It seems to have slipped under the radar that Takanori Gomi, the man commonly ranked number 1 or 2 lightweight in the world, lost a three round split decision to a relatively unknown journeyman in Sergey Golyaev. This represents Gomi’s first loss in his last 18 fights bar an avenged decision loss to Marcus Aurelio. Often criticized for not taking his training seriously, Gomi appeared to be in good shape and fighting well, by recent standards, from the start of this fight. Apart from a Golyaev left hook which dropped him in the second round, appearing to injure his left knee, Gomi landed the more effective strikes. He also gained the mount position twice and had several submission attempts, making the decision a puzzling one against the hometown favorite. Perhaps in rocking Gomi the judges saw that Golyaev had come closest to finishing the fight, as was always the primary judging criteria in Pride.
Nevertheless, this may be the wake up call Gomi needed to motivate him to reach his previous heights.
American Top Team product Jorge Santiago extended his impressive win streak to 8 fights to win the Middleweight Grand Prix tournament. He quickly dispatched of Siyar Bahadurzada by heel hook in the semis and knocked out Pride superstar Kazuhiro Nakamura with a vicious right hand in the third round of the final.
Submission magician Satoru Kitaoka took the Lightweight Grand Prix title after defeating Eiji Mitsuoka by heel hook in only a minute, and taking a unanimous decision over Kazunori Yokota.
ATT’s Jorge Masvidal squeaked past South Korean slugger Bang Seung Hwan by decision in a bout which was determined almost entirely on the feet. The once highly touted Masvidal, who gained notoriety in an appearance on Kimbo fights before making the switch to MMA, stumbled his opponent with a knee in the first round, which probably gave him the edge in the judges’ eyes.
Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal impressed in a third round TKO victory over Chute Boxe’s Fabio Silva. Lawal was relentless throughout with strikes and takedowns. At only 2-0 in his career, he looks a talent to watch for the future.
“Lil Nog” Antonio Rogerio Nogueira continued his march back towards the light heavyweight top 10 with a steady win over Frenchman Moise Rimbon.