Diego Sanchez struggled on the feet against the firepower of Takanori Gomi but did enough with his takedowns to edge Gomi on the scorecards to earn a controversial split decision victory.
Takanori Gomi came out stalking, effectively countering an early kick by Diego Sanchez with his patented right hand. Gomi chased down a circling Sanchez, changing stances as he went and continuing to uncork his big right hand. Sanchez then secured a takedown, scoring with a flurry of punches, but Gomi quickly kicked off and got back to his feet. Gomi again found his range with a laser-straight right hand, followed by a big body shot. Sanchez again took the fight to the floor and threatened with a knee bar but Gomi fought off the submission attempt and again got back to his feet to cap off an exciting first round of action.
Gomi came out in the second concentrating on punishing the body of Sanchez as he landed blistering shots to the midsection. Sanchez came back and scored with his kicks but then landed to the groin, forcing a warning from the referee. After the restart, Gomi continued to pressure, forcing Sanchez to fight moving backward. Sanchez then went to more feints and found success landing to the body, but Gomi came back strong, landing to the lead leg of Sanchez. Gomi then got inside and flurried with rapid fire punches to score late in the round.
Sanchez came out energized in the final frame, but again Gomi pressured, pursuing Sanchez around the octagon and picking his shots from the outside. Sanchez found his range with a stiff jab, but it was mostly one-and-done as he failed to string together multiple punch attacks. Gomi then went to work with his jab, controlling the range and dictating the pace of the fight as the round wore on.
It appeared that Takanori Gomi (34-9 MMA, 3-4 UFC) may have been on his way to his third consecutive UFC victory, but when the scorecards came back it was Diego Sanchez (24-5 MMA, 13-5 UFC) that was awarded the split decision victory with scores of 28-29, 29-28, and 29-28.