Diego Sanchez (24-5) picked up a controversial split decision win over Takanori Gomi (34-9) in his return to lightweight – although he missed weight by two pounds – on the main card at UFC on Fuel TV 8 from the Saitama Super Arena in Tokyo, Japan.
Sanchez controlled the first round scoring with his takedowns. Gomi was able to get the best of Sanchez early with his strikes, but it was a totally different game when Sanchez took Gomi down to the mat and looked for a kneebar. Gomi returned to his feet before Sanchez drove him back to the mat on the bell.
Gomi looked to find his range in the second frame, scuffing an early takedown attempt by Sanchez. He pushed forward with his jab, frustrating Sanchez with his level changes. Gomi let his hands go late in the round, tagging Sanchez.
Coming into the final frame it looked like it was anybody’s fight, as Gomi switched his stances, continuing to press forward hitting Sanchez. Sanchez looked for a takedown, but Gomi sprawled and continued to dominate the round with his precise striking. Sanchez swung for the fences in the final seconds, but many felt he hadn’t done enough to win the fight.
Only two of the judges could agree, awarding a split decision to Sanchez (29-28, 29-28, 28-29), who was forced to give up 20-percent of his earnings for missing weight by two pounds.
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