A moving tribute to Kazushi Sakuraba, a true pioneer of the sport who single handedly brought down the Gracie empire. Sakuraba was one of a kind, always amusing the crowds with his ring-antics and won many hearts doing so. He was a fearless fighter who took on anyone regardless of size or weight defeating some of the top HW's at the time. He defeated seven UFC champions in Vitor Belfort, Carlos Newton, Guy Mezger, Royce Gracie, Quinton Rampage Jackson, Kevin Randleman and Ken Shamrock. Last month he broke his arm in a pro wrestling match, and for the sake of his health I sincerely hope he can transition his career from both the real (MMA) and scripted (NJPW) fights and more into coaching and mentoring the next generation of mixed martial artists and/or pro wrestlers. He has the samurai spirit in his heart so he may never want to retire. Either way, I do wish him all the best.
Having had the honor of training with the same coach who trained Sakuraba (Billy Robinson), I wanted to study Saku's most technical match (with Carlos Newton) and compare training notes, basically.
It's PURE Catch-as-Catch-Can Wrestling.
Many lessons to be learned by the west from Japan as they reached the peak of a huge financial bubble in the late 80s, only to have it burst and experience deflationary recession. Today they've all but recovered, however they still face one of the largest government debts of any nation. In addition, they've had to learn to do more with less, as a new nationalism has emerged.
Frank Shamrock VS Cung Le part2 UCC March29 2008 Part1 is uploaded into google due to size issues in youtube. Thanks.
Sakuraba Kazushi is one of Japan's most legendary wrestlers, and one of the few who successfully made the cross-over to Mixed Martial Arts. His style is one-of-a-kind, unorthodox and incredibly skilled. He is also known as the IQ Wrestler, and has lead one of the most glorified careers in MMA. He still fights today, only under the K-1 Hero's banner.
Although his battered warrior's body nears the end of its fighting career, 桜庭 和志 — (Kazushi Sakuraba) remains a living legend in the sport of MMA, and an icon in the Martial Arts world in general.
His rare transition from fixed Pro Wrestling matches to the world of real combat saw his meteoric rise to popularity in his home country of Japan, as well as globally among Mixed Martial Arts fans. The popularity carried over from his Professional Wrestling background was only magnified when he proved a wrestler could compete in MMA by winning a UFC Japan event, and subsequently becoming the poster-boy for the then newly formed (since disbanded) PRIDE Fighting Championships organization.
His career has seen many ups and downs, from being on the winning end of a rivalry with the infamous Gracie clan (of BJJ fame), to facing the losing end of a rivalry with Brazilian Top Team and its then unstoppable force Wanderlei "the Axe Murderer" Silva. Overall, though this was a career that was truly legendary, and (if he ever does decide to retire that is) Sakuraba's warrior spirit, never-say-die attitude and unorthodox approach to combat will never be forgotten.
Official Sakuraba website
K-1 | Pride FC
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Wikipedia | IMDB
Held on December 31st, 2007; Yarennoka! was the final show from the PRIDE FC This bout features Misaki [black] v.s. Akiyama [red] in a controversial knock-out win for Misaki that was eventually overturned on grounds that Misaki kicked Akiyama while he was downed (which would have been illegal under the new rules for this special send-off event, imposed by UFC management). So, did Misaki kick Akiyama before or after his hand/knee touched the mat? You be the judge...
Classic Pride fight between Olympic Judo gold medalist Hidehiko Yoshida and Karate world champion & Rings veteran Kiyoshi Tamura