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Tag: UFC Fight Night 21

Exclusive: Kenny Florian Reflects on Victory Over Gomi and the Elusive Lightweight Title

Kenny Florian UFC Fight Night 21 Takanori Gomi
(Photo courtesy of MMAWeekly.)

By CagePotato contributor Elias Cepeda

Kenny Florian‘s domination of PRIDE legend Takanori Gomi at Wednesday’s UFC Fight Night 21 made a couple things perfectly clear: First, that Gomi can no longer hang with the division’s elite fighters. Also, that the constantly improving Florian is undoubtedly one of the very best 155-pounders in the world. In this exclusive interview, Ken-Flo takes us through his fight with the Fireball Kid, and discusses life in the UFC’s lightweight division, where the championship belt continues to lie maddeningly out of reach…

*****

CAGEPOTATO.COM: Very early on in your fight against Gomi, you began to get the better of him standing up. Soon you began dancing around, leaning over, dropping your hands. Was that just one of those things where you got so comfortable that you got a bit cocky, or were you trying to goad him into doing something in particular?
FLORIAN: No, it’s part of a rhythm. It’s a calculated part of a boxing rhythm you try to get yourself into to make sure that I keep my head moving and I stay loose. It’s a swagger you need to have. It’s my way of making sure that there is no catching me when I’m moving, when I’m punching, and it has really helped me, not only in my training, but I think in the fight to have that looseness and relaxation. I’ve just been working on my boxing technique a lot and I’m glad I was able to show that.

In the third round, Gomi landed what appeared to be his cleanest punch of the fight. A few seconds later you took him down, and about a minute later you finished him by choke. Was your plan to basically stand with Gomi until he showed you something, then put him on his back to make things easier for yourself?
Well I knew that he would start to get fatigued. He was losing the first two rounds and I knew he’d start to get desperate and he’d start to get upright. That was going to allow me the space and ability to get to his legs. And that’s what happened. I had planned to take him down in the third round, I knew that was going to happen, I knew he was going to get tired and he’d be easier to finish. By that time I think he was worn out, mentally, physically, and just didn’t have an answer, was frustrated. And I saw a perfect opportunity to go for his legs. I took him down and tried to capitalize.

So it didn’t have to do with him finally landing a good shot?
Not at all. He was landing shots before that, you know. He was able to sting me in the second round. In the third round there was nothing that hurt me. Watching the video tape it looked like that was the cleanest shot but that wasn’t the one that hurt. In the second round, that hurt.

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The Potato Index: UFC Fight Night 21 Aftermath


(Dutch punch-faces are the best, aren’t they? Photo courtesy of UFC.com)

Kenny Florian (Submission of the Night), Roy Nelson (KO of the Night) and the duo of Ross Pearson/Dennis Siver (Fight of the Night) pocketed $30,000 bonuses for their work on last night’s UFC Fight Night 21 event, but what’s money compared to the numbers of the Potato Index? Sure, maybe the Index’s arbitrary numerical rankings system can’t be exchanged for goods and services, but on the flip side, no one has ever accused the Index of being the root of all evil. Not yet, anyway.

Let’s see who’s up and who’s down on this fine Thursday morning.

Kenny Florian +74
Beating Gomi doesn’t mean quite as much as it once did, but Florian looked sharp, patient, and smart in victory. He probably still wouldn’t beat B.J. Penn, which makes him the second-best lightweight in the UFC. Guess it’s better than being the third-best.

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UFC Fight Night 21 Results: The Prelims


(‘Well Ronys, I look forward to fighting you and hopefully we can put on a good show for the…I’m sorry, but I just can’t take you seriously with that thing on your head.’ Photo courtesy of UFC.com)

If you want to know the results of the fights on the preliminary portion of the Fight Night 21 card, then proceed after the jump.  If you don’t want to know, then don’t do that.  Pretty straightforward, really.

Whatever you decide, don’t miss our liveblog of the event later on tonight. We promise to share all the little fleeting thoughts that are probably better kept to ourselves.

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‘UFC Fight Night 21: Florian vs. Gomi’: The New Guys


(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.

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I’m Sorry Mr. Gomi, Are We Boring You?


(Photo courtesy of Combat Lifestyle.)

Well, the first of two weigh-ins for Wednesday night’s UFC Fight Night 21 on Spike TV went off without a hitch.  Now the boys have to worry about weigh-in number two tomorrow morning, where they can’t be more than thirteen pounds heavier than the official weight they clocked in at today. 

It’s an interesting policy to try and ensure that fighters aren’t cutting too much weight, but if they’re re-weighing them again in the morning, whether than right before fight time, you have to wonder whether it will really achieve the desired result.  Also, thirteen pounds seems pretty arbitrary.  For lightweights, it’s a pretty decent amount of leeway, but what if "Big Country" wants to hit the buffet?  Who does North Carolina think they are that they can tell him when to put down the fork?  That’s a decision that is between Roy and God.

Full weigh-in results are after the jump.

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MMA FightPicker Update: Enter Your Pools Now for ‘Florian vs. Gomi’

UFC Fight Night 21 Florian Gomi Nelson Struve

Another big week on MMA FightPicker is in the books, and would you believe that Ben and Ben ended up tied for 2nd place (along with Geriatric Peon) in their pool? I guess that’s what happens when you make the exact same selections. Who knew. Celebrity guest-picker Roy Nelson did about as well, and we applaud him for predicting Ricardo Almeida’s win over Matt Brown, as well as the lack of an early stoppage in St. Pierre/Hardy. Speaking of Nelson, Big Country makes his next Octagon appearance this Wednesday at UFC Fight Night 21: Florian vs. Gomi, which goes down at the Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte. The event will be broadcast on Spike TV at 8 p.m. ET/PT, and will lead in to the season premiere of TUF 11.

