The copyright of this photograph belongs to Susumu Nagao
Kazushi Sakuraba is the famous mixed martial artist from Japan, who was born on July 14th, 1968. He is also widely acclaimed as a professional wrestler and known worldwide for his immense strength and endurance levels.
After completing his studies, Sakuraba started his professional wrestling career, this had been his dream career since childhood. He considered mixed martial arts for sometime but chose the shoot wrestling promotion UWFi. This was a wrestling league that was popular for its realistic bouts and technical tactics. Sakuraba had to struggle quite a lot in his initial years. He lost his first debut match in the year 1993 and lost several more in the same year. Sakurba did not lose hope and continued his training till he won for the first time in 1994. He defeated Mark Silver, his hard work and dedication paid off.
Mixed Martial Arts - The Ultimate Championship
In Ultimate Fighting Championship's, Sakuraba participated as a substitute when Kanehara was wounded during training. This tournament was for heavyweights and Sakuraba was below the designated weight. He reported a false weight to participate and was paired against Brazilian Jiu Jitsu blackbelt, Marcus Silveira who was also an Extreme Fighting Champion. Marcus weighed 243 pounds while Sakuraba was 183 pounds. It was a huge fight and Sakuraba was taking the challenge but the referee stopped the match quite prematurely when Sakuraba dropped for his single leg takedown. There was huge protest and Sakuraba was known to have taken the microphone and spoken to the audience. The match tape was reviewed and it resumed. Sakuraba defeated Silveira and won the Championship.
Pride Fighting Championships
Sakuraba entered the Pride Fighting Championship and was paired against famous Vernon White who was highly experienced and also had a 20 pound advantage. Sakuraba remained unperturbed and displayed a complete balance of submission prowess and wrestling with regular takedowns and many unceasing submission attempts. White was quite strong in the beginning but was overpowered by the third round. In the next match, Sakuraba took up the challenge against Carlos Newton. Sakuraba defeated the veteran champion in the second round.
The next few years were quite busy for Sakuraba and continued winning several more Championships. In 2008, he competed in the famous Middleweight Grand Prix.