Takanori Gomi vs Tatsuya Kawajiri, Pride Bushido 9, September 2005
The lightweight division has always been an exciting weight class to watch. It is one of the most competitive divisions with a never ending talent pool to draw from. The fighters possess the right combination of speed, agility, and power – the perfect recipe for action packed, exciting, and technical fights.
However, before there were the lightweight champions that are so celebrated today. Before Rafael Dos Anjos, the newly crowned UFC Lightweight Champion. Before Anthony Pettis, before Benson Henderson, before Frankie Edgar, and even before the great BJ Penn. In the land of Pride, there was Takanori Gomi and Tatsuya Kawajiri.
Takanori Gomi vs Isaac Vallie-Flagg, UFC 172, April 2014
When you hear the name Takanori Gomi, you instantly hear waves and waves of fans shouting his name, chanting “Gomi, Gomi, Gomi”. Children carried his action figure, fans collected his fan cards and memorabilia. During the early 2000s, the Fireball Kid set Japan on fire with his accomplishments in Shooto and Pride.
In Shooto, Takanori Gomi had the longest consecutive win streak (12). In 2001 he defeated the lightweight submission master Rumina Sato for the Shooto Lightweight Championship. This was Takanori Gomi’s first leap into popularity as Rumina Sato dominated the Shooto scene in the late 90s. This is the Rumina Sato that defeated Rafael Cordiero and lost to Andre Pederneiras. Brazilian names that may sound familiar as they are now renowned trainers.
In Pride, Takanori Gomi had the fastest knockout, the highest win streak (10), the most successful consecutive title defenses, was the Pride Lightweight Champion, and won the 2005 Pride Lightweight Grand Prix.
Takanori Gomi is one of the best lightweight fighters in Japanese MMA history. This entry takes a look at his fight of the night winning bout against MMA veteran Isaac Vallie-Flagg.
Dan Henderson vs Wanderlei Silva II, Pride 33, 24 February 2007
Dan Henderson vs Wanderlei Silva II is an instant classic, a milestone in MMA, and one of the best fights in Pride. This is the second time these two MMA legends and Pride warriors meet. The first meeting was at Pride 12 in 2000. Wanderlei Silva won that fight via unanimous decision. Since that fight, Wanderlei Silva went on to defeat Pride superstars such as Kazushi Sakuraba, Rampage Jackson, and Ricardo Arona. He captured and successfully defended the Pride Middleweight Championship and established himself firmly as one of the most dangerous MMA fighters in the world. Pride 33 is Wanderlei Silva’s last fight in Pride before moving to the UFC to face Chuck Liddell in another one of MMA’s best of the best fights.
Nick Diaz vs Takanori Gomi, Pride 33, 24 February 2007
Photo from hov-mma.com
A fight fan’s delight. Nick Diaz vs Takanori Gomi was named the 2007 Fight of the Year by Inside Fights. The fight takes place at the Pride 33 event in Las Vegas, Nevada. Pride 33 is considered one of Pride’s most epic events. It is also sadly, Pride’s second to last event.
In what is known as one of Prides most exciting first rounds, Takanori Gomi drops Nick Diaz towards the middle of the first round of the figh. Nick Diaz then comes back implementing his unique and deadly “Don’t Be Scared Homie” boxing style of dangerous piff-piff-pat-pat pillow punches. To the hardcore fight fans, we know Nick Diaz vs Takanori Gomi for a special reason. This is the fight where Nick Diaz submits Takanori Gomi with the first Gogoplata to be seen in competition MMA.