(Satoru Kitaoka finishes Takanori Gomi at "Sengoku no Ran 2009" in January. I’m not sure feet are supposed to bend that way.)
Before he rose to international fame as PRIDE’s most dominant lightweight, Takanori Gomi was a local hero in Japan’s Shooto league, where he reigned as the 154-pound champ from December 2001 to August 2003. Now, after two upset losses to Sergey Golyaev and Satoru Kitaoka in Sengoku, the Fireball Kid is heading back to his roots. Writes Japan MMA:
Shooto will hold the final event in their Tradition series (celebrating 20 years of Shooto) in May. The event will take place in JCB Hall, where also the first "Tradition" event took place…Former champion Takanori Gomi will return to Shooto and will take on the current [154-pound] champion Takashi Nakakura
in what should be an awesome fight. Nakakura is on a 5 fight winning streak and has not lost since August 2005 when he fought Mitsuhiro Ishida.
As we learned recently, Gomi’s head hasn’t been in the game for a while, so maybe a stint on a smaller, familiar stage will help him find his confidence and regain his competitive spark. Of course, the fight with Nakakura is a must-win for Gomi’s career, and the current Shooto champ is no pushover. Can Gomi get his balls back, or will he join the ever-growing club of former PRIDE legends whose skills have mysteriously evaporated? (President: Wanderlei Silva / Treasurer: Mirko Cro Cop) Nakakura’s last fight, a rear-naked choke victory over Bendy Casimir, is after the jump.