Kazuyuki Fujita

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Kazuyuki Fujita
Born (1970-10-16) October 16, 1970 (age 45)
Funabashi, Chiba, Japan
Other names "Ol' Ironhead"
"The last disciple of Antonio Inoki"
"The last successor of Inokiism"
"Wild Beast"
"The Real Beast"
"Super Turtle"
Nationality Japanese
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Weight 114 kg (251 lb; 17 st 13 lb)
Division Heavyweight
Style Wrestling
Trainer Antonio Inoki
Marco Ruas
Years active 2000–2009, 2013. 2016 (MMA)
Mixed martial arts record
Total 26
Wins 15
By knockout 5
By submission 8
By decision 2
Losses 11
By knockout 6
By submission 2
By decision 3
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

Kazuyuki Fujita (藤田 和之 Fujita Kazuyuki?)[1] (born October 16, 1970) is a Japanese professional wrestler, mixed martial artist and a former amateur wrestler. He has fought in mixed martial arts promotions including Pride Fighting Championships, K-1 and World Victory Road. He competes in mixed martial arts, shoot style wrestling and puroresu, and holds notable victories over Ken Shamrock, Gilbert Yvel, Mark Kerr, Bob Sapp, Karam Gaber, Peter Graham, and James Thompson.

Early life[edit]

Fujita practiced freestyle wrestling in high school. He participated in the FILA World Championships as a junior in 1988, placing sixth, and in the Espoir division in 1989, placing eleventh. In 1993, Fujita placed fifth at the Asian Championships at the senior level, and in 1993 and 1994, he represented Japan as a senior in the World Cup, a dual meet tournament. He was also a national champion in Japan in Greco-Roman wrestling. He missed making the Japanese Olympic team by 1 point in the Olympic qualifiers.

Professional wrestling career[edit]

New Japan Pro Wrestling (1996-2005)[edit]

Fujita joined New Japan Pro Wrestling in 1993, but he still competed in amateur wrestling. Because of this his professional debut was delayed three years until 1996. His debut match was against Yuji Nagata. Fujita steadily worked his way up the card, and in 1999 he started working against professional wrestlers who came from a Vale Tudo mixed martial arts background.

In April 2001 he returned to NJPW, and quickly won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship defeating Scott Norton at Strong Style 2001 on April 9.[2] He reigned as the champion until he was forced to vacate the title due to injury in January 2002.

Fujita returned to New Japan in the summer of 2002. At NJPW Cross Road on August 29, Fujita entered a tournament for the vacated NWF Heavyweight Championship but lost to eventual winner: Yoshihiro Takayama.[3] On October 14, Fujita challenged Yuji Nagata for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship but came up short.[3]

Fujita immediately won the vacated title by defeating Hiroshi Tanahashi. He lost the championship to Kensuke Sasaki on October 9, 2004.

In 2005 he joined the Team JAPAN faction, and on July 18, 2005 he won the championship for the third time against Hiroyoshi Tenzan. In August 2005, Fujita entered the 2005 G1 Climax where he won all his matches in the round robin portion, then defeated Toshiaki Kawada but lost to Masahiro Chono in the finals. He lost the IWGP Championship to Brock Lesnar on October 8, 2005 at Toukon Souzou New Chapter in a three way match including Masahiro Chono. Lesnar pinned Chono to win the title. In late 2005 he withdrew from a rematch with Lesnar, scheduled for January 4, 2006. Fujita was represented by Inoki Office, an agency originally started by Antonio Inoki, and had not been under a contract with NJPW.

Inoki Genome Federation (2011-present)[edit]

Fujita returned to professional wrestling in 2011 with the Inoki Genome Federation (IGF) promotion, where he got in a feud with Naoya Ogawa.

Mixed martial arts career[edit]

In January 2000 Fujita put his professional wrestling career on hiatus and began training for mixed martial arts competition. His trainer was his professional wrestling mentor and mixed martial arts legend, Antonio Inoki, as well as luta livre veteran Marco Ruas.

