Lost in the UFC 111 hoopla is the fact “UFC Fight Night 21” will be taking place tonight inside the Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina. The freebie Spike TV broadcast features a lightweight bout between Kenny Florian and Takanori Gomi, which both fighters have promised will be “explosive.”
“I consider him maybe one of the most dangerous fighters I’ve ever gone against just because of his experience and his knockout power,” Florian told a flock of reporters on Monday.
Florian is a former two-time UFC lightweight top contender and stakes claim to a 12-4 record. What’s most impressive about the Bostonian’s resume is that he’s ended all but one of his victories before the final horn.
In addition, two of his losses have come in championship fights, including his UFC 101 loss to reigning king BJ Penn this past August, which he believes has helped his evolution as a mixed martial artist immensely.
“I just had the best training camp of my career and I am ready to go,” Florian confidently stated. “I have to stay disciplined against Gomi. I’m going to have to be aggressive, but be smart out there at the same time.
“I know what he’s capable of.”
Of late, Gomi hasn’t accomplished much, as he’s only won two of his last four contests. Not too many moons ago, the Japanese superstar was considered by most as MMA’s best lightweight. However, Nick Diaz did a number on his confidence when he submitted him with a gogoplata at Pride 33 in early 2007.
“I think he has that motivation now being in the UFC,” Florian said of Gomi’s fresh start. “I think he’s very much motivated to train hard and get the belt. I expect to see the best Takanori Gomi we’ve ever seen.”
“The Fireball Kid” has spent his entire career in the Orient, so he’s not too familiar with Florian’s skills. However, Gomi owns a dominant 31-5 professional record and will be taking with him a vast amount of experience into the cage tonight.
“I don’t know much about Kenny Florian, but I know that everyone in the UFC is very strong,” Gomi said through an interpreter. “I’ve trained hard for this fight, and when I get inside the Octagon I know I’ll be ready, and I’ll have a very explosive fight.
“In order to beat him I just need to hit him with my punches.”
The game plan sounds simple enough, hopefully nothing was lost in translation …
The evening’s first preliminary bout starts at 5PM ET/2PM PT, with the Spike TV broadcast beginning at 8PM ET/PT. Make sure to check back to 5thRound.com for tonight’s LIVE results.