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UFC Fight Night 21 pre-fight conference call highlights and quick recap


Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) today (March 22) held a media conference call with its two main event participants to promote their upcoming Spike TV event from the Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina, for their live mixed martial arts extravaganza on March 31.

UFC Fight Night 21
: "Florian vs. Gomi" will feature a main event with perennial lightweight contender Kenny "KenFlo" Florian welcoming Japanese superstar "The Fireball Kid," Takanori Gomi, to the Octagon for the first time in his career.

No huge revelations coming out of today's gathering, but it was interesting to hear Gomi comment on the use of elbows coming into stateside MMA -- especially with Florian's "Hellbows" coming into play in so many of his previous contests.

How much of a factor will they be in this fight?

Here is a brief recap and highlights of noteworthy items coming out of today's rather brisk call, featuring both of the aforementioned fighters:

Takanori Gomi

When asked if moving to the United States:

  • March 26 he will arrive in the U.S. but he still lives in Japan.

Difference in U.S. and Japanese MMA atmosphere:

  • First time in Octagon with new rules so there is some concern with that aspect but he is fine.

Motivating factor in coming to UFC:

  • He has more than 30 fights and is still looking for a challenge and the UFC was the logical choice. He wants to eventually become a champion in the UFC.

How will Japanese fans feel about the UFC possibly holding an event in Japan:

  • Japanese fans will be excited if the UFC comes to Japan. You can see UFC events on television in Japan and there are many UFC fans there.

Hardest rule or aspect of cagefighting for him to adapt to:

  • Adapting to the use of elbows will be the biggest concern.

On what he expects from Florian:

  • He is predicting very strong kicks and punches from Florian and excellent defense so that is what he is preparing for.

How he rates the current MMA product in Japan:

  • Fighting environment is very different but believes MMA in Japan is still going strong and building great up-and-coming fighters.

What he likes best about America:

  • The professional sports and athletes.

Kenny Florian

On where he has the advantage coming into this fight:

  • Not sure but trained hard to have an advantage in all aspects, maybe a bit more refined in all areas but will find out on fight night. Not worried about the belt right now, just worried about beating Gomi.

On what he expects from Gomi:

  • Wary of his power but training to go the distance and needs to stay out of his danger zone.

On what it means to be fighting Gomi:

  • Gomi has been on top of the food chain for a long time in PRIDE but never thought he would get the chance to face him and it's exciting to now have the chance and speaks of the commitment of the UFC to get the best fighters for their respective divisions.

If there is a difference in preparing for a main event:

  • Awesome to fight on Spike TV with such a large audience but every fight is a big fight.

How he attributes his two losses in the lightweight division:

  • At the time of each fight they (Sherk, Penn) were the better fighter that night.

Would he commentate full time in the WEC if asked:

  • Yes, something he loves to do.

What he likes best about America:

  • Wherever you come from and whoever you are you have an opportunity to become successful.

His favorite Gomi fight?

  • Probably most well known for the Diaz fight but there are so many like Jens Pulver but probably against the Chute Boxe team was the best.

That's a wrap.

Remember that will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the main card action on fight night (March 31), which is slated to air at 8 p.m. ET on Spike TV. The latest quick updates of the live action will begin to flow earlier than that around 6 p.m. ET with the preliminary bouts.

It’s going to be a fun night of fights so don’t miss it. And remember to check us out for all the pre, during and post-fight "Florian vs. Gomi" coverage you can handle.

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