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.
In every Takanori Gomi fight we are looking for his awesome fireball punches. The same punches that put phenomenal lightweights like Tyson Griffon and Jens Pulver to sleep. We are especially looking for Takanori Gomi’s fierce overhand left. We often consider Jose Aldo and Kenny Florian’s kicks to be more powerful because of their training as football players. We can perhaps make the same comparison with Takanori Gomi’s hands given his training as a baseball pitcher. Just imagine, a fist, thrown with the power and the hip rotation of a pitcher, engaging the temple of a fighter causing skin, fat, spit, hair, eyeballs, brain and all to shake violently. A knockout at its finest.
However in this fight, Isaac Vallie-Flagg is able to neutralize Gomi’s feared fireball left with right kicks that force Gomi to shift from his favoured south-paw stance to orthodox. Isaac Vali-Flaag is on a 5 fight win streak beating MMA veterans like Yves Edwards and Gesias Cavalcante. With the Jackson-Winklejohn strategists behind him, Takanori Gomi vs Isaac Vallie-Flagg is an action packed fight full of crisp combinations, blood, and heart. This fight is MMA at it’s best. A true fight for fight fans to appreciate and re-live the Takanori Gomi glory days.
Takanori Gomi vs Isaac Vallie-Flagg
A fast paced first round that saw the fight go from standup to the ground. Both fighters throwing heavy shots and engaging right from the bell. The makings of an awesome fight ahead. The round saw Gomi and Isaac standing in the middle of the cage throwing slow and sloppy combinations but both fighters taking the hits with a smile.
The latter part of the round has Isaac on the ground with Gomi going for an RNC. However Isaac was able to take advantage of Gomi only having one hook in to throw him off balance and get back to his feet.
The fighters pick up right from the end of round 1 ready to engage. Isaac seems to be the aggressor, pressing forward and leading in striking abundance and accuracy. Seems to be Isaac’s round until Gomi lands a couple good shots to the body including one counter left to the liver that has Isaac backing away. Gomi senses blood and with an always game Isaac, the battle continues.
At the end of the round, Isaac looks to have suffered a broken orbital bone by a Fireball Left from Takanori Gomi.
Isaac’s right eye has swollen to the point where he may be finding it difficult to see. Gomi takes advantage of this by using his right jab to block Isaac’s left eye and lands left jabs to Isaac’s head and body almost at will. The round sees the fighters engaging in the middle of the cage with Isaac fighting, half blind but full heart. Gomi lands crisp combinations and opens a cut on Isaac’s nose. Blood gushes.
Towards the end of the round, Isaac takes Gomi down but Gomi lands in top position. There is so much blood that Gomi’s trademark bleached blonde hair is turning orange and red.
Takanori Gomi vs Isaac Vallie-Flagg full fight video