UFC Fight Night 21 Preview: The Main Card

Florian vs. Gomi

Mar 31, 2010
There can be no such thing as too much MMA, and Spike TV brings us UFC Fight Night 21 on Wednesday at the Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, N.C. The headliner provides a serious slice of violence, with Kenny Florian’s slick boxing going head-to-head with Takanori Gomi’s crushing power. The rest of the main card lineup provides must-see MMA, as well.

Any time Roy Nelson and Stefan Struve battle it out for the title of most physically unique heavyweight, fans owe it to themselves to tune in. Throw in Nate Quarry and Jorge Rivera threatening to send one another to the trauma unit, along with “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 9 winner Ross Pearson taking on Dennis Siver, and we have no choice but to surrender to the idiot box.

Kenny Florian vs. Takanori Gomi

The Breakdown: It serves as a testament to B.J. Penn’s almost mundane dominance of the lightweight division that two fighters he has already eviscerated are battling it out for the opportunity to get eviscerated all over again. That bit of cynicism ignores an obvious contender for “Fight of the Night,” if not “Fight of the Year.”

Gomi -- even the shopworn impostor currently inhabiting his body -- hits like a Mack truck running on jet fuel, and Florian has developed into an adroit counterpuncher in a division short on striking fundamentals. While Gomi was once a sharp boxer in his own right, the sheen has come off that part of his game; what’s left is an undeniably effective but utterly predictable slugger.

Against a fighter as cerebral as Florian, predictability can prove poisonous, and Gomi’s recent uneven showings only tilt the scale further in his foe’s favor. Considering Gomi has all but abandoned his stultifying top control style, he seems destined to enter a boxing match for which he is unprepared.

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The Bottom Line: Monster power and a reinforced chin will carry you far in MMA, and Gomi, despite being overmatched on paper, will give Florian all he can handle early in the fight. The game-changer will be Gomi’s notoriously bush-league conditioning regimen, an unforgivable habit especially when compared to Florian’s Ivan Drago-inspired camps. This fight will gradually slip away from Gomi, as Florian methodically picks him apart for an impressive unanimous decision win.
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