31 Mar 2010 08:00:43 AM
(Props: Genghis Con)
Tonight’s UFC Fight Night card will feature three fresh prospects trying to make their names and one MMA legend — all of whom will be competing in the UFC for the first time in their careers. Which ones will rise to the challenge, and which ones will succumb to Octagon jitters and dangerous opponents? Get to know them below and let us know what you think…
TAKANORI GOMI (LW)
Experience: 31-5-0 record w/1 no-contest, with multiple appearances in PRIDE, Shooto, and Sengoku. Notable victories over Tatsuya Kawajiri, Hayato Sakurai, Jens Pulver, and Mitsuhiro Ishida. Most recently won a unanimous decision over Tony Hervey at Vale Tudo Japan 2009 last October.
Will be fighting: Kenny Florian (12-4, 10-3 UFC)
Lowdown: Only the noobiest of TUF noobs would need an introduction to the Fireball Kid, who has already secured his place as one of the greatest lightweight fighters of all time. A legendary former champion in both PRIDE and Shooto, Gomi unfortunately hasn’t looked the same since his gogoplata loss/marijuana no-contest against Nick Diaz in February 2007, as he’s suffered a couple of surprising defeats and struggled to put away opponents that he would have smashed in his prime. Though he vows to "create a ruckus" in the UFC, this bit of info is somewhat troubling: "I don’t have a cage in my gym, but I understand that the cage can either be used for me or be used against me. I’ll try not to think about the cage too much as I fight in it.” He’ll also need to adjust to elbow strikes on the ground, something he hasn’t had to deal with in Japan — which could become a painful factor against Ken-Flo.