Kazushi Sakuraba (Japanese: 桜庭和志, Sakuraba Kazushi, born July 14, 1968 in present-day Katagami, Akita, Japan) is a Japanese professional mixed martial arts competitor and professional wrestler. He has competed for UWFi, Kingdom Pro Wrestling, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, PRIDE Fighting Championships, K-1 HERO'S and DREAM. He has the distinction of competing in the longest mixed martial arts bout on record, having beaten Royce Gracie in a 90-minute bout in 2000.
In Japan, he is known as "The IQ Wrestler", for his brilliance in the arts of catch wrestling and freestyle wrestling, as well as for his overall cerebral approach to fighting. He is also known as "Saku", which is frequently represented by the number "39" (the Japanese pronunciation of 3 being "san" and 9 "ku"). In the West, he is often referred to as the "Gracie Hunter," due to his victories over the famed Gracie family of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners. He also holds notable wins over Royce Gracie, Vitor Belfort, Quinton Jackson, Guy Mezger, Kevin Randleman, and Ken Shamrock.
In spite of his amateur pedigree, Sakuraba was forced to work his way up from the bottom of the UWFi's rung. Sakuraba lost his debut in 1993 to Steve Nelson and went winless through his rookie year with the league. It is also popularly alleged that under the eye of Kiyoshi Tamura, he was made to perform menial chores about the dojo. Nonetheless undeterred, Sakuraba steadily built a working knowledge of submission holds upon his freestyle wrestling base until his efforts were at last rewarded with a win over Mark Silver in October 1994.
Though his record remained below .500, Sakuraba continued to edge his way closer to mid-card status through the rest of the year. Then, in 1995, the UWFi began an interpromotional feud with New Japan Pro Wrestling. The vast majority of UWFi workers came out on the losing end of the booking to the larger and more mainstream promotion and Sakuraba was no exception. He was defeated in high-profile bouts to Tokimitsu Ishizawa, Koji Kanemoto and Shinjiro Otani, bringing Sakuraba a new level of exposure to the public. The ring psychology and technical prowess he displayed in the bouts also impressed the management of the UWFi enough that he was finally pushed towards main event status.
New Japan's dominance in the feud injured the marketability of the UWFi promotion, which had pressed the perception that their athletes boasted legitimate skill in catch wrestling and kickboxing. In a bid to regain credibility, Yoji Anjoh travelled to California to challenge Rickson Gracie in the latter's own dojo, only to be swiftly and brutally defeated before the assembled Japanese press that had followed him there. With the UWFi's formerly fearsome reputation in tatters, its attendance numbers swiftly decreased, with the federation closing its doors once and for all in December 1996. In their final show it was Sakuraba who at long last headlined, defeating Yoji Anjoh by submission.
Following a barrage of blows by Silveira, Sakuraba dropped for a low single leg, only for the fight to be prematurely ended on a KO. Referee John McCarthy had mistakenly thought Sakuraba to have been knocked down. A loud protest followed from the crowd and an angry Sakuraba attempted unsuccessfully to take the microphone and address the Japanese audience. However, after reviewing tape, McCarthy changed his decision to a no-contest. Tank Abbott, who had earlier defeated Yoji Anjoh, dropped from the tournament due to an injured hand, leaving Sakuraba and Silveira to face off once more that night in what would be the championship bout of the tourney. This time, Sakuraba claimed the victory, submitting Silveira with an armbar. Afterwards, Sakuraba famously stated, "In fact, professional wrestling is strong". With the victory Sakuraba remains one of the last UFC tournament champions to date.
With Nobuhiko Takada having left Kingdom to challenge Rickson Gracie in a KRS promoted event called PRIDE, the still struggling promotion capitalized on Sakuraba's newly found popularity establishing him as Kingdom's top talent. He embarked on a winning streak against several foreign mixed martial arts competitors including Paul Herrera, Rene Rooze, Mark Hall and Orlando Weit. However, Kingdom continued to flounder and finally folded in March 1998.
