Satoshi Ishii

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Satoshi Ishii
Ishii Satoshi 2008.jpg
Born (1986-12-19) December 19, 1986 (age 34)
Ibaraki, Osaka, Japan
ResidenceZagreb, Croatia
Japanese (1986–2019)
Height5 ft 11 in (180 cm)
Weight240 lb (109 kg; 17 st 2 lb)
DivisionLight Heavyweight
Reach74 in (188 cm)
StyleJudo, Brazilian jiu-jitsu
Fighting out ofZagreb, Croatia
TeamCro Cop Squad Gym
Kings MMA
Reign Training Center
Black House
i Dash (2009–2010)
Rank6th dan black belt in Judo
Black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu
Years active2004–2009 (Judo)
2009–present (MMA)
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout2
By submission12
By decision10
By knockout6
By decision6
Other information
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog
Satoshi Ishii
Medal record
Men's judo
Representing  Japan
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 2008 Beijing +100 kg
World Championships Teams
Gold medal – first place 2007 Beijing +100 kg
Asian Games
Silver medal – second place 2006 Doha -100 kg
Gold medal – first place 2007 Bangkok Open
World U20 Championship
Gold medal – first place 2004 Budapest -100 kg
Asian U20 Championship
Gold medal – first place 2004 Doha -100 kg

Satoshi Ishii (石井 慧, Ishii Satoshi, born December 19, 1986) is a Japanese-Croatian judoka, mixed martial artist and submission grappler.

Ishii won the gold medal in Olympic Judo at the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics, a silver medal at the 2006 Asian Games and two All-Japan Judo Championships representing Japan. Ishii made his professional MMA debut at Dynamite!! 2009 losing to fellow Judoka gold medalist Hidehiko Yoshida by unanimous decision, but currently holds a record of 24-12-1.[1] Ishii is currently under contract with Professional Fighters League.[2] A professional mixed martial artist since 2009, Ishii has also competed for Rizin Fighting Federation and Bellator, and is the current HEAT Heavyweight Champion and SBC Heavyweight Champion.

Judo career[edit]

Ishii vs. Keiji Suzuki in 2008.

Ishii started Judo under the guidance of his father when he was in fifth grade of elementary school. He attended Kokushikan High School and then Kokushikan University in the Department of Physical Education.[3]

Ishii won a gold medal at the Junior World Championships on 16 October 2004 in Budapest, Hungary. On 2 December 2006 he won a silver medal at the −100 kg category of the 2006 Asian Games. On April 29, 2006 and 2008, he won the All-Japan Judo Championships in Tokyo, Japan. With him the Japanese team won the World Judo team competition on 17 November 2007 in Beijing, China, this time in the +100 kg division.

On August 15, 2008 he won a gold medal at the +100 kg category of the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics.

On 30 April 2011 Ishii returned to Judo to compete in the United States Championship in the open division; he won all the matches, securing the gold medal.

Mixed martial arts career[edit]

After winning the gold medal, Ishii expressed his wishes to apply his talents in the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) to the dismay of the Japanese Judo Federation.[4] Ishii originally confirmed that he signed a contract with Japanese MMA promotion Fighting and Entertainment Group (FEG) and was rumored to debut in early 2009 in their fight series, DREAM.[5]

Japanese newspaper Sports Nippon then reported that Ishii would make his ring debut on December 31, 2009 at the annual K-1 Premium Dynamite!! event at the Saitama Super Arena. However, Ishii announced that he rejected FEG's offer, and was planning to pursue his MMA career in the US' Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). He headed to Florida where he trained with one of MMA's top camps American Top Team.[6]

On June 1, 2009, Ishii announced he would join Japanese MMA organization World Victory Road.[7] He officially signed with the organization at a public signing event on June 4, 2009.[8] On September 14, 2009, it was announced that Ishii would make his MMA debut against fellow Olympian judo gold medalist Hidehiko Yoshida.[9] Although the fight was originally to take place at World Victory Road's New Year show on December 31, when that event was cancelled, the fight was moved to DREAM's Dynamite!! 2009 card on New Year's Eve as a co-promoted show.[10] Ishii, who was a large favorite in the fight, was dominated in the first round by the more-experienced Yoshida, taking many strikes including a right overhand that staggered the newcomer, along with a series of knees and uppercuts from the clinch. Ishii, however, came back with a more competitive second round, but took a point deduction after illegally kneeing Yoshida in the groin. Ishii continued to find his range in the third round with punches, but ultimately lost via unanimous decision.

