Takanori Gomi is considered on of the legends of the Japanese MMA scene. His twelve fight win streak in Shooto was unparalleled. His Pride run saw him become the first and only Pride lightweight champion. Frankly, the Fireball Kid has found success everywhere he has fought — except for the UFC.

Since signing with the western promotion, Gomi has struggled to find his footing, going 4-5 since coming into the fold in 2010, a record not representative of a fighter who many consider up there among the greatest lightweight fighters of all time. While he’s 3-2 in his last five, Gomi has lost when it mattered most, in big bouts with Diego Sanchez (a split decision to be fair) and Myles Jury, which marked the first knockout loss of his career.

Saturday, July 25,2015, Gomi will take on the bonus machine that is Joe Lauzon. The fight has the makings of a classic, but what must the Japanese legend do to right the ship and pull off the win?

Here are some keys to victory for Gomi.

Keep Away From Lauzon’s Submission Game

Lauzon owns six Submission of the Night awards in the UFC. In his professional career, eighteen of his victories have come by way of submission. Simply put, there’s a good chance that if Lauzon is allowed to fight his game plan, someone is tapping out. And that’s while holding a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. For Gomi, meanwhile, six of his ten career losses have been by submission. Simply put, Lauzon’s guard is not somewhere that Gomi should be spending too much time, at least not without the utmost care.

Be Prepared To Go The Distance

Lauzon is not an easy man to finish. Just ask Jim Miller, with whom Lauzon put on a legendary war — and bled buckets of blood — with. While he has been finished a handful of times in his career, the Fireball Kid should be prepared to go the full fifteen minutes in this one.

Start Strong

Gomi has been a bit of a slow starter of late, and being forced to come from behind can make him fight sloppy. While he has generally had the chin for it, Jury solved that equation, and others have managed to catch him with submissions. With Lauzon, a fan favorite with no quit, Gomi needs to come out strong. Keep the fight on the feet, fight smart, utilize good footwork, and soften Lauzon up.

If Gomi dictates the pace of the fight and executes a game plan that keeps him away from Lauzon’s submission attempts, than this is a very winnable fight for him. Failing that, however, he could really find his back against the wall in the UFC, and winding up being thought of the way Mirko Cro-Cop was after he entered the promotion after a successful career in Pride: as a legend whose best days were behind him.

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.