File Photo: D. Mandel/Sherdog.com
Are Gomi’s best days behind him?
31 isn’t osteoporosis territory, but Japanese standout Takanori Gomi has spent 11 years on the fight circuit. That’s approaching the expiration date for all but the most genetically favored athletes. It’s not that Gomi has dropped fights with the kind spectacular fades of Chuck Liddell or Matt Hughes: it’s that his in-ring disposition has been a mix of bored and drained. He insists a U.S. tour with reinvigorate him. We’ll see.
Can Florian earn a third title shot? And should he?
No one circles the landing strip of the UFC’s 155-pound title quite like Kenny Florian, who has made a habit of demolition derbies against contenders followed by hard-fought losses to champions B.J. Penn and Sean Sherk. Putting away Gomi and Clay Guida would put him in line again, but it’s hard to believe he could do any better against Penn the second time around. The champion is that dominant; Frankie Edgar or Gray Maynard, possible title successors, might be better options if Florian’s number comes up a third time.
Where does Nelson fit in the heavyweight picture?
(Pun intended.) Roy Nelson breezed through “The Ultimate Fighter” without incident, an impressive task when you consider that favorites can still fall victim to injury or fatigue. In his first proper UFC bout, Nelson takes on tall striker Stefan Struve. If he can figure out that puzzle, it might be fair to acknowledge Nelson’s past experience -- bouts against Andrei Arlovski and Ben Rothwell -- by accelerating his pace and giving him a shot at Junior dos Santos.
Is Okami fading?
Yushin Okami was once believed to be the necessary evil contender of the middleweight division: he’s enormous for the class, a terrific controller, and has history with champion Anderson Silva. (Their 2006 fight ended when Silva launched an illegal upkick.) That smothering approach has earned him wins, but not a whole lot of main-card attention: a loss to Chael Sonnen in October put him adrift. He’s being hustled away from television cameras Wednesday, this time against jiu-jitsu stylist Lucio Linhares. It’s a probable win, but Linhares can’t put him any closer to Silva.