighter 10 winner Roy “Big Country” Nelson made quick work of Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve in just :39 seconds with a crushing overhand right.
Struve enjoyed a significant height advantage of nearly eleven inches and sought to utilize it early with a hard kick. Although he had a long jab, he could not keep the hard charging Nelson away from and soon paid the price. Nelson ripped a hard overhand right into the jaw of Struve and crumpled the 22 year old giant.
While the fight wasn’t stopped immediately and Struve was given a chance to keep fighting, there was little doubt that the Dutch fighter was finished and the bout was soon stopped.
The fight ended just :39 seconds into the fight.
Rivera Makes Statement Against Quarry
Middleweight Jorge “El Conquistador” Rivera made an impressive return to the UFC ranks stopping Nate “Rock” Quarry in the second round with a devastating left hook.
Quarry opened up the tense middleweight bout with hard kicks to the body and legs. Rivera quickly found his range however as he scored with two sharp right hands that rocked the jaw of his opponent. Smelling blood Rivera rushed forward with a hard right hook that dropped Quarry to the canvas. Quarry weathered the storm however and staggered Rivera with a hard elbow. While the fighters exchanged “El Conquistador” stunned his opponent again with a similar blow. Quarry began to absorb punishment as he was soon mounted by Rivera. Time was on his side however as Quarry was saved by the bell.
Quarry appeared to be reenergized in round two as he came out with big punches early. Any momentum gained by Quarry was soon stopped in violent fashion courtesy of a high impact left hook of Rivera. Quarry dropped to the mat and the fight was waved off by veteran referee Mario Yamasaki.
The official time was :29 seconds into round two.
Pearson Continues to Roll
In a three round lightweight belt TUF 9 winner Ross Pearson defeated Denis Siver via unanimous decision.
Round one saw the men exchange brutal low kicks early. After landing a combination that scored well, Pearson opened a cut under the left eye of Siver. After stunning his opponent, Pearson pushed Siver to the mat and quickly took his back. Siver was resilient and determined to regain positon and rolled back giving Pearson the mount position. The fighters worked to their feet as time expired.
Round two saw Siver become more aggressive while looking for takedowns. Though he failed in his first attempt, Siver managed to muscle The Ultimate Fighter 9 winner to the mat. Showing an advantage on the ground, Siver took the back of Pearson but failed to secure the position. Back on the feet, Pearson began to utilize a hard jab that once again bloodied his opponent. For the final minute of the round Pearson stung his opponent with hard straight punches.
The third round saw Pearson continue to move fluidly around the cage. Siver attempted to land several jabs but very few of them found their mark. Pearson utilized a stiff leg kick to hurt his opponent and quickly backed away from engagement. With the round in his command, Pearson began to open up with hard punches. After being stunned Siver took advantage of his off balanced opponent and took him to the mat. From the top position Siver landed hard blows. In a slick grappling stanza Pearson returned to his feet ready for action. The men threw caution to the wind in the final seconds of the round as they each scored with hard hooks to the head. Siver attempted a takedown at the bell which his opponent defended well.
All three judges scored the bout 30-27 in favor of Ross “The Real Deal” Pearson.
Tibau Too Big, Strong for Uno
Lightweight Gleison Tibau made quick work of international veteran Caol Uno in the first round via a relentless ground n’ pound TKO.
Uno appeared to be the much faster in the earlier portions of the fight. After accidentally landing a low kick on the cup of Tibau, Uno was momentarily distracted and taken to the floor. Tibau appeared to be much larger than his opponent and easily took his opponent’s back while standing. Uno, a veteran of countless international contests, was very crafty during stand up exchanges and landed several slick jabs. Not to be outdone, the massive Tibau connected with a thunderous shot to his opponent’s chin that sent the Japanese superstar sprawling. Though Uno attempted to gain a defensive position while on his back, Tibau unloaded with tenacious ground n’ pound and the fight was soon waved off.
The official time of the stoppage came at 4:13.
Welterweight Chris Brennemen earned a three round unanimous decision over Jason High.
Middleweight Gerald Harris scored a first round TKO victory over a debuting Mario Miranda. The official time of the stoppage was 4:49.
Yushin “Thunder” Okami stopped Lucio Linhares in the second round of their middleweight contest via TKO. The official time of the stoppage was 2:47.
Lightweight Nik Lentz earned three round unanimous decision over TUF veteran Rob Emerson .
Jacob “Christmas” Volkmann earned his first UFC victory over Ronnys Torres via unanimous decision in their welterweight bout.