Kazuyuki entered the PRIDE organization as part of the 2000 Openweight Grand Prix. His first opponent was Fighting Network RINGS alumnus Hans Nijman, who Fujita beat fast by taking him down and submitting him with a wrestling neck crank. After this success, Inoki sent him abroad to compete in American promotion Extreme Shootout, where he KOed Dan Chase and then submitted Will Childs, before returning to PRIDE.

On May 1, Fujita competed at Pride Grand Prix 2000 Finals, where he would score the first big win of his career by defeating Mark Kerr, who at the time was considered to be one of the best heavyweights in MMA. Kerr dominated early in the match, taking the Japanese down and hitting ground and pound through his guard, followed by a series of knee strikes to the head, but Fujita shockingly endured all the punishment and waited his opportunity. It finally came when Kerr became visibly tired from attacking, moment in which Kazuyuki took him down, taking his back and launching his own series to knee strikes and hammerfists. Kerr turtled up while Fujita scored points over him by striking unceasingly, and at the end, the referee stopped the match in Fujita's favour.

Fujita's win over Kerr was considered to be a gigantic upset, and was the first loss in Kerr's career snapping a 13 fight unbeaten streak. Fujita's next fight was against former UFC Heavyweight Champion Mark Coleman in the semi finals of the Grand Prix, but the NJPW corner threw the towel started the match to avoid risks for Fujita's health. Despite Fujita was eliminated the tournament, he became a star with the Japanese crowds for his victory over Kerr and the toughness demonstrated in the fight, which gained him the nickname of "Ironhead". As Fujita himself noted, "I am not so great a puncher, not so great a kicker. I don't really have anything all that great, but in today's vale tudo, the strongest is the one that can take a beating."[4]

At Pride 10, Fujita next fought MMA superstar Ken Shamrock. Like in the Kerr fight, Fujita took another incredible beating yet was not knocked out, and Shamrock then began to experience heart attack symptoms and had his corner throw in the towel, resulting in another massive win for Fujita and his career. Color commentator Eddie Bravo proclaimed during Fujita's fight with Shamrock, "that guy can take a baseball bat to the side of the head!".

He followed up his titanic wins over Kerr and Shamrock with a win over dangerous striker Gilbert Yvel at Pride 12. Fujita scored takedowns and dominated positionally Yvel for most of the match, only occasionally trying armlocks, in order to secure a decision win. It was after this match that commentator Stephen Quadros coined the term "lay and pray" to describe the strategy.

In May 2001 at Pride 14, Fujita defeated fellow pro wrestler Yoshihiro Takayama by submission in his first PRIDE main event. Notably, Takayama was similarly able to take a great punishment, enduring knees to the head and punches, but Kazuyuki submitted him via triangle choke.

On August 19 at the K-1 Andy Hug 2001 GP Final, Fujita fought K-1 legend and future MMA legend Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic in Cro Cop's MMA debut. The fight was short and brutal, with Fujita performing a takedown which Cro Cop tried to avoid with a knee strike to the face. Though Fujita was unfazed, it opened a cut in his eye, which moved the referee to stop the match for a TKO loss for the Japanese. Fujita was baffled and he requested a rematch, which was conceded for the Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye event. This match would be longer and more intense, with Fujita repeatedly taking him down and the kickboxer successfully defending from the bottom. At the second half of the match, Cro Cop started sprawling his takedown and threw multiple unanswered knees to the head, although they characteristically failed at knocking Fujita out. The fight went to a decision, which was won by Mirko.

In 2003, after Fujita defeated fellow NJPW pro wrestler Manabu Nakanishi, he launched a challenge to PRIDE champion Fedor Emelianenko for a match in Pride 26. When it came, Kazuyuki shocked the world by stunning Emelianenko with a heavy counter right hand, but despite his best attempts to remain on the offensive Emelianenko recovered and defeated Fujita with a rear naked choke submission. At the end of the year, Fujita defeated American boxer: Imamu Mayfield by submission at Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2003.

In May 2004, Fujita made his debut for the K-1 MMA event ROMANEX, taking on then IWGP Heavyweight Champion Bob Sapp. Not fearing Sapp's size and fame, Fujita executed a takedown and went aggressively for Sapp on the ground, repeatedly landing punches and soccer kicks on his head. At this moment, Sapp ceased fighting and only covered himself to defend Fujita's assault. Finally, the referee stopped the match for a TKO victory. Sapp had to vacate his championship after this performance, while Kazuyuki adopted the nickname of "The Real Beast" to capitalize on Sapp's own "The Beast" moniker.

