Two-time UFC lightweight contender Kenny "KenFlo" Florian welcomed former Pride FC 160-pound champion and Japanese superstar, "The Fireball Kid" Takanori Gomi, to the eight-walled cage for the first time ever.
It's been a long time coming -- Gomi has been widely regarded as a top lightweight competitor for years fighting overseas. However, sans and epic fight against Nick Diaz in 2007, he was never really able to strut his stuff in front of a major American audience.
Unfortunately for him, tonight was not his night. And he couldn't have asked for a more cooperative opponent -- Florian stood in the middle of the cage and invited the legendary power puncher to stand and bang.
But Gomi could never really get close. Florian kept him at bay with a stiff jab the entire fight, snapping Gomi's head back just about every time he tried to close the distance.
Gomi, behind on points and looking for Hail Mary finish in the final frame, drilled Florian with a huge punch that could have been a fight-ender. But Florian quickly responded with a takedown and his trademark (and relentless) ground and pound.
It was literally only a matter of seconds before Gomi spun to avoid the damage and Florian slid in a picture-perfect rear naked choke, spoiling his UFC debut and, in the process, a possible rematch with division champion BJ Penn.
In fact, Florian is already back on track to challenge for a title for a third time if he keeps this up.
In the co main event, portly veteran Roy Nelson took on super-stretched up-and-comer Stefan Struve in a heavyweight battle between two total opposites.
Chalk one up for the fat guy.
Nelson somehow dropped an absolute bomb square on the chin of the "Skyscraper," which sent him crashing to the canvas in the opening seconds of the match. "Big Country" pounced like an overfed feline and put the finishing touches on the 22-year-old Dutch fighter.
And when all was said and done, he posed for his traditional belly rub ... just like that.
Nelson -- winner of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 10 and two straight inside the Octagon -- requested another step up in competition his next time out during his post-fight remarks. He's apparently hungry for a big name.
Feed the man!
Middleweight veterans Jorge Rivera and Nate Quarry collided in a battle between heavy-handed strikers that wasn't supposed to go the distance.
Quarry barely escaped the first round, getting dropped numerous times with vicious blows from "El Conquistador." Quarry was bloody and beaten, but came out for more in the second round.
Rivera smashed "The Rock" just seconds into the round with a crushing right hook to the ear that set up the eventual finish. Quarry, as usual, demonstrated a ton of heart, but Rivera poured it on early and often.
That's the third consecutive win for Rivera and the fourth in his last five fights. At 38 years young, he's putting together a nice run late in his nine-year career.
It couldn't be happening to a better guy.
The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 9 winner, Ross Pearson, kicked-off the main card action against Dennis Siver, who has quietly won three straight inside the Octagon all via convincing finishes.
The German striker didn't make it four straight tonight, but it certainly wasn't for a lack of effort ... or true grit.
Pearson and Siver stood toe-to-toe for much of the 15-minute lightweight bout, exchanging wicked and creative strikes that would have stopped most mortals.
Not these two.
In the end, Pearson -- who demonstrated great movement, accurate counter strikes and a granite chin -- went on to earn a hard-fought unanimous decision victory. He's come a long way since his stint on TUF 9, proving that he is indeed the "Real Deal."
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For complete UFC Fight Night 21 results and detailed blow-by-blow commentary of the televised main card fights click here.