Last night another UFC event came and went with another instance of an Ultimate Fighter champ exiting the Octagon in victory. Season 5 winner Nate Diaz beat former PRIDE title-holder Takanori Gomi in surprising and dominant fashion in the very first round of their preliminary pairing.
The Gracie Fighter looked outstanding in the opening minutes of the opening round and landed jab after jab on the face of “The Fireball Kid,” a surprise considering the 32-8 Gomi’s generally solid stand-up. However, the hands of Diaz seemed to pierce through the gloves of Gomi and landed one after another with precise accuracy, slowly breaking down the legendary Japanese fighter.
As the first frame was coming to and end, fans watched as the BJJ brown-belt displayed beautiful technique and gracefully transitioned from one submission attempt to another in an effort to end the fight. The 26-year old kid from Stockton would ultimately go on to submit the former Gomi via Armbar with about thirty seconds remaining before the round’s end.
In a post-fight interview Diaz admitted how much he looked up to Gomi as he was growing up, even mentioning how he’d made sure to “Favorite” all of his YouTube videos. After the fight, Diaz explained, “I don’t think people realize (that) Gomi is a legend. He was one of my favorite fighters forever, and still is.” The respect for Gomi was apparent as Diaz could be seen helping his opponent up after being submitted.
Diaz improved his record to 14-7 with the victory, his return to the lightweight division, with ten of the wins coming by way of decision.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC
MMAtraining Take: As much grief as the Diaz brothers get – deservedly so I might add – it’s nice when a different side of their personalities is revealed. There’s no question they both have a great amount of respect for the sport of Mixed Martial Arts and its history. Nate’s behavior towards Gomi was just another sign of that being true.