Two of the world’s best lightweight (155 lb.) mixed martial arts fighters, Kenny Florian and Takanori Gomi, will square off in the main event of Spike TV’s “UFC Fight Night” on Wednesday, March 31 at 8:00pm ET/PT. Emanating from the Bojangles Colisuem in Charlotte, NC, the bout marks the long-awaited UFC debut of the Japanese lightweight mixed martial arts star, Gomi.
Florian (14-4), fighting out of Brookline, MA. burst onto the mixed martial arts scene as a finalist in Season 1 of “The Ultimate Fighter” in April 2005. After losing to Sean Sherk in a title bout at UFC 64 in October 2006, Florian went almost three years without a loss, riding an impressive six fight winning-streak defeating many of the lightweight division’s top contenders including Joe Stevenson and Roger Huerta. Florian’s streak ended at the hands of UFC champ BJ Penn, who submitted Florian in the fourth round of their lightweight championship bout this past August at UFC 101. Following a victory over Clay Guida at UFC 107 in December, Florian is back on the winning track and needs a win over Gomi for a third shot at the belt.
“The Fireball Kid,” Gomi (31-5, 1 NC) has a long, decorated career fighting in his native Japan. He is a former Shooto Welterweight Champion and was the final holder of the lightweight title from the defunct promotion Pride Fighting Championships. He is also a four-time All Japan Combat Wrestling champion. The 31 year-old has fought many of the division’s elite fighters including BJ Penn and Jens Pulver, and is now looking to secure the belt in the world’s premier mixed martial organization, The Ultimate Fighting Championship.®
In the other featured televised bouts, British lightweight rising star Ross Pearson (12-3), winner of “The Ultimate Fighter: US. vs UK,” takes on Germany’s Dennis Siver (15-6). Riding a three fight winning streak, Siver most recently scored an impressive 2nd round TKO over Paul Kelly at UFC 105 last November.
“The Ultimate Fighter 10” victor, heavyweight Roy “Big Country” Nelson (15-4), takes on Dutch native Stefan Struve (23-3). Struve, a towering 6’11, will look to use his powerful kickboxing skills against Nelson, one of the division’s top grapplers.
A battle of veteran middleweights and “The Ultimate Fighter” alums features Boston’s Jorge Rivera (17-7-0) against Nate Quarry (18-3-0), fighting out of Greham, Oregon. Rivera (Season 4) has won two of his last three bouts in the Octagon but will have his hands full against the fiercely competitive Quarry (Season 1), winner of three of his last four fights.
Season 11 of “The Ultimate Fighter” premieres at 10:00 PM ET/PT directly following the “UFC Fight Night.”
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