August 1, 2010

“The Fireball Kid” Takanori Gomi came out blazing on Sunday night resulting in a vicious knockout of Tyson Griffin, while Jake Ellenberger left opponent John Howard with a loss and a baseball-sized lump under his eye to pick up the victory in their fight at UFC on Versus 2.

It took Jake Ellenberger a few takedowns, a few more elbows, and one nasty swollen eye to get a win over John Howard. Doctors stopped the fight in the third and final round after Howard’s left eye swelled up and closed off his vision, giving Ellenberger his second win in the UFC.

Ellenberger moved his camp from Nebraska to Mark Munoz’s Reign Training Center in Southern California to get ready for the test he had at UFC on Versus 2, and the game plan paid off. Howard went headhunting early and often in the fight, but Ellenberger reacted appropriately taking the fight to the ground.

It was there where Ellenberger opened up his ground attack, peppering Howard with punches and elbows, the result of which was a gigantic lump under his opponent’s left eye. When the third round started there was some surprise that Howard was able to continue with limited vision, but Ellenberger expected nothing less.

“He’s a warrior, he came out, he was there the whole time,” said Ellenberger. “That’s what I expected, he rocked me a few times, I got some good elbows on him.”

After some more action on the ground in the final minutes, referee Herb Dean paused the action to have the doctor check out John Howard’s damaged eye, and they determined he had lost vision and could not safely continue. Jake Ellenberger now moves to 2-1 in the UFC, and even offered Howard a rematch down the road due to the doctor’s stoppage.

“Winning like that it’s not always the best, but I came out with the ‘W’,” Ellenberger told UFC commentator Joe Rogan.

It was like the old days of Pride Fighting Championships on Sunday as “The Fireball Kid” Takanori Gomi returned to form in devastating fashion with a knockout of Tyson Griffin in the first round of their match-up at UFC on Versus 2.

Suffering a loss to Kenny Florian in his UFC debut, Gomi had something to prove in his return bout to the Octagon, and he didn’t waste any time showing he still belongs among the best lightweights in the world.

As the fighters traded shots on the feet, Gomi unleashed a dynamite right hand that sent Griffin literally crashing face first into the canvas. The former Pride champion followed up with a few more strikes before referee Jason Herzog rushed in for the save.

“He’s a good fighter, I knew he was going to be a challenge. I worked really, really hard hoping this would happen,” Gomi said after the victory. “This is what I consider my start in the UFC, the first time I was here I didn’t really know how to fight American. You saw what happened today, I think I’ve got the hang of it.”

Tyson Griffin had never been stopped before in his professional MMA career prior to Sunday’s fight, and Takanori Gomi just put the lightweight division on notice that the “Fireball Kid” is back.