All three judges saw the fight for Gomi, but Bang had clearly showed that he is one of the hottest up-and-comers in Asia. Gomi looked less than impressive in the bout, and if his opponent had better gas and low kick defense, the decision might have gone against him.
And the Sengoku lightweight tournament which is designed to create a big-time challenger for Gomi is doing a better job of killing stars than making them. Case in point, Rodrigo Damm. Here's how Jordan Breen described him before his bout with journeyman spoiler Eiji Mitsuoka:
A Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion with a few Brazilian national wrestling titles tossed in for good measure, Damm is a serious grappler who has put those skills to good use in his young career.
Coming off an improbable KO win over YouTube legend Jorge Masvidal, Damm was favored and poised for a Jacare style breakout if he beat Mitsuoka in impressive style. Instead, Damm got sloppy and got himself slugged, stunned and choked out. Mitsuoka is a bad man, you have to be to earn a win (even a split-decision) win over DREAM champ Joachim Hansen, but he's not going to be a star anytime soon.
Same thing happened to IFL champ Ryan Schultz. After his classic beat down of golden boy Chris Horodecki and a grinding win over the IFL's other lightweight hype Deividas Taurosevicius, Schulz was primed to pull an Eddie Alvarez with a breakout performance in the WVR tournament. Instead, Schultz fought stupid and got himself KO'd by CageForce champ Mizuto Hirota.
Ok, so maybe I'm being too negative. Hirota, riding a 4 fight KO streak could be a star in the making. And Satoru Kitaoka -- training partner of fellow submission kings Shinya Aoki and Masakazu Imanari --is looking pretty sharp after his 31 second finish of Matt Hughes' protege Clay French. But nevertheless, with no US television exposure and no non-Japanese fighters advancing, the Sengoku tournament is not going to match DREAM for star-making and Takanori Gomi won't be #1 in the world ever again.