For his second fight, Ishii faced New Zealand heavyweight kickboxing champion Tafa "Thumper" Misipati on May 15, 2010 in Auckland, New Zealand. The fight was the main event at the ETK production X-plosion: New Zealand vs. Japan. Ishii won via submission (armbar) in the first round.

In June 2010, Ishii caused controversy during an MMA exhibition match on the undercard of X-1 World Events: Nations Collide in Hawaii. After knocking down his opponent Myles Tynanes at the end of the first-round, Ishii failed to stop punching his downed foe despite the referee's attempts to halt the action. He was subsequently disqualified for his actions.[11]

On September 25, 2010, Ishii fought Ikuhisa Minowa, a shoot wrestler known for facing much larger opponents, at Dream.16 and won via unanimous decision.[12][13]

Ishii's next MMA fight was supposed to be against Antz Nansen at the K-1 World MAX 2010.[14] However, his opponent was changed to Katsuyori Shibata at the last minute. Ishii won via Kimura in the first round.

Ishii continued to train at Black House in Brazil with notable fighters such as Lyoto Machida and Anderson Silva. Prior to Silva's fight with Chael Sonnen Ishii hurt Silva's ribs. Since then he has trained at Mark Muñoz's gym Reign MMA, along with Mayhem Miller, Fabrício Werdum and other notable fighters.

Ishii then fought French kickboxing star Jérôme Le Banner in a mixed martial arts bout at the Dynamite!! 2010 New Year's Eve event.[15] He won the fight via unanimous decision.

Ishii was scheduled to make his North America debut for Strikeforce at Strikeforce Challengers 15 against Scott Lighty, but a visa issue stemming from the recent earthquake and tsunami left him unable to leave Japan. Lorenz Larkin took his place in the fight.[16]

In April 2011, it was reported that Ishii would retire from MMA and return to judo. Surprisingly, he said that he plans to earn American citizenship and represent the US at the 2016 Summer Olympics.[17] However, he apparently decided against retiring from MMA as he went on to face former WEC Middleweight Champion Paulo Filho at Amazon Forest Combat 1 on September 14, 2011 in his light heavyweight debut. The fight ended in a controversial draw, with journalists as well as the crowd agreeing that Ishii had won all three rounds.[18]

Satoshi Ishii next competed at Fight For Japan: Genki Desu Ka Omisoko 2011, where he met MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko.[19] He lost the fight via KO in the first round.

After taking a year off from fighting to train following the Emelianenko loss, Ishii signed an exclusive multi fight deal with IGF in Japan. Here he has secured 6 victories in less than a year against former UFC Heavyweight Champion Tim Sylvia, UFC veterans Sean McCorkle, Kerry Schall, Pedro Rizzo and most recently against Jeff Monson.

Ishii then faced Kazuyuki Fujita on December 31, 2013, for the IGF Championship. He won via unanimous decision, became the first IGF Champion.[20]

Ishii defeated former UFC fighter Phil De Fries in a non-title bout via unanimous decision at IGF 1 on April 5, 2014 in a full pride rules match as the headline bout on the card.[21]

On August 23 at IGF 2, Despite being a heavy favorite due to his years and judo experience Ishii was defeated by UFC, Pride and K-1 veteran Mirko Cro Cop via doctor stoppage, losing the IGF Championship in the process.[22][23]

Ishii was expected to face PRIDE and Strikeforce veteran Sergei Kharitonov at M-1 Challenge 53: Battle in the Celestial Empire on November 11, 2014.[24] However, Ishii withdrew from the fight due to injury.[25]

Ishii faced Mirko Cro Cop in a rematch at December 31, 2014 for the IGF Championship.[26] Early reports had the rematch cancelled due to a rib injury sustained by Ishii.[27] However, in December 2014, it was reported that Ishii would be able to heal up in time to fight Cro Cop, and the rematch was official once again.[28] Ishii lost the fight via TKO at the end of the second round.

