Yuki Nakai

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Yuki Nakai
Born (1970-08-18) August 18, 1970 (age 44)
Hamamasu village, Hokkaidō, Japan
Nationality Japanese
Height 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)
Weight 154 lb (70 kg; 11.0 st)
Style Amateur wrestling, Shoot wrestling, Judo
Fighting out of Tokyo, Japan
Team Paraestra
Teacher(s) Satoru Sayama
Rank black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
black belt in Judo
Mixed martial arts record
Total 11
Wins 9
By submission 7
By decision 1
Unknown 1
Losses 2
By submission 1
By decision 1
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

Yuki Nakai (中井祐樹 Nakai Yūki?) is a retired Japanese shooto practitioner and mixed martial artist. He currently teaches Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and is the president of the Japan Shooto Association. He competed in Vale Tudo Japan 1995, where he was outweighed by every opponent in the tournament. Despite this, and despite suffering a severe eye injury in the first bout, Nakai managed to make it to the finals where he lost to Rickson Gracie. Nakai is a legend of Shooto by many fighters and fans. He is the founder of the Paraestra Shooto gyms and coaches fighters such as PRIDE and DREAM stand out Shinya Aoki, who also earned his Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from Nakai.


He was born August 18 in 1970. After graduating from Hokkaido Sapporo North high school, he entered Hokkaido University. He belonged to the judo club and won the shichitei judo championship when he was in fourth grade. In 1992, he was scouted by Satoru Sayama, who trained him in shoot wrestling at the Super Tiger Gym, and Nakai made his debut in Shooto the same year. His deep knowledge of groundfighting granted him a distinguished career in Shooto, where he defeated Kazuhiro Kusayanagi for the Shooto Welterwight Championship.

In 1995, as the current champion, Nakai was selected by the Shooto Commission to represent Shooto in the Vale Tudo tournament Vale Tudo Japan 1995, hosted by Sayama. His first opponent was Gerard Gordeau, a Dutch Savate fighter. Nakai started the fight dropping down and scissoring Gordeau's leg to avoid his kicks and work a leglock, but Gerard illegally eye-gouged him from that position and tried to kick him out the ring. A bloodied Nakai later took Gordeau down in the corner and secured a heel hook to make him tap. Despite his right eye was gravely injuried and he had lost half of his eyesight, Nakai advanced in the tournament and was pitted against American wrestler and WCW performer Craig Pittman, who sported a 100-lb weight advantage. The bigger wrestler took him down and performed ground and pound while Nakai attempted to avoid it by turtling up, albeit almost catching him in an armbar. After enduring more punishment, Nakai performed another armbar from his guard and made him tap out. Now with both of his eyes completely swelled and almost blind, Yuki would face Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu master Rickson Gracie at the third and final bout. Nakai resisted Rickson's earlier attempts to pass his guard, but he was too lacerated to keep his defense and Gracie took the mount, landing some punches before catching Yuki in a rear naked choke, thus winning the tournament.

Yuki Nakai became permanently blind in his right eye due to Gerard Gordeau's illegal tactics.[1] For years he and Sayama kept his blindness a secret to protect the reputation of mixed martial arts. The injury forced Nakai to retire from mixed martial arts competition. Despite many believing the Vale Tudo match with Rickson Gracie led him to start practicing Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, it was actually after witnessing Noboru Asahi's loss to Royler Gracie in 1996 that he took up the art, where he became the first person from Japan to hold a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and is the president of the Japanese Confederation of Jiu-Jitsu.

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

  • Shooto
    • Shooto Welterweight Championship (1 time)

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 9-2 Rickson Gracie Submission (rear naked choke) Vale Tudo Japan 1995 April 20, 1995 1 6:22 Tokyo, Japan
Win 9-1 Craig Pittman Submission (armbar) Vale Tudo Japan 1995 April 20, 1995 2 7:32 Tokyo, Japan
Win 8-1 Gerard Gordeau Submission (heel hook) Vale Tudo Japan 1995 April 20, 1995 4 2:41 Tokyo, Japan
Win 7-1 Hiraoki Matsutani Submission (heel hook) Shooto - Vale Tudo Access 3 January 21, 1995 1 0:20 Tokyo, Japan
Win 6-1 Kazuhiro Kusayanagi Decision (unanimous) Shooto - Vale Tudo Access 2 November 7, 1994 4 4:00 Tokyo, Japan Won the Shooto Welterweight Championship
Win 5-1 Kyuhei Ueno Submission (arm triangle choke) Shooto - Shooto May 6, 1994 5 0:52 Tokyo, Japan
Win 4-1 Jun Kikawada Submission (heel hook) Shooto - New Stage Battle of Wrestling March 11, 1994 1 0:27 Tokyo, Japan
Win 3-1 Jun Kikawada N/A Seishinkaikan February 23, 1994 1 0:524 Japan
Loss 2-1 Noboru Asahi Decision (unanimous) Shooto - Shooto November 25, 1993 5 3:00 Tokyo, Japan
Win 2-0 Masakazu Kuramochi Submission (heel hook) Shooto - Shooto June 24, 1993 2 1:36 Tokyo, Japan
Win 1-0 Hiroki Noritsugi Submission (kimura) Shooto - Shooto April 26, 1993 1 0:53 Tokyo, Japan

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Yuki Nakai remains committed to teaching true spirit of martial arts." Japan Today. Retrieved on April 12, 2012.

External links[edit]