Sakurai in 2007
August 24, 1975 |
Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan
|Height||1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)|
|Weight||76 kg (168 lb; 12.0 st)|
|Rank||black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu|
|Mixed martial arts record|
|Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog|
Hayato Sakurai (桜井 速人 Sakurai Hayato?, マッハ Mahha, born August 24, 1975) is a Japanese mixed martial artist. Sakurai has been fighting in mixed martial arts since October 1996 and was at one time considered pound for pound one of the greatest fighters. Sakurai finished 2nd (Silver) in the Absolute Class (no weight limit) Abu Dhabi Combat Club submission wrestling annual competition in 1999 at just under 77 kg. During the height of his career in 2000 and 2001 he was considered to be one of the top pound for pound fighters in MMA. He is the former Shooto Middleweight Champion.
His nickname, "Mach", pronounced ma-ha in Japanese was taken as a tribute to his childhood professional wrestling hero, Higo Shigehisashi better known as Mach Hayato, the first Japanese professional wrestler to completely embrace the Mexican style of Lucha Libre and was also among the group of professional wrestlers who made the transition to shoot wrestling as part of the original UWF movement.
Sakurai started his career learning judo in middle school, gaining several championships before transitioning to karate. During high school, he became friends with fellow combat sportsmen Michihiro Omigawa and Kazuyuki Miyata. He later became interested in shootboxing and joined Caesar Takeshi's dojo, competing for his promotion during years. In 1996, he wandered in mixed martial arts and entered Kiguchi Dojo, where he trained with Shooto members Noriaki Kiguchi and Noboru Asahi. At the end, he was scouted by Shooto founder himself, Satoru Sayama, and ended joining Shooto along with a young Takanori Gomi.
Mixed martial arts career
Sakurai made his professional debut in the Shooto organization on October 4, 1996 by submitting Caol Uno. Over the next five years he would go undefeated in twenty bouts and would win that organization's Shooto Middleweight Champion. Sakurai was finally defeated in August 2001 by future longtime UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva. After the loss, and subsequent to a severe car accident, Sakurai traveled to the United States to fight the UFC Welterweight Champion Matt Hughes, losing by TKO in the fourth round.
PRIDE FC and comeback
After losing to Hughes, Sakurai fought periodically in Shooto and DEEP before joining PRIDE Fighting Championships, Japan's largest MMA organization. During this time he was inconsistent in his performances, often losing to much lower ranked opponents. He also attempted to fight at 183 lb (83 kg)., but it was clear that his frame was far too small for that weight, and his performances suffered. Some speculated Sakurai's seeming loss of spirit and mental focus came from a car accident he suffered after fighting Silva. However, in 2005 Sakurai regained focus and went to the US to train with legendary coach Matt Hume and AMC Pankration before rattling off 4 impressive wins against tough competition. It was announced that he would drop down to 160 lb (73 kg). in order to participate in Pride's Lightweight Grand Prix. Despite his revered and legendary early career some questioned if Sakurai could make an impact in the division. Sakurai silenced his critics when he defeated former UFC Lightweight Champion Jens Pulver and former Shooto Lightweight Champion Joachim Hansen on the same night to advance to the tournament finals. On December 31, 2005 Sakurai fought mixed martial arts superstar Takanori Gomi for the first ever PRIDE Fighting Championships 160 lb (73 kg) championship of the world. Although fighting with a torn ACL he suffered in training just three weeks prior to the fight, though this was not known outside of his coaching circle at the time, Sakurai initially had the upper-hand, pounding Gomi with brutal inside-leg kicks. A few minutes into the round, Sakurai attempted a throw, which landed Gomi upon the ropes of the ring. Gomi was able to take Sakurai's back and rain down strikes upon him. Seconds after both fighters stood back up, Sakurai was knocked out at the 3:56 mark of the first round. Despite the loss to Gomi, Sakurai would continue to impress with his performances. At Bushido 11 he scored a brutal knockout over WEC veteran Olaf Alfonso. On August 26, 2006, Mach fought Brazilian Luciano Azevedo at Bushido 12. After several minutes of attempted ground-and-pound by Azevedo, the fighters were stood back up. Mach then consistently stuffed Azevedo's takedowns, and landed a fight-ending knee on Azevedo over his left eye. The fight was stopped, TKO by cut.
Sakurai fought against former King of the Cage Lightweight Champion and future The Ultimate Fighter 6 winner Mac Danzig at PRIDE 33. Sakurai won the fight via knockout in the second round. Sakurai was then defeated by David Baron by submission in the first round. Sakurai then defeated Kuniyoshi Hironaka via Unanimous Decision. Sakurai then went on to defeat Katsuyori Shibata by TKO at Dynamite!! 2008.