Next, Sakuraba was matched against Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Carlos Newton. Though relatively new to mixed martial arts, Newton had recently disposed of the reigning Shooto light heavyweight champion Erik Paulson with a swift armbar victory and already developed a reputation as a talented grappler. Sakuraba finished the match in the second round, this time with a rolling kneebar. Throughout the bout, both men displayed a high-level of grappling acumen, leading many fans and pundits of mixed martial arts to label it as the definitive grappling match in the history of the sport.
Eager to capitalize on Sakuraba's catch wrestling prowess to reverse the perception that Japanese professional wrestlers were inferior to Brazilian combatants (in part perpetuated by his teammates' own defeats), Sakuraba's next three bouts were scheduled against Brazilian jiu jitsu blackbelts Vitor Belfort, Allan Goes and Luta Livre blackbelt Ebeneezer Fontes Braga. Sakuraba, after seeming completely outclassed, defeated Belfort by unanimous decision, drew with Goes and submitted Braga via armbar. In a trend that would continue through Sakuraba's PRIDE career, each opponent occupied a spot near the top of the 205-pound class at the time of their meeting with him and held a weight advantage of around 20 pounds.
While the Japanese fight media rejoiced and elevated Sakuraba to superstar status, the Gracie family took great umbrage over the incident, feeling that they had been cheated by Pride. Compelled to set the record straight and re-assert the dominance of his family, Royler's younger brother and former UFC champion Royce Gracie returned to the sport of mixed martial arts in 2000 and entered the 16-Man PRIDE Grand Prix alongside Sakuraba and several other top fighters of the era. Placed on the same side of the bracket, a special set of rules were requested by the Gracies in the event of a Sakuraba-Royce match, including no referee stoppages and no time-limits, the fight ending only in the event of a submission or knock-out. In his first fight of the 2000 Pride tournament Sakuraba once again found himself matched up against a heavier opponent, this time the well-regarded 205-pound fighter, former King of Pancrase Guy Mezger. After a closely fought 15 minutes the judges requested an overtime round, and the fight ended in controversy when Mezger's coach Ken Shamrock forced his fighter back to the locker room in order to protest the judges' inability to render a decision. Sakuraba ended up winning the match by forfeit. Meanwhile, Royce defeated Nobuhiko Takada by unanimous decision and thus set the stage for their much anticipated showdown.
In the tournament quarterfinals Royce and Sakuraba battled for an hour and a half. Sakuraba nearly ended the match with a knee-bar towards the end of the first round. Later on, Royce returned the favor with a guillotine choke which Sakuraba lingered in, but eventually escaped from. As the confrontation stretched on, the Gracie's own no time-limit rules began to work against Royce as Sakuraba's wrestling skills and balance nullified Royce's ability to score a takedown and — in some instances — even pull guard. Even Royce's ever-present jiu-jitsu gi became a weapon for the wrestler to use against him as Sakuraba used it to help him control Gracie on the instances the fight did come to the ground. However, with Sakuraba's control of the takedown, these instances of ground warfare became increasingly sporadic. After the 90 minute battle of punishing leg kicks, Royce's brother, Rorion threw in the towel.
Prior to the bout, there was speculation that the fight was largely personal, with Royce looking to avenge his brother and Sakuraba looking to atone for his stablemate's defeats and vindicate professional wrestling and the UWFi once and for all. However, following the stoppage, Royce and Sakuraba embraced in the ring. Gracious in victory, Sakuraba flatteringly pointed to Royce as the superior ground-technician when questioned as to why he didn't engage him on the ground more frequently. Exhausted from his battle with Royce, Sakuraba surprised many when he emerged from the locker room for the tournament semi-finals. His opponent, Igor Vovchanchyn, outweighed him by close to fifty pounds (Sakuraba had come into the bout with Royce lighter than usual, at 176 pounds) and was considered to be the top heavyweight striker of the day. Sakuraba surprised many by taking Vovchanchyn down and nearly finishing him with an armbar. After the final bell, the bout was close enough that it was ruled a draw, with an overtime round to determine a winner between them. However, fatigue and size both had worn on Sakuraba by now his corner opted to throw in the towel.
