It’s an amazing time to be a mixed martial arts fan as the first of 9 events in the next 4 weeks kicks off tonight with “UFC Fight Night 21: Florian vs. Gomi“.
This event, which will serve as a lead in to the 11th season of The Ultimate Fighter, will be broadcast LIVE on SpikeTV 8p.m. ET .
“UFC Fight Night 21″ will be going down from the Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina and features a lightweight battle between Kenny Florian and Japanese Superstar Takanori Gomi as the headliner, also on the card, former The Ultimate Fighter 10 winner Roy Nelson will fight Stefan Struve in a matchup between extreme body types, and much more.
As always, please feel free to put up or shut up and join it by posting a quick set of your own picks in the comment section below.
Kenny Florian vs. Takanori Gomi
I waited and waited to make a final decision on this fight. I think the biggest mistake I’m seeing people make is a focus on Gomi. Yes he is the former Pride lightweight champion, Yes he is a Grand Prix winner, Yes he was a dominant Shooto champion. For those of us who have been watching the sport for a long time Gomi has amazed us with his punching power. Simply put, he is a legend mma’s recent past.
Gomi will have an uphill battle, it will mark his first time fighting in a cage, and the first time he will contend with the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts which allow elbows to the head of a downed opponent. Who better to welcome him then Kenny Florian, an ever improving fighter with some of the best elbows in the business.
The question I finally asked myself was this. All things equal, who wins a fight between a prime Gomi and today’s Kenny Florian? Nostalgia aside, I still give the nod to Florian. And unfortunately for Gomi, “prime” isn’t a word that has been used in conjuction with his talent for a very long time.
While it’s true Gomi has good wrestling which could afford him some time on the feet and the power to knock out anyone in the division, Florian is too much too soon.
Winner: Kenny Florian TKO Round 2
Roy Nelson vs. Stefan Struve
In the oddest looking fight this side of Japan, 6’11” Stefan Struve will face his toughest test to date in Roy Nelson. I look for Nelson to do his best to eliminate what has to be a monster reach advantage by using his superior grappling abilities. Make no mistake about it, Nelson is among the best grappling big men in the sport, and it will serve him up victories like Burger King does whoppers . Much like Gomi, Struve is not without a chance for victory in his match up. If he can avoid the takedown, and manage to kickbox with Nelson, it could become a very interesting night for the Skyscraper.
Winner: Roy Nelson via arm triangle Round 1
Nate Quarry vs. Jorge Rivera
This has got all the makings for a knock down drag out war. Both fighters have knock out power and have no reservations about standing and trading with one another. I think the difference here is going to be technical striking. Quarry holds the advantage in this department. Anything can happen and often does, but Quarry should leave N.C. with the win.
Winner: Nate Quarry via TKO Round 2
Ross Pearson vs. Dennis Siver
Coming off his recent impressive victory over Aaron Riley, Ross Pearson looks to continue his winning ways against Dennis Siver. Pearson looked like a totally different fighter in his last bout showing noticeable growth in his young game. Siver comes into the fight riding a 4 fight winning streak. While this will be no easy match up for either, I give Pearson the nod based on continued growth.
Winner: Ross Pearson via decsion
PRELIMINARY CARD (Quick Picks)
Rafaello Oliveira vs. Andre Winner
Oliveira is the much more rounded fighter with more paths to victory.
Winner: Rafaello Oliveira via decsion
Ronys Torres vs. Jacob Volkmann
Call Joe Silva the Grinch because he appears to have no love for Christmas.
Winner: Ronys Torres via TKO Round 3
Rob Emerson vs. Nik Lentz
Emerson having a 3 year career in the UFC is the big win, but tonight Lentz walks away with the W.
Winner: Nik Lentz via decision
Gleison Tibau vs. Caol Uno
This fight is not as close as many believe.
Winner: Gleison Tibau via decsion
Lucio Linhares vs. Yushin Okami
Nice guy, great talent, interesting story, but Linhares gets another tough draw in the UFC. Yushin Okami will out wrestle him for 3 rounds and the decision.
Winner: Yushin Okami via decsion
Gerald Harris vs. Mario Miranda
Team GDP member Gerald Harris will continue to grow, and will pull out the victory here.
Winner: Gerald Harris via decsion
Charlie Brenneman vs. Jason High
Tough fight to call, I’m going to side with Jason High in the nights opening bout.
Winner: Jason High TKO Round 3