Florian Taps Gomi at UFC Fight Night 21

By Brian Knapp Apr 1, 2010
Two-time UFC lightweight title challenger Kenny Florian kept Takanori Gomi on the end of a stiff jab for 10 minutes and then put him on the ground to finish the job.

Florian submitted Gomi with a textbook rear-naked choke, spoiling the former Pride Fighting Championships kingpin’s Octagon debut in the UFC Fight Night 21 headliner on Wednesday at the Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, N.C. Gomi, who entered the bout on a two-fight winning streak, met his demise 2:52 into round three, with Florian’s arms laced around his neck.

“Don’t turn your back on me,” Florian said. “Not a good idea.”

Gomi looked like a man out of his element, as Florian drilled him repeatedly with a piston-like jab for the better part of two rounds. The 31-year-old Japanese export was reduced to flailing wildly with his hands, but Florian’s head movement and footwork nullified his attack at virtually every turn. By the start of round three, Gomi was noticeably discouraged and winded. Florian must have sensed weakness.

After shrugging off a hard left hook, Florian scored with a takedown and immediately went to work compromising his wilting foe’s guard. As he mounted, Gomi surrendered his back, spun away in desperation and opened the door for the choke. Florian obliged, and, in a matter of seconds, the former Pride standout raised the white flag.

“I felt like he was open for it,” Florian said. “He ended up getting a little upright and I ended up getting him down. Tonight was my night. The hard work paid off.”

Nelson Chops Down Struve

Former International Fight League heavyweight champion Roy Nelson melted Stefan Struve with an overhand right and sealed the deal with a series of punches on the ground 39 seconds into their co-main event. Nelson -- whose overhanging belly has won him a cult following in the sport -- has posted seven victories in nine fights, the last two by first-round knockout.

“I think getting past Stefan throws me right in the mix, right in the title hunt,” said Nelson, who halted his 22-year-old opponent’s three-fight winning streak.

The 33-year-old Las Vegan backed up Struve with his menacing fists and crumpled the Dutchman against the cage with a vicious right hand to the jaw. Nelson, who won Season 10 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” never allowed the 6-foot-11 Struve to bring his height or reach into play.

“The biggest thing is you have to get past his reach,” Nelson said. “He has a long jab. When he turns 25, he’s going to be a stud.”

File Photo: Sherdog.com

Rivera dominated Quarry.
Rivera Stops Quarry in Second

In a one-sided battle between grizzled 38-year-olds, Jorge Rivera smashed Nate Quarry with heavy strikes to the head and put away the former middleweight title challenger in a second-round technical knockout. The merciful end came 29 seconds into round two.

Focused and aggressive from the outset, Rivera dropped Quarry repeatedly with right hands in the opening round, spilled plenty of blood at his expense and threatened to finish him inside the first five minutes. Battered and bleeding, Quarry survived, only to find more punishment awaiting him in the second. There, a right hand-short left hook combination sent the desperate middleweight crashing to the canvas, where Rivera, with punches and hammerfists, forced referee Mario Yamasaki to intervene.

“I asked for this fight because I knew Nate was a tough dude,” said Rivera, a Milford, Mass., native who has rattled off three consecutive victories. “I knew we’d put on a show.”

Pearson Cruises Past Siver

“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 9 winner Ross Pearson employed a multi-pronged stand-up attack, as he cruised to a unanimous decision over Dennis Siver in a featured lightweight tilt. Scores were 30-27 across the board for Pearson, who picked apart his foe with lead left hooks, left jabs, leg kicks and the occasional right hand.

“I’m pretty happy,” Pearson said. “I hit him with a lot of good shots, and he just kept coming. It was all about range, this fight. I just wanted to mix it up and keep him confused.”

Pearson roared out of the gates in the first round, as he rattled Siver with a right hand and then wobbled him with a head kick. The 25-year-old opened a cut under the Russian-born German’s left eye and had him bleeding from the nose by the time the first five minutes were complete. Silver retreated to his corner, the fight clearly slipping from his hands.

Rounds two and three provided more of the same, though Siver landed his trademark spinning back kick to the body twice. However, they were glancing blows and did little to stem Pearson’s tide. The Team Rough House standout wore out Siver with fluid, accurate punches and kicks en route to his 10th victory in 11 fights.

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