Kazushi Sakuraba Record, Net Worth, Weight, Age & More!
Who is Kazushi Sakuraba?
Kazushi Sakuraba was born on July 14, 1969. He is a Japanese combat athlete who as competed as a mixed martial artist, submission grappler and professional wrestler. He is currently signed to multiple organizations and continues to compete.
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Kazushi Sakuraba has fought in nearly every top-level MMA organization from Pride to the UFC, in addition to Hero's and Dream. He is well-known as the "Gracie Hunter" or "Gracie Killer" due to his famous victories over four members of the illustrious combat family The Gracies. He holds victories over Royler Gracie, Renzo Gracie, Ryan Gracie and Royce Gracie. In probably his most famous victory against Royce, the match lasted 90 minutes and ended because Royce was unable to continue due to the toll that Kazushi Sakuraba took on him during the fight.
Anti Jiu Jitsu by Kazushi Sakuraba is the distillation of Sakuraba's legendary career and now you can learn directly from him.
Sakuraba is known for his catch wrestling and submission grappling skills. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time with victories over 7 UFC champs, 3 Pancrase Champs, a DREAM champion, a King of the Cage Champion and many others.
How Old is Kazushi Sakuraba?
Kazushi Sakuraba was born on July 14, 1969. He is currently 51 years of age.
Kazushi Sakuraba's Family
Kazushi Sakuraba is married and has one son.
How Much is Kazushi Sakuraba Worth?
Kazushi Sakuraba has a net worth estimated to be approximately $1 million dollars.
How Tall is Kazushi Sakuraba?
Kazushi Sakuraba is documented to be 6 feet tall.
How much does Kazushi Sakuraba weigh?
Kazushi Sakuraba is documented to weight 185 lbs.
Kazushi Sakuraba Fight List
After a very extensive Professional Wrestling career, which continues to this day, Kazushi Sakuraba made his first foray into mixed martial arts in 1996. His first fight is credited to be against Kimo Leopoldo though some experts do not feel it was a real fight. Despite this questionable first match, that same year he defeated kickboxer Rene Rooze by an ankle hold later in 1996.
In an attempt to gain some attention for the Kingdom Pro Wrestling League a number of fighters from that league decided to sign on for the UFC's Ultimate Japan tournament. Kazushi Sakuraba found himself on that card as a replacement for one of the other Japanese fighters. The tournament was designed to showcase heavyweight fighters and Sakuraba came in nearly 20 lbs under the heavyweight 200lb designation.
In his first match, Sakuraba battled 240lbs BJJ black belt and former Extreme Fighting Champion Marcus Silveira. The match was a back and forth battle with neither fighter taking a dominate position until after a flurry of punches, Sakuraba dropped down to attempt a single leg takedown and referee John McCarthy thought Sakuraba had been knocked out and stopped the fight.
Upon review, the referee changed the result of the fight to a No Contest which allowed the two to meet again later in the tournament for the championship. Kazushi Sakuraba was able to win against the larger Brazilian black belt via armbar submission. This fight and victory was just the shot in the arm that Japanese professional wrestling needed in terms of its legitimacy and popularity. With this win, Sakuraba remains one of the last UFC tournament champions in history.
This fight also catapulted Sakuraba to the top in terms of Kingdom's talent pool. He would go on to defeat a number of high level athletes under the Kingdom banner until the end of the organizations run in 1998.
Having watched his fellow Kingdom professional wrestler Nobuhiko Takada be defeated by Rickson Gracie in the first Pride Fighting Championship event, Sakuraba would enter the organization's second event.
Sakuraba would defeat Vernon White a 32 Pancrase fight veteran by armbar in that Pride match.
In Pride's third event, Sakuraba would take on UFC veteran Carlos Newton. Carlos Newton, though relatively new to submission grappling and martial arts, had recently defeated Shooto champion Erik Paulson by armbar. In their match, Carlos Newton showed promise in attempting to take Sakuraba's back, but the wily grappling veteran Kazushi Sakuraba would catch him in a kneebar.
Kazushi Sakuraba quickly became a representative of a movement designed to show the dominance of Japanese professional wrestlers against Brazilian fighters. His next three fights were all against high level Brazilian combatants.
Though his first opponent Allan Goes would take him to a draw in their match, the back and forth of the match made it a fan favorite. Goes would later say that Sakuraba was the best he had ever faced in a match. Kazushi Sakuraba would berate himself for failing to fight his fight and instead falling into Allan Goes style.
Sakuraba's next match against boxer and grappler Vitor Belfort would go differently. Kazushi Sakuraba was able to take him down and utilize ground and pound to do a great deal of damage. Sakuraba also made use of leg kicks and head stomps during this match and would be awarded a unanimous decision by the judges.
In his next match, Kazushi faced Ebenezer Fontes Braga and was able to withstand Braga's muay thai onslaught. He would eventually use his ground skills and would finally lock an armbar for the win.
In his next match at Pride 8, Sakuraba would meet the first of the famous Gracie family fighters he would defeat. In Royler Gracie he would meet one of the most decorated fighters in the family. He would eventually lock on a tight kimura and have the referee step in to award him the victory after wrenching on the submission for an extended time.