Egyptian Greco-Roman wrestler and Olympic gold medalist Karam Gaber was his next opponent, at the K-1 Premium 2004 Dynamite!! event. The younger and bigger Karam managed to push down and fend off Kazuyuki, but he landed a punch after one minute which knocked out Gaber.

On May 5, 2006 at PRIDE Total Elimination Absolute, Fujita returned to MMA by competing in PRIDE's 2006 Openweight Grand Prix making him the only fighter in PRIDE's history to have competed in both openweight grand prixs. In the first round, Fujita defeated James Thompson by knockout. Typically, Thompson dominated Fujita for most of the fight, until Fujita rallied with a flurry of punches that knocked out him at his weakest point.

At the quarterfinals, Fujita fought PRIDE Middleweight champion and feared muay thai striker Wanderlei Silva. The match was wild, with Silva landing soccer kicks and knees while Fujita relentlessly kept on and tried to handle him on the ground, including an armbar attempt he had to power out from. At the end of the fight, Wanderlei scored more punches and soccer kicks, winning the fight for referee stoppage despite not knocking out Fujita.

After defeating freestyle champion Eldar Kurtanidze by submission due to strikes, Fujita was pitted against Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter Jeff Monson. The Japanese wrestler fended off takedowns and choke attempts, but Monson was able to lock one of them to make Kazuyuki tap out. The fight was historic as it would be the final fight in PRIDE's history. Fujita would lose by submission.

After PRIDE was sold to Zuffa, Fujita joined the new promotion: World Victory Road. He debuted on March 5, 2008 at Sengoku 1 where he defeated Peter Graham by submission. Fujita next fight was against Travis Wiuff at Sengoku 3 where he lost by TKO.

On August 2, 2009, Fujita was defeated by Blagoi Ivanov at World Victory Road's ninth event, Sengoku 9.

On December 31, 2009 at Dynamite!! 2009, Fujita took on Alistair Overeem and was knocked out via knee to the head in the first round. This was the first time Fujita has been knocked unconscious.

After a 4-year hiatus from the sport, Fujita returned to face Satoshi Ishii on December 31, 2013 at Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2013 for the IGF Championship. Fujita lost the bout via unanimous decision, marking his fourth loss in a row.[5]

In wrestling[edit]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Mixed Martial Arts

