How good is Japanese lightweight Takanori Gomi? Even when he loses, he still wins.
"The Fireball Kid" will face Satoru Kitaoka, winner of the lightweight grand prix at Sengoku 6 last Saturday, at World Victory Road's upcoming seventh event on January 4, 2009 according to Sherdog.com, despite losing a split-decision to Russia's Sergey Golyaev at the same event.
The winner of Kitaoka vs. Gomi will be crowned the Sengoku lightweight champion, a title that already carries a layer of baggage thanks to the efforts of Golyaev.
After besting Gomi last Saturday, many wondered if Golyaev would be the one to challenge Kitaoka for the vacant lightweight crown.
An idea that didn't sit well with the former Pancrase warrior:
"I have no need to fight that Russian fighter. If it was me in there tonight, I would have crushed that Russian in seconds. I had a tougher time than Gomi -- my two fights tonight and my training for them -- so that’s why I said what I said [when I challenged Gomi in the ring]. Anyone have a problem with that?"
Gomi was long considered to be one of the world's best lightweights, but that position has recently been called into question after being submitted by the pot-smoking Nick Diaz at PRIDE 33 (a loss that was overturned by the NSAC) and a less-than-stellar performance against the inexperienced Sueng Hwan Bang at Sengoku 4.
Now this loss leaves Gomi with something to prove, specifically that he belongs at the top of the lightweight food chain. Even with a win over Kitaoka on January 4, a rematch with Golyaev may be required before he's accepted as champion by the court of public opinion.
First things first - win on January 4.