How does this affect you as a FightPicker player? Well, you only have until Wednesday afternoon to enter this week’s pools and make your selections, so get your e-asses in gear and make it happen. There are no prizes up for grabs this time around; we’ll announce the winners of last week’s iPad pools as soon as we have them. Let’s take a look at the questions that are currently in play…

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Venue News: Bojangles’ Coliseum Is a Real Place, UFC’s Abu Dhabi Arena Isn’t…Yet


(Fried chicken, biscuits, and balloons. If you think the MGM Grand has anything better to offer, you are so very wrong.)

Now that the spring of 2010 is shaping up to be an avalanche of MMA events, we must now stop OMG-ing over the fight cards long enough to deal with practical concerns such as, where the hell are we going to have these things?  For UFC Fight Night 21 on March 31st, the answer is reportedly Bojangles’ Coliseum, which sounds like the punchline to a joke about crass commercialism, but is actually a real place in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

As anyone who has ever flown out of an airport in N.C. knows, Bojangles’ Famous Chicken and Biscuits is what you will inevitably smell as soon as the plane doors are sealed and you realize everyone but you had the foresight to bring some food on this flight.  It’s also the corporate sponsor of UFC Fight Night 21′s host venue, and we very much look forward to hearing Mike Goldberg’s attempt at shouting the name with all the forced enthusiasm he can muster.

As for UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi on April 10, that’s a trickier one.  You see, there’s going to be a venue for that fight, it just doesn’t, you know, exist yet.  As UFC U.K. president Marshall Zelaznik told Steve Cofield, the future site of UFC 112 is currently a gravel pit. 

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Florian vs. Gomi For Fight Night 21? Sure, Why Not


(Howler Monkey vs. former sensation, who ya got?)

One of our favorite aspects of Twitter is watching people try, and then inevitably fail, to keep a secret.  It never gets old.  For instance, first the official "MMA Live" Twitter posts a teaser that Kenny Florian will be revealing when his fight with former Pride star and UFC newcomer Takanori Gomi will take place.  Sounds like a reason to watch the show, right?  Then right after that they tell us it’s at UFC Fight Night 21 on March 31st.  So, you know, mystery solved.

In any event, here’s a fight worth getting pumped about.  Florian is coming off his crushing loss to B.J. Penn, (edit: and the ensuing Clay Guida win, duh) but as he told us last month, he’s been working with Firas Zahabi, trying some new things, and itching for a fight.  Matching him up with Gomi right off the bat tells us that the UFC isn’t interested in letting "The Fireball Kid" start slow against some former TUFers and work his way up to the top of the division.  Instead it’s sink or swim, and right away. 

It’s been a couple years since Gomi has looked really impressive, but will his move to the UFC and a little training time at AKA be enough to spark a career renaissance?  Or is Florian too well-rounded for Gomi to overcome in his first Octagon appearance? 

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UFC’s Most Cursed Fighter Will Try to Return in March Against Alessio Sakara

James Irvin UFC MMA knee injury

It’s kind of crazy to think about it, but UFC fighter James Irvin hasn’t been in the Octagon since his 61-second knockout loss to Anderson Silva, way back in July 2008. Since then, the Sandman has served a nine-month suspension for unauthorized painkiller use and pulled out of two different fights due to knee injuries. (This is the same guy who blew out his knee during a match against Thiago Silva in May 2007, broke his foot while training for a UFC 85 bout against Rashad Evans, and once fell out of the cage during a fight against Bobby Southworth.) And yet the UFC has stuck by Irvin, continuing to offer him fights that he very likely won’t show up for. Everybody cross your fingers, because Irvin will reportedly make his long-delayed middleweight debut at "UFC on Versus" (March 21st; Broomfield, Colorado).

If he can avoid injuries or other major misfortunes for the next two months, Irvin’s opponent will be Alessio Sakara, who most recently won a split-decision over Thales Leites at UFC 101, effectively beating him out of the UFC. Sakara was scheduled to face Rousimar Palhares at the TUF 10 finale, but was forced to withdraw due to injury. This has to be Irvin’s last chance to save his job — will he return to his old superman-punching, flying-knee’ing form, or will he get hit by a bus on the way to weigh-ins?

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Junior Dos Santos vs. Gabriel Gonzaga to Co-Headline ‘UFC on Versus’

Brandon Vera Jon Jones Junior Dos Santos Gabriel Gonzaga UFC Versus

Junior Dos Santos and Gabriel Gonzaga were originally supposed to throw down at UFC 108, before a staph infection put Napao down for the count. Now that Gonzaga is recovering, the UFC has officially announced that the heavyweight matchup has been rescheduled to UFC Fight Night 21 in March (aka "UFC on Versus"), where it will serve as a lead-in to the Jon Jones vs. Brandon Vera main event. If you look up you’ll see all four men, not exactly mean-mugging, but serious-mugging at the very least.

Dos Santos is currently on a 4-0 tear in the Octagon, scoring dramatic wins over Fabricio Werdum (KO, round 1), Stefan Struve (TKO, round 1), Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic (TKO/bitchassness, round 3), and Gilbert Yvel (TKO, round 1); Yvel filled in for Gonzaga at UFC 108. Gonzaga’s last cage-appearance was a TKO win over a nut-crushed Chris Tuchscherer at UFC 102.

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