Pro Wrestling

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 15–11 Jiri Prochazka KO (punch) Rizin FF 1 April 17, 2016 1 3:33 Nagoya, Japan
Loss 15–10 Satoshi Ishii Decision (unanimous) Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2013 December 31, 2013 3 5:00 Tokyo, Japan For the IGF Championship
Loss 15–9 Alistair Overeem KO (knee) Dynamite!! The Power of Courage 2009 December 31, 2009 1 1:15 Saitama, Japan
Loss 15–8 Blagoi Ivanov Decision (split) World Victory Road Presents: Sengoku 9 August 2, 2009 3 5:00 Saitama, Japan
Loss 15–7 Travis Wiuff TKO (punches) World Victory Road Presents: Sengoku 3 June 8, 2008 1 1:24 Saitama, Japan
Win 15–6 Peter Graham Submission (north-south choke) World Victory Road Presents: Sengoku First Battle March 5, 2008 1 1:23 Tokyo, Japan
Loss 14–6 Jeff Monson Submission (rear-naked choke) PRIDE 34 April 8, 2007 1 6:37 Saitama, Japan
Win 14–5 Eldar Kurtanidze Submission (punches) Pride FC - Shockwave 2006 December 31, 2006 1 2:09 Saitama, Japan
Loss 13–5 Wanderlei Silva TKO (punches) Pride FC - Critical Countdown Absolute July 1, 2006 1 9:21 Saitama, Japan PRIDE 2006 Heavyweight Grand Prix Quarterfinal
Win 13–4 James Thompson KO (punch) Pride FC - Total Elimination Absolute May 5, 2006 1 8:25 Osaka, Japan PRIDE 2006 Heavyweight Grand Prix 1st Round
Win 12–4 Karam Gaber KO (punch) K-1 - Premium 2004 Dynamite!! December 31, 2004 1 1:07 Osaka, Japan
Win 11–4 Bob Sapp Submission (soccer kicks) K-1 MMA ROMANEX May 22, 2004 1 2:15 Saitama, Japan
Win 10–4 Imamu Mayfield Technical Submission (arm-triangle choke) Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2003 December 31, 2003 2 2:15 Kobe, Japan
Loss 9–4 Fedor Emelianenko Submission (rear-naked choke) PRIDE 26 June 8, 2003 1 4:17 Yokohama, Japan
Win 9–3 Manabu Nakanishi TKO (punches) NJPW - Ultimate Crush May 2, 2003 3 1:09 Tokyo, Japan
Loss 8–3 Mirko Filipović Decision (unanimous) Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2002 December 31, 2002 3 5:00 Saitama, Japan
Win 8–2 Tadao Yasuda Submission (arm-triangle choke) UFO - Legend August 8, 2002 1 2:46 Tokyo, Japan
Loss 7–2 Mirko Filipović TKO (doctor stoppage) K-1 Andy Memorial 2001 Japan GP Final August 19, 2001 1 0:39 Saitama, Japan
Win 7–1 Yoshihiro Takayama Submission (arm-triangle choke) Pride 14 - Clash of the Titans May 27, 2001 2 3:10 Yokohama, Japan
Win 6–1 Gilbert Yvel Decision (unanimous) Pride 12 - Cold Fury December 9, 2000 2 10:00 Saitama, Japan
Win 5–1 Ken Shamrock TKO (corner stoppage) Pride 10 - Return of the Warriors August 27, 2000 1 6:46 Tokorozawa, Saitama, Japan
Loss 4–1 Mark Coleman TKO (corner stoppage) PRIDE Grand Prix 2000 Finals May 1, 2000 1 0:02 Tokyo, Japan PRIDE 2000 Openweight Grand Prix Semifinals
Win 4–0 Mark Kerr Decision (unanimous) PRIDE Grand Prix 2000 Finals May 1, 2000 1 15:00 Tokyo, Japan PRIDE 2000 Openweight Grand Prix Quarterfinals
Win 3–0 Will Childs Submission (rear-naked choke) Extreme Shootout - The Underground April 1, 2000 N/A N/A Killeen, Texas, United States Extreme Shootout - The Underground Tournament Finals
Win 2–0 Dan Chase KO (punch) Extreme Shootout - The Underground April 1, 2000 N/A N/A Killeen, Texas, United States Extreme Shootout - The Underground Tournament Semifinals
Win 1–0 Hans Nijman Submission (neck crank) PRIDE Grand Prix 2000 Opening Round January 30, 2000 1 2:48 Tokyo, Japan PRIDE 2000 Openweight Grand Prix 1st Round

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Profile at Puroresu Central". Puroresu Central. Retrieved 2013-12-06. 
  2. ^ "Results 2001". Strong Style Spirit. 
  3. ^ a b "Results 2002". Strong Style Spirit. 
  4. ^ "Pride and Glory". Sherdog. 
  5. ^ "SATOSHI ISHII, SHINYA AOKI CLAIM WINS AT INOKI BOM-BA-YE 2013". sherdog.com. December 31, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f "New Japan Toukon Festival 2004". Puroresu Central. Retrieved 2014-03-13. 
  7. ^ http://www.sherdog.com/news/articles/3/Sherdogcom-Preview-PRIDE-OpenWeight-Grand-Prix-4888
  8. ^ "Fight Matrix - MMA Awards". fightmatrix.com. 
  9. ^ 藤田、王者レバンナ破った/IGF. Nikkan Sports (in Japanese). 2012-07-14. Retrieved 2012-07-15. 
  10. ^ "2005 New Japan Awards". Strong Style Spirit. Retrieved 2011-04-28. 
  11. ^ "The Great Hisa's Puroresu Dojo : Puroresu Awards: 2000s". Puroresu Dojo. 
  12. ^ "The Great Hisa's Puroresu Dojo: Puroresu Awards: 1990s". Puroresu Dojo.