The unknown fighter managed to string together win after win before finding himself 9-0 and fighting for his first world title.
Gomi decisively outmatched Rumina Sato despite almost walking into an armbar and heel hook early. Just as they had six times previously, all three judges declared Gomi the winner. The new king of the unanimous decision victory was now the new king of Shooto’s lightweight division.
Four successful bouts later, Gomi finally found himself on the wrong end of a decision and lost his title and his first career fight in Shooto – 8/10.
Gomi was only one judge’s opinion away from history being rewritten and the crown certainly wasn’t getting heavy but it was time to test himself elsewhere.
Just over a year before Gomi’s MMA debut a new promotion debuted in front of 47,000 screaming fans.
Pride 1 was immediately the new king of the hill. Renzo Gracie, Oleg Taktarov, Kimo Leopoldo, Dan Sever, Rickson Gracie, and many more graced the card that would nearly bring down the Tokyo Dome in 1997 and the cards would only get better.
Fighters who previously bounced from promotion to promotion were buying residency in Pride and the world was beginning to notice.
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