Diego Sanchez claimed a victory over Takanori Gomi tonight at ‘UFC On Fuel TV 8’ in Japan, but only by the narrowest of margins.
The two men get underway with a feeling each other out on the feet and a few strikes are thrown without anything landing particularly cleanly.
Gomi’s looking for any excuse to unleash the right hand and appears to be trying to time Sanchez as he moves in.
Speaking of which, Sanchez does move in, but he uses a strike to set up a takedown and tries to posture up and land some ground and pound, but Okami finds some space and hops bacck up to his feet.
Back to the striking battle they go and it’s still fairly measured stuff with Gomi being a little more accurate with his striking.
Gomi goes for a knee and Sanchez lands a takedown. He’s looking for an armbar, but Gomi escapes and again they go upright.
They trade punches and Gomi lands a nice punch to the mid-section that Sanchez clearly felt. Gomi looking confident now and he’s looking for an excuse to work to the body again. He lands a kick there, but Sanchez grabs it and is able to land another takedown just as the bell sounds.
Onto round two and the two men start to exchange hands. A little flurry from Sanchez, but Gomi is again landing the more notable strikes and working nicely to the body.
Gomi’s the one pushing the action half-way through the fight which is not what we expected to see as Sanchez circles around the cage.
Sanchez lands a couple of nice punches to the body in succession and then swoops for a takedown, but Gomi stuffs it and they go back to striking.
A couple of hard kicks to the midsection land for Sanchez. Okami returns fire with punches. Sanchez charges forward and tries to land a flying knee, but he’s nowhere near connecting.
Final round now and Sanchez runs forward looking eager to get into the action, but it’s Gomi who starts getting offensive first, working the jab nicely and then landing a hard shot to the body.
Sanchez looking a bit hesitant out there and Gomi’s got the bigger volume of strikes here. A couple of counters land for Sanchez, but he needs to up his work rate if he wants to really make an impact here.
Sanchez lands a couple of kicks to the mid-section and looks for the takedown, but Gomi stops it. A high kick from Sanchez and Gomi catches it and almost lands a takedown of his own from it, but Sanchez scrambles away.
Barreling forward Sanchez tries to initiate a clinch, but Gomi shrugs him off. Less then 30 seconds to go and both men throw a knee strike at the same time and Sanchez slips and briefly falls to the mat.
They get back up and finally with 10 seconds to go Sanchez really comes to life and starts bombing left and right hooks at Gomi, but the Japanese fighter covers up and moves out of danger just as the final bell sounds.
It’s down to the judges now and in a potentially controversial verdict they hand Sanchez the victory (29-28 x2, 28-29).
Some allowance has to be made for the fact that Sanchez was coming off a year lay-off here, but it certainly wasn’t a vintage performance and I think he’s a little fortunate to be walking away with a victory here.
I felt Gomi outpointed him on the feet in the second and third rounds and is unlucky not to be walking away with what woudl have been his biggest win to date in the UFC.