After Japanese standout Takanori Gomi (31-5 MMA, 0-0 UFC) reportedly signed with the UFC, rumors began flying around that his first opponent would be UFC lightweight contender Kenny Florian (12-4 MMA, 10-3 UFC).
Well, those rumors have begun to take a credible shape. ESPN’s MMA Live has reported the bout will serve as the main event at UFC Fight Night 21 in North Carolina on March 31. MMA Live, a show in which Florian serves as an analyst, posted an updated on their official Twitter account this morning.
Florian has spent the vast majority of his professional career with the UFC. He has seen great success in the UFC’s stacked lightweight division, but has been unsuccessful in two title shot attempts.
After an August 2009 title bout loss to champ B.J. Penn, Florian mutually split with longtime trainer Mark DellaGrotte of Team Sityodtong. Since then, Florian has been training at the Tristar Gym in Montreal under Firas Zahabi. Tristar houses UFCs famed welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre.
Last month, Florian rebounded with a dominating performance over Clay Guida—winning by submission in the second round.
Gomi, once ranked as the world’s top lightweight, dominated the PRIDE banner between 2004-2006. Critics have recently questioned Gomi’s work ethic and commitment to the sport.
With the announcement of Florian vs. Gomi, a bout that could easily be on the main card of a PPV, the March 31 “Fight Night 21” card is beginning to look quite strong:
Kenny Florian vs. Takanori Gomi
Nate Quarry vs. Jorge Rivera
Lucio Linhares vs. Yushin Okami
Cole Miller vs. Andre Winner