Following the Grand Prix, Sakuraba was christened the Gracie Hunter by the Japanese sports media. Keeping in tow with his new nick-name, Sakuraba sandwiched a swift victory via achilles lock against Shannon Ritch between fights against brothers Renzo and Ryan Gracie. In contrast to Royler and Royce, Renzo and Ryan were products of Carlson Gracie's approach to jiu-jitsu, which placed a stronger emphasis on combat-ready skills and training without a gi. At the time of his bout with Sakuraba, Renzo's only loss in 10 bouts was a closely contested decision to Sakuraba's former UWFi stablemate and rival, Kiyoshi Tamura while Maurice Smith, Oleg Taktarov and Abu Dhabi champion Sanae Kikuta numbered amongst his victims.
Renzo's stylistic differences from his cousins were in evidence from the outset of his contest against Sakuraba, as he pressed the pace of the bout with a variety of kicks and punches. Sakuraba responded in kind, and the striking seemed to stalemate. Throwing his wrestling into the equation, Sakuraba timed a number of double and single leg takedowns against Renzo's flurries from where he alternately attempted to cartwheel past Gracie's guard, malign his legs with kicks from the standing position and even attack with a low dropkick. However, Renzo's defensive skills from bottom nullified the entire gamut of Sakuraba's offensive attempts until mere seconds remained in the battle and the contestants found themselves pressed against the turnbuckle. Sakuraba locked in a kimura and spun around, flipping Renzo to the canvas even as he wrenched his arm behind his back. Like Royler and Helio before him, Renzo refused to submit to the hold despite his elbow being snapped prior to hitting the ground and, even as the referee waved off the contest due to the injury, stoically showed no sign of disappointment or pain. His arm in a sling, Renzo took the microphone and, before the 35,000 fans assembled at the Seibu Dome, stated that Sakuraba was "the Japanese version of the Gracie family." Renzo has since referred to the bout as his proudest moment in mixed martial arts, due to his refusal to submit in the face of injury.
Ryan Gracie, who had fought on the same card and emerged victorious, issued a challenge to Sakuraba and the two were subsequently scheduled to meet at PRIDE 12. Due to a shoulder injury, the fight was limited to a single 10-minute round, where Ryan's spirited efforts were generally stymied and controlled by Sakuraba, who noticeably avoided attacks on his younger opponent's injured arm.
After sitting out the next PRIDE to recuperate, Sakuraba found himself across the ring with Quinton Jackson, a former collegiate wrestler who had compiled a record of 10-1 on the American circuit. At the sound of the bell, Sakuraba immediately took the bigger and more powerful man to the canvas with a low single-leg takedown. However, Jackson's superior size and enormous physical strength allowed him to muscle out of Sakuraba's submission attempts. After locking his legs about Jackson for a triangle choke, Sakuraba found himself hefted into the air and repeatedly powerbombed to the canvas. Later, he attempted an armbar against Jackson, only for the Tennessee native to again lift him up and this time, attempt to drop him from the ring. His expression unchanging through the course of Jackson's assault, Sakuraba continued to flow from one lock to another. Eventually, he took the back of a by-then exhausted Jackson and submitted him with his first rear naked choke victory. The contest was a launchpad for Jackson's career, leading to a long-term contract with PRIDE where he eventually became regarded as a top middleweight competitor.
It also re-established Sakuraba's proficiency in dealing with larger opponents and placed him back in line for another shot at Wanderlei Silva in PRIDE's next event, this time to decide PRIDE's inaugural 205-pound champion. Usually prone to humorous entrances, it was a somber and focused Sakuraba that came down the aisle for his rematch with Silva. As with Jackson, Sakuraba was able to score an early takedown in the bout, where he then worked from Silva's guard. After several minutes searching for an opening, he finally found one when Silva attempted to escape to his feet. Sakuraba locked on a tight guillotine, but was countered by a slam from Wanderlei which ended up breaking his collar bone. Not willing to let him go on so hampered, his corner threw in the towel.
