Takanori Gomi's return to Japan was successful: The former Pride lightweight champion beat Eiji Mitsuoka by second-round TKO at UFC 144.
But it wasn't easy, as Mitsuoka almost beat Gomi in the first round before Gomi finished him in the second.
Gomi landed a couple of big knees to the body in the first round and looked good early on, but Mitsuoka clipped Gomi and knocked him down at the end of the round, then sunk in a mounted triangle choke and nearly forced Gomi to tap. Gomi managed to survive the first round, but just barely.
The second round, however, was all Gomi. When Mitsuoka went for a single-leg takedown, Gomi began pummeling him with punches, and although no individual punch was particularly powerful, Gomi stayed in a dominant position and battered Mitsuoka over and over and over again, and eventually the referee had no choice but to step in and stop the fight.
Gomi isn't the same fighter he once was -- he's no longer among the best lightweights in the world -- but he can still hit hard. And he hit Mitsuoka hard enough to earn a victory in his return to his homeland.