Florian-Gomi Targeted as UFN 21 Headliner

By Brian Knapp Jan 21, 2010
Two-time lightweight championship challenger Kenny Florian expects to headline UFC Fight Night 21 against former Pride Fighting Championships titleholder Takanori Gomi on March 31, likely at the Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, N.C. ESPN’s MMA Live, a show on which Florian serves as an analyst, announced the matchup via Twitter on Thursday.

Florian has posted seven wins in eight fights, losing only to UFC lightweight king B.J. Penn in that timeframe. The popular 33-year-old last competed in December, when he submitted Clay Guida with a second-round rear-naked choke at UFC 107. Florian, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and polished stand-up fighter, also holds victories against American Top Team’s Din Thomas, “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 5 semi-finalist Joe Lauzon and the highly regarded Joe Stevenson. Only two of his 13 UFC bouts have gone the distance.

Once considered the standard bearer in the lightweight division, Gomi will carry a two-fight winning streak into his UFC debut. He has not appeared on American soil since his ill-fated matchup with Nick Diaz ended in his gogoplata-induced submission at Pride 33 in February 2007; the result was later changed to a no contest after Diaz tested positive for suspected marijuana use. Gomi, 31, counts victories over former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver, Japanese standout Hayato “Mach” Sakurai, Strikeforce veteran Mitsuhiro Ishida and the world-ranked Tatsuya Kawajiri among his 31 career conquests. He has never been knocked out.
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