Sakuraba took time off to let his shoulder heal, then returned against heavyweight kickboxer Mirko Filipovic. Sakuraba managed to take Filipovic down, but sustained another injury, this time a broken orbital bone. Finally assenting to place him in competition against fighters of his own weight class, PRIDE management put him against French jiu jitsu champion Gilles Arsene in a bout Sakuraba dominated and then against Rickson Gracie protege, Antonio Schembri. With a win over Schembri, it was speculated that Sakuraba might be then groomed for a championship fight in a new weight division for fighter's of his size. However, in a massive upset, Schembri managed to stun Sakuraba with a hard knee that rendered the Japanese grappler unable to continue.
This seemed to mark a turning point in Sakuraba's career; though he was unbeaten in his first nine PRIDE bouts, he thereafter split his next six matches before suffering a particularly devastating loss against Ricardo Arona at PRIDE's Middleweight Grand Prix event in June, 2005, during which his face became severely swollen and bloody due to repeated strikes from Arona; his corner stopped the fight after the second round. Following the win, PRIDE president Sakakibara suggested Sakuraba might move down in weight to compete in their newly formed 183-pound division. However, instead of moving down in weight, Sakuraba began training at Chute Boxe Academy in Brazil alongside his one-time rival, Wanderlei Silva.
Upon completion of his training, he made his return to the ring to engage in yet another contest at the 205-pound limit, this time against fellow catch wrestler Ken Shamrock. Three minutes into the bout, Sakuraba struck through Shamrock's guard with a left hand. Shamrock staggered back and ultimately fell into the ropes, his head hanging out of the ring, his back turned to Sakuraba. Sakuraba rushed in to follow up but before any meaningful offense could be launched, the fight was halted by referee Yuji Shimada. Shamrock sprang to his feet immediately following the KO and protested vigorously. Opinions have been mixed regarding the KO's legitimacy; Ken's brother, Frank, has stated he believed the stoppage was justified, while others have come down on the opposing side.
Prior to PRIDE's Shockwave 2005 New Year's eve event, Sakuraba strongly petitioned for a match against Kiyoshi Tamura, even going so far as to publicly request a bout with Tamura. However, with Tamura refusing to face him, Sakuraba recommended fellow catch-wrestler and professional wrestling proponent, Ikuhisa Minowa, who refers to himself as a "Real Pro Wrestler." Sakuraba did not request the match due to any grudge against Minowa, but rather because he believed that he and Minowa would put on a fight worthy of the Shockwave event. The bout was a competitive one, with Minowa getting the better of Sakuraba striking-wise and nearly catching him first with a kneebar and then a heel-hook. In the end, Sakuraba managed to outwrestle Minowa on the ground and catch him in a kimura which, although Minowa would not tap to it, would nonetheless prompt the referee to halt the contest. The victory would mark his final bout under the Pride banner; ironically, it also marked one of the few times he was matched against an opponent of his own size from the 183-pound division and his first bout against a Japanese fighter.
Sakuraba was then scheduled to compete in HERO's Light Heavyweight Tournament. His first opponent was the 16-5 Lithuanian Kęstutis Smirnovas. Sakuraba opened the fight striking aggressively and even flooring Smirnovas with a kick. However, as he was coming in to follow up, Smirnovas caught Sakuraba cleanly, knocking him down to his knees and hands. Sakuraba then turned over, sliding beneath the bottom rope, where Smirnovas unleashed repeated blows to his head. Sakuraba seemed at this point unable to defend himself; when the referee stepped between the two fighters, it seemed likely he was moving to put an end to the contest. However, instead of halting the battle, the referee re-positioned the fighters from underneath the bottom rope into the ring and resumed the bout. Though the re-starting of fighters who have found themselves near or outside the ropes is common practice, it was nonetheless controversial.
