Photo by Josh Hedges via Getty Images
Takanori Gomi was once the most feared lightweight on the planet.
Diaz put on a striking clinic against "The Fireball Kid," pounding him with swift straight punches and repeatedly hurting the heavy-handed Japanese lightweight.
When Gomi had had enough of the stand-up, Diaz outclassed him on the ground as well, tangling the former Pride champion in his web and finishing the bout via first round armbar.
So how did Diaz dominate so handily? And what's next for both fighters?
Diaz set the tone for the fight very early, dropping Gomi with the first significant strike he threw.
Notice how Gomi puts his entire body into that big right hand which leaves him wide open to big straight left from Diaz.
Diaz's reach is also a key factor here.
Notice how the Stockton native is able to send Gomi to the canvas while barely having to move out of the way of "The Fireball Kid's" wild right hook. At no point was he even in danger of getting tagged.
From this point on, Diaz had tremendous confidence in his strikes. He would continue to pepper his Japanese foe's face with right and left hands, using a style eerily similar to his brother, Nick. The pride of the 209 began to clown Gomi, all-the-while finding a home for repeated 1-2 combinations.
As Gomi began to wilt under the repeated blows of his American opponent, he resorted to his wrestling roots, anything to stop getting punched in the face, but this may have been an even worse decision.
Once Gomi took Diaz down, the Cesar Gracie fighter immediately began attacking from his guard, eventually locking in a triangle choke. Gomi tried to slam out of it to no avail.
Instead, he left his arm isolated, which Diaz immediately straightened out and transitioned for an armbar. Unlike Mark Hunt, he quickly puts his right leg directly over Gomi's face to create the best leverage and then pushes up with his hips to put a ton of pressure on Gomi's exposed arm.
Gomi is forced to either tap or have his arm snapped.
For Takanori Gomi, this was the perfect example of everything he's done wrong in the last few years of his mixed martial arts career. He used to be much more well-rounded but ever since he discovered that knockout power, he's really lost much of his technique. He throws his whole body into his punches which not only telegraphs them, but leaves him wide open for counters. This is also the third time he's been submitted in his four UFC appearances.
With a 1-3 record in the UFC, Gomi is almost certainly a goner. The only reason the promotion would keep him around is to parade him around for the upcoming event in Japan in February of 2012. Even then, Gomi's skills have degraded to the point where there aren't many UFC caliber fighters he could even have a chance of beating.
For Nate Diaz, he's got to be happy after dropping back down to 155. He got manhandled by two of the strongest welterweights in his last two fights but that won't be happening at lightweight. This was the best performance of his career. He dominated every aspect of this fight, even when Gomi took him down he wasn't at a disadvantage because he was immediately in attack mode. About the only opportunity his opponent had to feel comfortable when he was in the Octagon was the pre-fight introduction.
Expect Diaz to immediately be thrown into the mix of top 25 lightweights. It would be interesting to see him against someone like Evan Dunham. Another interesting opponent would be the winner of the upcoming Matt Wiman vs. Mac Danzig fight. Sean Sherk is apparently looking for an opponent as well and that could be a terrific test to see how he would fare against the top wrestlers of the division.
Regardless of who he faces next, Nate Diaz has found a new home in the lightweight division.
So what do you think Maniacs?
Can a now more experienced Nate Diaz make a big splash in the crowded 155-pound division? Is Takanori Gomi done in the UFC?
All gifs by Zombie Prophet via IronForgesIron.com.