Next, he competed in the DREAM Welterweight Grand Prix, facing top ranked Lightweight Shinya Aoki at Dream 8. Sakurai won in impressive fashion by knocking Aoki out in 27 seconds with knees to the head and punches. He then lost at Dream.10 in the semi-final of the tournament to eventual winner Marius Zaromskis in a huge upset, conceding the loss via knockout from a head kick and punches. His most recent fight was against Akihiro Gono at the Dynamite!! 2009 New Year's Eve show in Saitama, Japan. Sakurai controlled the fight early on, but eventually lost via armbar submission in the second round. He fought Nick Diaz at Dream 14 and was caught in an armbar submission again. After this fight he has speculated on retiring saying that he was good physically, but not mentally.
In December 2008, it was reported in Japan that a sex tape involving Sakurai had been leaked on to the internet. There was widespread speculation as to how this incident might affect Sakurai's career, as he is married to another woman.
Championships and Accomplishments
Mixed martial arts record
|Professional record breakdown|
|52 matches||37 wins||13 losses|
|Loss||37-13-2||Jae Suk Lim||TKO (punches)||Mach Dojo / Gladiator: Mach Festival||September 29, 2013||1||5:21||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||37-12-2||Phil Baroni||Decision (unanimous)||Dream 18||December 31, 2012||3||5:00||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||36-12-2||Ryo Chonan||Decision (unanimous)||Fight For Japan: Genki Desu Ka Omisoka 2011||December 31, 2011||3||5:00||Saitama, Japan|
|Loss||35-12-2||Jason High||Decision (split)||Dynamite!! 2010||December 31, 2010||3||5:00||Saitama, Japan|
|Loss||35-11-2||Nick Diaz||Submission (armbar)||Dream 14||May 29, 2010||1||3:54||Saitama, Japan||Non-title bout|
|Loss||35-10-2||Akihiro Gono||Submission (armbar)||Dynamite!! 2009||December 31, 2009||2||3:56||Saitama, Japan|
|Loss||35–9–2||Marius Žaromskis||KO (head kick)||Dream 10||July 20, 2009||1||4:03||Saitama, Japan||DREAM Welterweight Grand Prix Semifinal Round|
|Win||35–8–2||Shinya Aoki||KO (knees & punches)||Dream 8||April 5, 2009||1||0:27||Nagoya, Japan||DREAM Welterweight Grand Prix Opening Round|
|Win||34–8–2||Katsuyori Shibata||TKO (punches)||Dynamite!! 2008||December 31, 2008||1||7:01||Saitama, Japan|
|Win||33–8–2||Kuniyoshi Hironaka||Decision (unanimous)||Dream 6||September 23, 2008||2||5:00||Saitama, Japan|
|Loss||32–8–2||David Baron||Submission (guillotine choke)||Shooto: Shooto Tradition||May 3, 2008||1||4:50||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||32–7–2||Hidetaka Monma||TKO (punches)||Dream 1||March 15, 2008||1||4:12||Saitama, Japan|
|Win||31–7–2||Hidehiko Hasegawa||Decision (unanimous)||Yarennoka! 2007||December 31, 2007||3||5:00||Saitama, Japan|
|Win||30–7–2||Mac Danzig||KO (punch)||PRIDE 33||February 24, 2007||2||4:01||Las Vegas, Nevada]], United States|
|Win||29–7–2||Luciano Azevedo||TKO (doctor stoppage)||PRIDE Bushido 12||August 26, 2006||1||4:35||Nagoya, Japan|
|Win||28–7–2||Olaf Alfonso||KO (punch)||PRIDE Bushido Survival 2006||June 4, 2006||1||1:54||Saitama, Japan|
|Loss||27–7–2||Takanori Gomi||KO (punches)||PRIDE Shockwave 2005||December 31, 2005||1||3:56||Saitama, Japan||Final of PRIDE Lightweight Grand Prix to crown the first PRIDE Lightweight Champion.|
|Win||27–6–2||Joachim Hansen||Decision (unanimous)||PRIDE Bushido 9||September 25, 2005||2||5:00||Tokyo, Japan||Semifinal of PRIDE Lightweight Grand Prix|
|Win||26–6–2||Jens Pulver||TKO (punches)||PRIDE Bushido 9||September 25, 2005||1||8:56||Tokyo, Japan||Opening Round of PRIDE Lightweight Grand Prix|
|Win||25–6–2||Shinya Aoki||Decision (unanimous)||Shooto – Alive Road||August 20, 2005||3||5:00||Yokohama, Japan|
|Win||24–6–2||Milton Vieira||Decision (split)||PRIDE Bushido 7||May 22, 2005||2||5:00||Tokyo, Japan|
|Loss||23–6–2||Crosley Gracie||Submission (armbar)||PRIDE Bushido 5||October 14, 2004||2||1:02||Osaka, Japan|
|Win||23–5–2||Brady Fink||Submission (guillotine choke)||PRIDE Bushido 4||July 19, 2004||1||4:08||Nagoya, Japan|