Following the re-start, Smirnovas picked up where he'd left off, pounding a supine Sakuraba whose only defense seemed to turtle up. Finally, Sakuraba got to his feet and worked for a single-leg on Smirnovas. The attempt was thwarted and again Sakuraba found himself beneath the Lithuanian who this time attempted to work a rear-naked choke. Sakuraba escaped the attempt and returned his feet once again. From this point on, Sakuraba's earlier cobwebs seemed to have cleared and he began to land combinations upon the Lithuanian with greater and greater frequency until Smirnovas finally collapsed from the assault. Sakuraba assumed side-control and swiftly moved into an armbar. Smirnovas fought the technique as long as he could, but was eventually forced to submit to spare his arm which had been fully extended.
Initially there were some doubts as to whether Sakuraba would be able to make it into the next round of the HERO's tournament based on the severity of the damage he endured against Smirnovas. However, Sakuraba reported that a follow-up CAT scan had found no irregularities and was then slated to face one-time Olympic judoka, Yoshihiro Akiyama in the tournament's semi-finals on October 9th in what K-1 hoped would be a high revenue match-up. The winner of that bout was to face the victor between Melvin Manhoef and Shungo Oyama to determine a tournament champion.
However, during a hard sparring session for the upcoming bout Sakuraba began vomiting and fainted. After being rushed to the hospital he was diagnosed with vertebrobasilar damage that restricted blood circulation to the head and neck area. The doctors determined the damage was caused from years of untreated head injuries dating back to his college years.
In spite of this revelation, Sakuraba was--rather than being granted a break to recover and possibly undergo surgery--scheduled to return to action on December 31st, 2006 against Yoshihiro Akiyama at K-1 Dynamite!!. The bout ended with Sakuraba struggling to execute a kneebar submission while Akiyama attacked with ground and pound. Words were exchanged between Sakuraba and referee Yoshinori Umeki prior to the stop, which was brought on by the sounding of a bell at the behest of Akira Maeda, the event coordinator, the referee separating the fighters following the bell rather than initiating the stop himself.
Afterwards, the usually soft-spoken Sakuraba surprised many with complaints that Akiyama's body had been greased. The referee in charge subsequently checked Akiyama's body and gave indication to ringside officials that he had not found anything unusual. In the aftermath of the fight the controversy escalated drastically and new accusations of weighed gloves also surfaced. To deal with the growing controversy, K-1 launched an investigation to look into the accusations against Akiyama. Although Akiyama's gloves were found to be regulation, video-tape revealed Akiyama administering a lotion to his skin. Akiyama--who attested he was simply treating his dry skin--was found to have been "negligent" and disqualified. The fight was subsequently declared a no-contest and Akiyama's purse was withheld. A press conference followed, wherein Akiyama--now heavily maligned by the Japanese sports media--offered a public apology.
Although Sakuraba wore a shirt into the ring against Akiyama which read "K Sakuraba: End of Service", his experience against Akiyama apparently changed his plans regarding retirement and at Heros 8 he submitted the winless Yurij Kiseliov by armbar.
Following that win, he would next share the mixed martial arts ring with his fellow catch wrestler and UWFi alum, Kiyoshi Tamura. Once again donning the guise of his childhood hero, Tiger Mask, as he had to signal his exodus from Pride Fighting Championships to Heros, Sakuraba this time wore the mask to mark the occasion of his return to Pride at their final DSE promoted show, Kamikaze. Before the assembled crowd at the Saitama Super Arena--Pride's most frequented venue--Sakuraba and Tamura publicly voiced their willingness to meet in a Pride ring, before shaking hands and embracing. A bout between Tamura and Sakuraba had been one of Pride's most frequently promised match-ups, one that had never been delivered upon in spite of several efforts to put it together.
