When the history of mixed martial arts is written 50 years down the road, PRIDE 33 will still be looked at as one of the most exciting nights in the sport's history. It was a night of monumental upsets, as Sokoudjou knocked out Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, a -2300 favorite. Also on the show, underdogs Frank Trigg and Dan Henderson both picked up wins.
But by far the most exciting fight of the night saw another underdog, Nick Diaz, come in and submit lightweight champion Takanori Gomi in a non-title affair in one of the most thrilling fights in the history of the sport. Late Monday night, the UFC announced Gomi will battle another Diaz — Nate Diaz — at UFC 135 in Denver.
With this being signed, we decided to take a look back at the absolute classic between Gomi and Nick Diaz from PRIDE 33, held Feb. 24, 2007 in Las Vegas.
I remember sitting in my dorm room at beautiful Michigan State University and having trouble ordering the pay-per-view. I actually missed the first hour of the four-hour broadcast because of technical difficulties and the subsequent hold time with the customer service masters at Comcast. So I was a little perturbed by the time, but I was able to settle in just in time to see James Lee upset Travis Wiuff and Sokoudjou knock out Nogueira.
By the time the co-main event between Diaz and Gomi rolled around, the show was already a hit. Up to this point, Gomi was nearly unstoppable in PRIDE, coming in with a 13-1 record in the organization. Diaz was making his PRIDE debut after leaving the UFC after a UFC 65 win.
Gomi surprised everyone by shooting for a takedown. After a scramble, Gomi ended up in Diaz's guard. Diaz was active enough to where Gomi stood up. Diaz landed a solid right hand, the best shot of the young fight to that point and the two had an exchange that culminated in Gomi sending Diaz to the canvas with a right hand.
Diaz would survive without taking much more damage and Gomi would eventually back off. The two went right back to work where they left off in the previous exchange. Diaz would start landing over and over as we've seen him do so many times since. Gomi's hands were lowering and Diaz started taunting him. With 50 seconds left in the round, Gomi bounced off the rope and missed with a haymaker. Diaz continued to land while Gomi was landing, just not as much. Diaz is bleeding. With about 10 seconds left, Diaz sends Gomi reeling into the ropes. Gomi bounces off them and unleashes a haymaker that brought so much wind with it it's surprising Diaz didn't go down from that. Diaz would stay on him until the bell and Gomi would stand over the ropes while Diaz put his arms up.
As the second round started, Diaz was ready to go and appeared to say, "Come on, b----" in Gomi's direction as the bell sounded. Diaz was certainly the fresher fighter but Gomi was landing the heavier shots and opened Diaz's eye up. The referee saw this and called for time to get it checked. Diaz could continue but the cut and swelling was bad. Seconds later, Gomi would point to the cut and try to let the referee know it was bad. Gomi went for a takedown but Diaz immediately transitioned into a gogoplata and Gomi tapped, ending an incredible fight.
The win was short-lived for Diaz as he tested positive for marijuana following the bout and the Nevada State Athletic Commission overturned the win, changing the result of the fight to a no contest. Still, for those of us who watched that fight live and for those who have watched it since, we will never forget that night.