|Loss||22–5–2||Rodrigo Gracie||Decision (unanimous)||PRIDE Bushido 2||February 15, 2004||2||5:00||Yokohama, Japan|
|Win||22–4–2||Daiju Takase||Decision (unanimous)||PRIDE Shockwave 2003||December 31, 2003||3||5:00||Saitama, Japan|
|Loss||21–4–2||Ryo Chonan||TKO (cut)||DEEP – 12th Impact||September 15, 2003||3||2:10||Japan|
|Win||21–3–2||Dave Menne||TKO (cut)||DEEP – 10th Impact||June 25, 2003||2||2:02||Japan|
|Win||20–3–2||Ryuki Ueyama||Decision (unanimous)||DEEP – 8th Impact||March 4, 2003||3||5:00||Japan|
|Loss||19–3–2||Jake Shields||Decision (unanimous)||Shooto - Year End Show 2002||December 14, 2002||3||5:00||Tokyo, Japan|
|Loss||19–2–2||Matt Hughes||TKO (strikes)||UFC 36||March 22, 2002||4||3:01||Las Vegas, United States||For UFC Welterweight Championship|
|Win||19–1–2||Dan Gilbert||Submission (heel hook)||Shooto – To The Top Final Act||December 16, 2001||1||1:52||Tokyo, Japan|
|Loss||18–1–2||Anderson Silva||Decision (unanimous)||Shooto – To The Top 7||August 26, 2001||3||5:00||Japan||Lost Shooto Welterweight Championship|
|Win||18–0–2||Jean Louis Alberch||Decision||GT – Golden Trophy 2001||March 1, 2001||2||3:00||France|
|Win||17–0–2||Frank Trigg||KO (knees)||Shooto – R.E.A.D. Final||December 17, 2000||2||2:25||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||16–0–2||Luiz Azeredo||Decision (unanimous)||Shooto – R.E.A.D. 8||August 4, 2000||3||5:00||Osaka, Japan|
|Win||15–0–2||Tetsuji Kato||Decision (split)||Shooto – R.E.A.D. 2||March 17, 2000||3||5:00||Tokyo, Japan||Defended Shooto Welterweight Championship|
|Win||14–0–2||Haroldo Bunn||TKO (punches)||VTJ 1999 – Vale Tudo Japan 1999||December 11, 1999||3||1:31||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||13–0–2||Brad Aird||Submission (armbar)||Shooto - Renaxis 2||July 16, 1999||1||0:37||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||12–0–2||Marcelo Aguiar||Decision (unanimous)||Shooto - 10th Anniversary Event||May 29, 1999||3||5:00||Yokohama, Japan|
|Win||11–0–2||Jean Louis Alberch||Submission (armbar)||GT – Golden Trophy 1999||March 20, 1999||1||0:33||France|
|Win||10–0–2||Damien Riccio||Decision||GT – Golden Trophy 1999||March 20, 1999||1||5:00||France|
|Win||9–0–2||James Schiavo||Submission (toe hold)||GT – Golden Trophy 1999||March 20, 1999||1||0:26||France|
|Win||8–0–2||Ademir Oliveira||KO (flying knee)||Shooto - Devilock Fighters||January 15, 1999||1||0:34||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||7–0–2||Sergei Bytchkov||Submission (armbar)||VTJ 1998 – Vale Tudo Japan 1998||October 28, 1998||1||4:59||Japan|
|Win||6–0–2||Ronny Rivano||Submission (rear naked choke)||Shooto - Las Grandes Viajes 4||July 29, 1998||1||1:10||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||5–0–2||Jutaro Nakao||Decision (unanimous)||Shooto - Las Grandes Viajes 3||May 13, 1998||3||5:00||Tokyo, Japan||Won Shooto Welterweight Championship|
|Draw||4–0–2||Marcelo Aguiar||Draw||VTJ 1997 – Vale Tudo Japan 1997||November 29, 1997||3||8:00||Japan|
|Win||4–0–1||Alex Cook||Submission (rear naked choke)||Shooto - Reconquista 4||October 12, 1997||1||1:09||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||3–0–1||Ali Elias||Submission (armbar)||Shooto - Reconquista 3||August 27, 1997||1||1:23||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||2–0–1||Hiroyuki Kojima||Decision (unanimous)||Shooto - Gig||June 25, 1997||2||5:00||Tokyo, Japan|
|Draw||1–0–1||Takuya Kuwabara||Draw||Shooto - Reconquista 1||January 18, 1997||3||3:00||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||1–0||Caol Uno||Submission (armbar)||Shooto - Let's Get Lost||October 4, 1996||1||2:52||Tokyo, Japan|
1 win, 0 losses
Legend: Win Loss Draw/No contest
- "Fight Finder: "Mach" Sakurai". Sherdog. 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-15.
- "Male Adult Black Meio-Pesado". TOKYO INTERNATIONAL JIU-JITSU OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPIP 2009. Retrieved November 24, 2009.
- Mach Revival Go
- Greatest Pride Fighting Knockouts, video of Sakurai's match with Olaf Alfonso, retrieved on February 16, 2007
- "Aoki Likely For DEEP: 50th Impact, Sakurai In Talks". MMARising.com. Retrieved 2010-09-13.