UFC president Dana White made it official yesterday, announcing that Dover native Kenny Florian’s next fight will be March 31 against Takanori Gomi of Japan in Charlotte in the main event of UFC Fight Night 21 on Spike TV.
“Gomi is a big star in Japan,’’ said White. “This guy fought in the Pride organization and we’ve been batting back and forth with this guy for a while. We finally got him and we’re bringing him in and his first fight is against Kenny Florian.’’
Even if Florian defeats Gomi, White said that wouldn’t be enough to propel him back into the top contender spot against reigning lightweight champion B.J. Penn.
“He’s a ways away from that,’’ said White. “After he gets through the Gomi fight, we’ll figure out what he does next. He’s got to make it through him first, that’s a really tough fight. Gomi is powerful with both hands, he can knock you out with either hand, and he’s a great wrestler.’’
Florian isn’t the only local product on the card. Middleweight Jorge Rivera, a native of Milford, will take on Nate Quarry.
The next pay-per-view event for the organization is UFC 109, featuring Randy Couture vs. Mark Coleman in Las Vegas Saturday night.
White said he didn’t have an update on the upcoming UFC event at TD Garden. He said they are still aiming for August, but reports of an Aug. 28 date are premature.
“We’re working on it,’’ said White, who expects to have the event locked in within a month.
Asked if heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar, who continues his recovery from diverticulitis, will be on the card here, White said he thinks Lesnar might make his return to the octagon in July.
“Anything can happen, though,’’ he said. “Guys get injured, something could happen. He could end up falling on that Boston card.’’