On June 2nd, 2007, Sakuraba rematched Royce Gracie in K-1 Dynamite!! USA. The bout itself was fought at a relatively slow pace; Sakuraba knocked Gracie to the canvas in the opening seconds and finished the bout searching for an armbar, having taken the back of Gracie. In the intervening time, Sakuraba scored multiple takedowns while Gracie scored a number of kicks to the legs and face once on bottom. Royce won by a controversial unanimous decision; Sherdog scored the bout 2 rounds to 1 for Sakuraba, a score agreed upon by a majority of fans polled on the site.
On June 14, 2007, the controversy surrounding the match deepened as the California State Athletic Commission revealed that Gracie had tested positive for massive amounts of Nandrolone (ten times the possible natural occurrence of the chemical even at the highest level of athletic training), an anabolic steroid. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu master was fined $2,500 (the maximum penalty the Commission can impose) and suspended for the remainder of his license, which ends on May 30, 2008.
The California State Athletic Commission's Bill Douglas told MMAWeekly, "Currently, our rules do not support overturning a decision based off the drug test results. However, Armando Garcia and I are meeting with the Attorney General next month to begin the process of modifying the existing laws to incorporate those rules for the future. Should everything move along like I anticipate, I would expect to see the changes in place by the end of the year.
Sakuraba returned to the ring on September 17, 2007 at K-1 HERO'S 10 against former NJPW pro wrestler Katsuyori Shibata. Prior to the bout, Shibata's trainer, Masakatsu Funaki--rated by Sherdog as the second-greatest Japanese mixed martial artist to date behind Sakuraba--had challenged Sakuraba on the basis that he their styles would make for an entertaining contest. Shibata came out striking aggressively, but was soon taken to the canvas by Sakuraba's trademark single leg. Shibata unleashed a torrent of blows off his back, but the more experienced Sakuraba responded with strikes of his own before transitioning into an arm bar and finishing the bout.
After exchanging professional wrestling-inspired entrances, the submission specialists traded strikes. Funaki's arsenal of punches and kicks appeared to be quicker and more powerful, but Sakuraba was able to sneak in a double-leg take down after Funaki committed heavily to a missed right cross. On the ground, Funaki closed guard around Sakuraba before opening it up to spin for a knee-bar. For a moment, Funaki appeared to secure Sakuraba's leg only to be thwarted by a combination of Sakuraba's submission acumen and their position against the ring ropes, which blocked Funaki from rolling with the hold. Sakuraba then maneuvered to Funaki's back, only for the Pancrase founder to roll back into the guard position. Breaking away from the grappling contest, Sakuraba stood up and began to assault the still-prone Funaki's legs with a series of kicks. Funaki answered with a kick of his own, blackening Sakuraba's eye and cutting his face. Sakuraba returned himself to the ground, where Funaki immediately attempted to sweep him. However, Sakuraba blocked the attempt and secured a double wristlock, eventually forcing Funaki to submit.
|06/15/2008||Loss||Melvin Manhoef||DREAM.4 Middleweight Grand Prix 2nd Round||TKO (Punches)||1||1:30|
