Takanori Gomi has been away from the cage for more than a year. | Taro Irei/Sherdog.com
Former Pride Fighting Championships lightweight ruler Takanori Gomi will return to the Octagon on April 26, when “The Fireball Kid” is set to square off with Isaac Vallie-Flagg at UFC 172.
UFC officials announced the booking Tuesday. Vallie-Flagg was originally expected to face Danny Castillo at the pay-per-view event, but Castillo will instead face a different, as-yet-unannounced opponent on the same night.
UFC 172 marks the organization’s first trip to Baltimore and is headlined by a light heavyweight clash between reigning champion Jon Jones and challenger Glover Teixeira. The show takes place at Baltimore Arena and will also feature a 205-pound clash pitting Phil Davis against Anthony Johnson.
Gomi, 35, last competed in March 2013, when he suffered a controversial split decision loss to Diego Sanchez at UFC on Fuel TV 8. Prior to that setback, the hard-hitting southpaw knocked out countryman Eiji Mitsuoka and outpointed Mac Danzig to go 2-0 in 2012.
Also 35, Vallie-Flagg recently suffered his first loss in more than six years, when he was outpointed by former Jungle Fight champion Elias Silverio on Jan. 15. The Jackson-Winkeljohn representative scored consecutive victories in his two-fight Strikeforce stint before making a successful Octagon debut last year, earning a split decision win over Yves Edwards at UFC 156.