This win would be the first documented defeat of a Gracie Family member in several decades and would send ripples of shock throughout the MMA world. The general consensus was that Royler, though caught in the tight submission, had never actually conceded victory by tapping out. Coincidentally, the last Japanese fighter to defeat a Gracie would be Masahiko Kimura who had beaten Royler's father Helio with the same technique (from where we get the name Kimura), and Helio had also not conceded defeat, but had his arm greatly damaged in the fight.
After the victory, Kazushi Sakuraba would call out Rickson Gracie, but it would be Rickson's younger brother Royce who would step up to fight him next. Royce had recently dominated in the first few UFC events.
Royce Gracie and Kazushi Sakuraba would meet after each fighter won their first fight. The two would battle for 6 fifteen minute rounds or 90 minutes. Though Royce came out like gangbusters with strikes, Sakuraba knew that Royce did not have knockout power, so he simply weather the storm and calmly tried submission after submission. After a devastating flurry of leg kicks in the 5th and 6th fifteen minute periods, Rorion Gracie would ultimately throw in the towel on behalf of his brother Royce.
After the 90 minute match, many fans were shocked when Sakuraba emerged from the locker room to take on his next opponent Igor Vovchanchyn and althought at points he was leading the fight, he would ultimately be forced to withdraw and throw in the towel do to extreme fatigue.
Earning the nickname "Gracie Hunter" after the match with Royce, he would next meet the brothers Renzo and Ryan Gracie, with a match against Shannon Ritch sandwiched between. This side of the Gracie family was much more MMA based and favored combat without the Gi.
Renzo Gracie was much more comfortable in the standing exchanges than his cousins Royler and Royce. This coupled with his superior ground game from the bottom helped put him in a good position for a possible victory, but during an exchange against the ropes, Sakuraba would lock on a kimura and take Renzo to the ground. Like his cousin Royler, Renzo too decided to not tap and watched his arm snap. The bout was awarded to Sakuraba due to the injury.
After the match, Renzo Gracie would take the microphone and tell the 35,000 fans in attendance that Sakuraba embodied the Japanese version of the Gracie Family. He has often in interviews later referred to the match as his proudest moment and has stated that it was the biggest lesson he ever learned in life.
Renzo's brother Ryan would come into the ring and issue a challenge to Sakuraba which would be accepted. The two would meet at Pride 12. Due to a shoulder injury the fight was limited to a single 10 minute round. Sakuraba was able to control Ryan Gracie during the match.
Originally, said to be fighting Pancrase legend Bas Rutten in his next match, the bout would fall through with Bas Rutten declining. Brazilian Muay Thai fighter Wanderlei Silva would step in to replace Rutten. Wanderlei would defeat the Japanese fighter after a flurry of knees to the head and kicks to the face. This would only be Sakuraba's second defeat in MMA.
In his next fight he would face future UFC champion Quinton Jackson. As Sakuraba attempted several submissions, Quinton Jackson employed powerful "powerbomb" attempts where he would lift the grappler high into the air and slam him back to the mat in an attempt to free himself from Sakuraba's submissions. Sakuraba was able to calmly weather these escape attempts and would eventually catch the exhausted Quinton Jackson in a rear-naked choke. The performance from Jackson, though a defeat, would earn him a long term contract with the organization.
The match with Jackson would lead to a rematch and title bout with Wanderlei Silva. During the match, Sakuraba would break his collar bone forcing his corner to throw in the towel securing the win for Silva.
After recovering from his injury, Sakuraba would spend some time training jiu jitsu with Sergio Penha. He would next welcome heavyweight K1 kickboxer Mirko Cro Cop to the Pride orgaization. He was able to take the kickboxer down but a vicious upkick would eventually break Sakuraba's orbital bone.
Sakuraba would go on to defeat French Jiu Jitsu champion Gilles Arsene, Rickson Gracie protege Antonio Schembri to set up a third match with Wanderlei Silva. Silva would defeat Sakuraba again by knockout and inspire some talk of a Sakuraba retirement which would never come.
Though he didn't retire, this was a turning point in Sakuraba's career. He had been unbeaten in his first 9 Pride fights. In his next 6 fights we would go 3-3. He would meet future UFC legends Kevin Randleman who he would defeat and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira who would hand Sakuraba a defeat.
Sakuraba continues to fight MMA with his most recent stint in the Rizin Fighting organization. His last fight for the organization was in 2015 against Shinya Aoki who defeated the legendary Sakuraba by ground and pound.
Sakuraba's Best Fight of All Time
The fights that cemented Sakuraba's legacy were his legendary bouts with Royce, Royler, Renzo and Ryan Gracie. As "the Gracie Hunter", Sakuraba helped inject a sense of pride and dominance into Japanese combat sports.
Who Did Kazushi Sakuraba lose to?
During Kazushi Sakuraba's legendary career, he has met defeat at the hands of Igor Vovchanchyn, Wanderlei Silva, Mirko Cro Cop and Ricardo Arona among others.
Kazushi Sakuraba's Record
Kazushi Sakuraba has had 46 professional mixed martial matches. He has won 26 and lost 17. He has had one draw and 2 bouts ruled as No Contests.
Kazushi Sakuraba's Injuries
Kazushi Sakuraba has had a number of battle related injuries like his collar bone injury incurred during his Wanderlei Silva match.
Is Kazushi Sakuraba retired?
Kazushi Sakuraba is not currently retired. He in still heavily involved in Professional wrestling and Submission grappling.
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