Nate Diaz will make his anticipated return to lightweight this fall when the Octagon visits Denver for UFC 135 against an opponent his family is already familiar with in the form of Takanori Gomi, a renowned striker who bloodied up older brother Nick Diaz at a PRIDE event in 2007 before tapping to an Gogoplata early in the second stanza.
The UFC announced the pairing late Monday night through their Twitter account.
Diaz has fallen in back-to-back bouts and is 5-5 in his last ten in-ring appearances meaning the importance of a victory over Gomi goes far beyond familial history. The 26-year old TUF 5 winner holds an overall record of 13-7 in his career including success against a number of notable opponents such as Kurt Pellegrino, Josh Neer, and Melvin Guillard.
The 32-7 Gomi is also in need of a win after being submitted in two of his three fights since signing on with the UFC after a storied run in the Land of the Rising Sun. Gomi first came to fans’ attention in PRIDE where he took out the likes of Jens Pulver, Hayato “Mach” Sakurai, Mitsuhiro Ishida, and Tatsuya Kawajiri. “The Fireball Kid” has finished eighteen of the thirty-two foes he’s beaten with twelve of the victories coming by way of TKO.
In addition to Gomi vs. Diaz, the UFC 135 lineup features Jon Jones’ putting his belt up against former 205-pound champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson on the card, as well as a fight between Matt Hughes and Diego Sanchez plus action from Travis Browne, Mark Hunt, Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto, and others.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC