by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Gomi Loses…But Not His Title?

By Damon Martin, MMAWeekly

In one of the most stunning upsets to happen in Pride since Kevin Randleman’s thunderous punch floored Mirko CroCop in 2004, Marcus Aurelio dominated current Pride lightweight champion Takanori Gomi, handing the man many thought to be the best pound for pound fighter in the world right now his first loss since his fight with B.J. Penn in 2003.

While in no way is the upset a discredit to Aurelio, who is a very accomplished fighter, but Gomi’s performances as of late have been nothing short of spectacular. With his record at a perfect 10-0 in Pride coming into the fight, Gomi was expected to walk out victorious once again and he may have overlooked the skills of the American Top Team member.

Marcus Aurelio, on the other hand, has now boosted his status to unbelievable levels with his 1st round submission over Gomi. He has always shown tremendous heart and skill in all of his fights but he looked to be prepared for this fight like no other before it. He landed a textbook takedown on Gomi early on and just smothered him on the ground, going for multiple submissions and eventually landing a head and arm choke that put Gomi to sleep.

For Takanori Gomi this loss is nothing short of devastating. Sure, every fighter has to lose at some point but it looked more like he expected to win this fight than he did actually preparing for it. His one weakness has been ground fighting and with an experienced grappler like Aurelio on top of him, he looked almost panicked at moments.

With the win Aurelio has just defeated one of the very best in the world and now Gomi will have to re-focus, much like he did after his loss to Penn, but he will do so still holding onto the lightweight championship.

Which begs the question…why does Pride still have non-title matches?

It first started after the heavyweight and middleweight titles were created and both Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Wanderlei Silva fought a series of non-title fights, building up to their respective championship matches, and now Pride seems fit to do the same thing for current 185lb champion, Dan Henderson and the afore mentioned lightweight champion, Takanori Gomi.

Some champions are only able to fight 3 or 4 times per year and if 2 or 3 of those are going to be non-title fights, the point of the championship seems to get lost. Now with the loss, Gomi has a chance to recover and realize what just happened and get the rematch with Aurelio for the title, but why not in the first fight? Boxers never get off matches when they’re champions. Outside of the Matt Hughes/Royce Gracie fight that is being put on as an exhibition of two UFC legends, you would never see a Chuck Liddell, Rich Franklin or Andrei Arlovski fight that’s not for the title.

For now we will all have to look at Marcus Aurelio as the uncrowned lightweight champion in Pride and hopefully he’ll get his rematch for the actual title very soon, it’s just a shame that such a magnificent performance will now be looked at as just another fight and not the night that he first won the title.
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