Diego Sanchez had a favorable matchup with Takanori Gomi at UFC on Fuel TV 8.
The general consensus among MMA fans was if Sanchez brought relentless pressure on Gomi, his superior conditioning would wear out his opponent and be the deciding factor in the fight.
Sanchez, however, came in with a different game plan and it almost cost him the fight.
When the judges scorecards were being announced, Diego Sanchez was unsure if he would be named the winner. In fact, many MMA fans thought Gomi took the fight by winning the second and third rounds. Sanchez, however, caught a break taking the split-decision victory.
The fight should not have been that close.
Sanchez came out with a cautious game plan, eerily familiar to the one Clay Guida unsuccessfully utilized against Gray Maynard at UFC on FX in New Jersey. Sanchez kept his distance from Gomi and continually circled away from “The Fireball Kid’s” powerful right hand. Sanchez was reluctant to engage Gomi and failed to make his superior conditioning a factor in the fight.
Both Sanchez and Guida train at Jackson’s Submission Fighting, a fight camp operated by Greg Jackson out of New Mexico. Jackson has a reputation for implementing cautions game plans for his fighters, which has drawn criticism from UFC President Dana White.
Sanchez, however, told Gareth Davies of Fuel TV he was happy with his performance and indicated Gomi was one of the toughest opponents he has fought.
“I went out there and did more damage and got the first round,” Sanchez said. “Gomi was fighting in Japan in front of his people and in front of his crowd. [Gomi] is the legend that was the Pride champion, and that’s who I fought tonight. I feel very rewarded that I was able to go out there and get the victory.”
MMA fans, on the other hand, were disappointed in a fight that was supposed to showcase fireworks.