Takanori Gomi Scores Comeback Win, ‘Kid’ Yamamoto Upset at UFC 144

Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto (James Law/HeavyMMA)

Gomi snaps skid, Yamamoto loses third straight

A pair of Japanese legends both in major need of a victory got opposite results on the preliminary card of UFC 144 on Saturday night in Japan.

Takanori Gomi snapped his two-fight losing skid by earning a TKO victory in the second round against Eiji Mitsuoka. But Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto was submitted for the first time in his MMA career, tapping out to Vaughan Lee late in the first round – and seeing his UFC losing skid reach three fights.

UFC 144 took place Saturday (Sunday in Japan) at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, just north of Tokyo. It was the UFC’s first trip to Japan since December 2000.

Gomi (33-8, 1 NC, 2-3 UFC) needed a big comeback against Mitsuoka and just barely survived the first round. Gomi walked into a straight right from Mitsuoka that put him on his knees. Mitsuoka pounced and locked up a mounted leg triangle – and nearly got Gomi to tap.

But once into the second round, Gomi stormed out with his strikes. Once Mitsuoka was on his knees covering up, Gomi was able to quickly get the stoppage to get his second UFC victory – and first since an August 2010 knockout of Tyson Griffin.

Yamamoto’s night did not go as well as Gomi’s, though. After a back-and-forth first few minutes of the fight, Yamamoto was wobbled by Vaughan Lee. And when Yamamoto shot for a takedown, Lee used it to land hammer fists that had his Japanese opponent covering up, and he got a mounted triangle that he used to transition to an armbar that forced Yamamoto to tap.

Yamamoto (18-6, 1 NC, 0-3 UFC) has now lost three straight since signing with the UFC – two lopsided unanimous decisions and the submission to Lee, the first time he has tapped in his career. Yamamoto now also has lost five of his last six fights.

In a fight that the Japanese fans seemed to disagree with, Chris Cariaso beat Takeya Mizugaki by 29-28 unanimous decision on all three cards. Mizugaki spent much of the fight in top position on the ground, but the judges apparently looked highly on Cariaso’s work from his back.

Former WEC light heavyweight champion Steve Cantwell dropped his fifth straight fight in the UFC, falling by unanimous decision to Riki Fukuda. All five of Cantwell’s losses on his skid have been by unanimous decision, but in those five decisions, in 45 total combined rounds (15 rounds times three judges), he has won just five rounds.

And in the opening fight of the night, Issei Tamura made his UFC debut a memorable one, knocking out Tiequan Zhang with a big right hand, buckling his opponent’s leg immediately for the knockout.

Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x