|4/29/2008||Win||Andrews Nakahara||DREAM.2 Middleweight Grand Prix 1st Round||Submission (Neck crank)||1||6:25|
|12/31/2007||Win||Masakatsu Funaki||K-1 PREMIUM 2007 Dynamite||Submission (kimura)||1||6:25|
|9/17/2007||Win||Katsuyori Shibata||K-1 Heroes GP Finals||Submission (Armbar)||1||6:21|
|6/2/2007||Loss||Royce Gracie||K-1 Dynamite||USA||Decision (Unanimous)||3||5:00||Gracie tested positive for kryptonite after fight.|
|3/12/2007||Win||Yurij Kiselov||HERO'S 8||Submission (Triangle Armbar)||1||1:26|
|12/31/2006||NC||Yoshihiro Akiyama||K-1 Premium 2006 Dynamite||Commission overturn||1||5:37||Akiyama used banned substance on skin.|
|8/5/2006||Win||Kestutis Smirnovas||HERO's 6||Submission (Armbar)||1||6:41|
|12/31/2005||Win||Ikuhisa Minowa||PRIDE Shockwave 2005||Technical Submission (kimura)||1||9:59|
|10/23/2005||Win||Ken Shamrock||PRIDE 30||TKO (Punch)||1||2:27|
|6/26/2005||Loss||Ricardo Arona||PRIDE Critical Countdown 2005||TKO (Corner Stoppage)||2||5:00|
|4/23/2005||Win||Yoon Dong-Sik||PRIDE Total Elimination 2005||KO (Strikes)||1||0:38|
|6/20/2004||Win||Antonio Schembri||PRIDE Critical Countdown 2004||Decision (Unanimous)||3||5:00|
|12/31/2003||Loss||Antonio Rogerio Nogueira||PRIDE Shockwave 2003||Decision (Unanimous)||3||5:00|
|11/9/2003||Win||Kevin Randleman||PRIDE Final Conflict 2003||Submission (Armbar)||3||2:36|
|8/10/2003||Loss||Wanderlei Silva||PRIDE Total Elimination 2003||KO (Punch)||1||5:01|
|3/16/2003||Loss||Antonio Schembri||PRIDE 25||TKO (Knees)||1||6:15|
|11/24/2002||Win||Gilles Arsene||PRIDE 23||Submission (Armbar)||3||2:08|
|8/28/2002||Loss||Mirko Filipović||PRIDE Shockwave||TKO (Broken Orbital Bone)||2||5:00|
|11/3/2001||Loss||Wanderlei Silva||PRIDE 17||TKO (Doctor Stoppage)||1||10:00||For PRIDE Middleweight Championship|
|7/29/2001||Win||Quinton Jackson||PRIDE 15||Submission (Rear Naked Choke)||1||5:41|
|3/25/2001||Loss||Wanderlei Silva||PRIDE 13||TKO (Strikes)||1||1:38|
|12/9/2000||Win||Ryan Gracie||PRIDE 12||Decision (Unanimous)||1||10:00|
|10/31/2000||Win||Shannon Ritch||PRIDE 11||Submission (Achilles Hold)||1||1:08|
|8/27/2000||Win||Renzo Gracie||PRIDE 10||Technical Submission (kimura)||2||9:43|
|5/1/2000||Loss||Igor Vovchanchyn||PRIDE Grand Prix 2000 Finals||TKO (Corner Stoppage)||1||15:00|
|5/1/2000||Win||Royce Gracie||PRIDE Grand Prix 2000 Finals||TKO (Corner Stoppage)||6||15:00||Rules modified for unlimited rounds and no referee stoppages.|
|1/30/2000||Win||Guy Mezger||PRIDE Grand Prix 2000 Opening Round||Forfeit||1||15:00|
|11/21/1999||Win||Royler Gracie||PRIDE 8||Technical Submission (kimura)||2||13:16|
|9/12/1999||Win||Anthony Macias||PRIDE 7||Submission (Armbar)||2||2:30|
|7/4/1999||Win||Ebenezer Fontes Braga||PRIDE 6||Submission (Armlock)||1||9:23|
|4/29/1999||Win||Vitor Belfort||PRIDE 5||Decision||2||10:00|
|10/11/1998||Draw||Allan Goes||PRIDE 4||N/A||3||10:00|
|6/24/1998||Win||Carlos Newton||PRIDE 3||Submission (Kneebar)||2||5:19|
|3/15/1998||Win||Vernon White||PRIDE 2||Submission (Armbar)||3||6:53|
|12/21/1997||Win||Marcus Silveira||UFC Japan||Submission (Armbar)||1||3:44||Won Ultimate Japan Heavyweight Tournament|
|12/21/1997||NC||Marcus Silveira||UFC Japan||No Contest (Premature Stoppage)||1||1:51|
|7/14/1996||Loss||Kimo Leopoldo||Shoot Boxing S Cup 1996||Submission (Arm Triangle Choke)||1||4:20||Sakuraba's only loss due to submission|