Monday, August 2, 2010

For Love or for Country: Takanori Gomi and Yushin Okami

Japanese UFC fighters Takanomi Gomi and Yushin Okami solidified their presence in the Western MMA scene with impressive victories at 'UFC on Versus 2.' Gomi showed out with a 'hit you so hard your grandma feels it' (some James Toney humor) knockout over Tyson Griffin, and Okami grinded out a split decision win over a tough-as-nails middleweight Mark Munoz.

At a time when Japanese MMA is on its death bed, their convincing victories couldn't come any sooner. After the UFC acquired Pride in 2007, Japanese MMA has not been the same, and it's been an uphill battle ever since. Most of the elite foreign fighters have transplanted and embedded themselves in the US. As a result, Japanese fighters have not been able to keep up with the advanced level of training available in the States, and don't mention the wrestling factor -- the US offers a much higher wrestling pedigree, and the wrestling-to-mma transition has become a staple of American mixed martial arts.

So, as Takanori Gomi and Yushin Okami continue to do their thing in the Octagon, where will the results take their prided nation?

Will it revive a dying breed in the 'Land of the Rising Sun,' or will loyalty to the UFC brand undermine any efforts to sustain Japanese MMA?

Which flag will Takanori Gomi and Yushin Okami carry into the Octagon?

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