Pearson is the stereotype of a British fighter. He has amazing hands, toughness, heart and a want to impress every time he steps forward to battle. He also lacks a well-rounded ground game.
To say it is not well-rounded is not the same as saying he has no ground game at all. Instead, it is to say that Pearson is still a stand-up fighter first. His capabilities to nab takedowns or fight off his back is more of a survival pattern than a avenue to victory.
“The Real Deal” has not submitted anyone in the UFC, and his last submission victory was in November of 2008. To his credit, outside of the loss to Cole Miller, Pearson has avoided tapping while gathering a (7-3) UFC record.
When one sees Gomi's record, one will note 60 percent of his losses are by submission (70 percent if you count the overturned loss to Nick Diaz). The number is a bit misleading for two reasons: First, it ignores the caliber of grappler that has submitted “The Fireball Kid.” Second, it overlooks the fact that the statistic is inapplicable given Pearson's lack of grappling interest.
B.J. Penn, Marcus Aurelio, Satoru Kitaoka, Kenny Florian, Clay Guida and Nate Diaz each have more submission finishes than (T)KOs or decisions. Each member of the list is a world-class grappler. Yes, Gomi can be submitted, but one must hold top-quality submission skills to get the better of him on the ground.
Many forget Gomi has a history of combat wrestling. While he does show a weakness for jiu-jitsu practitioners, he also has zero trouble with strikers. A striker is exactly what Pearson is, and Gomi won't be afraid to go to the ground with the Brit if he decides the striking battle isn't suiting him.
Neither Ross Pearson and Takanori Gomi are ground-first fighters. Each has rather glaring holes in his respective work once the fight hits the mat. That said, Gomi does possess an advantage on the ground if it should go there, thanks to his wrestling background.
But one cannot help wonder if Pearson has worked tirelessly on a guillotine or arm triangle that he hopes to capture a surprise victory with. Still, if one is playing the numbers and logic, Gomi has the advantage.