In his debut for the Rizin promotion, Ishii faced Jiří Procházka on December 29, 2015 at Rizin Fighting Federation World (8-men) Tournament.[29] He lost the fight via knockout early in the first round. However there was some speculation about a possible fight fix, as a head kick thrown by Procházka appeared to be blocked by Ishii, but Ishii collapsed anyway and was finished off shortly after.

Ishii made his North American MMA debut against Quinton Jackson on June 24, 2016 at Bellator 157.[30] He lost the fight via split decision.

Ishii challenged Cally Gibrainn de Oliveira for the HEAT Heavyweight Championship at HEAT 44 on March 2, 2019. He claimed the title via second-round submission.[31]

Professional Fighters League[edit]

On January 1, 2019, Ishii revealed that he had signed a contract with Professional Fighters League, and he took part in the second heavyweight regular season.[2]

Return to Rizin[edit]

Ishii faced Jake Heun at Rizin 20 on December 31, 2019.[32] He lost the fight via first-round knockout.

As his first HEAT title defense, Ishii faced Cleber Souza at HEAT 46 on January 19, 2020. He retained the title via first-round submission.[33]


Ishii next faced Stuart Austin for the inaugural EMC Heavyweight Championship at EMC 5 on September 5, 2020.[34] Ishii lost a controversial unanimous decision, to which his team decided to appeal.[35]

Ishii faced Pietro Cappelli at EMC 7. He won the fight by a first-round submission.[36]

Personal life[edit]

Ishii was married for 9 months to Mika, a university student, divorcing in January 2011.[37] In 2013, he married singer Asuka Hayashi. They divorced in 2016. They have 1 son.

In 2019, Ishii obtained Croatian citizenship and passport and had to give up Japanese citizenship and passport due to Japan's policy against dual citizenship.[38]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Professional mixed martial arts

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Professional record breakdown
37 matches 24 wins 12 losses
By knockout 2 6
By submission 12 0
By decision 10 6
Draws 1
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 24–12–1 Pietro Cappelli Submission (north-south choke) EMC 7 July 3, 2021 1 2:41 Ratingen, Germany
Loss 23–12–1 Stuart Austin Decision (unanimous) EMC 5 September 5, 2020 3 5:00 Dusseldorf, Germany For vacant EMC Heavyweight Championship.
Win 23–11–1 Cleber Souza Submission (armlock) HEAT 46 January 19, 2020 1 3:24 Tokyo, Japan Defended the HEAT Heavyweight Championship.
Loss 22–11–1 Jake Heun TKO (punches) Rizin 20 December 31, 2019 1 1:18 Saitama, Japan
Loss 22–10–1 Denis Goltsov Decision (majority) PFL 9 October 31, 2019 2 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States 2019 PFL Heavyweight Quarterfinal bout.
Loss 22–9–1 Jared Rosholt Decision (unanimous) PFL 6 August 8, 2019 3 5:00 Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States
Win 22–8–1 Zeke Tuinei Wily Decision (split) PFL 3 June 6, 2019 3 5:00 New York, United States
Win 21–8–1 Fernando Rodrigues Jr. Decision (split) KSW 47: The X-Warriors March 23, 2019 3 5:00 Łódź, Poland
Win 20–8–1 Cally Gibrainn de Oliveira Submission (armlock) HEAT 44 March 2, 2019 2 3:54 Nagoya, Japan Won the HEAT Heavyweight Championship.
Win 19–8–1 Rodrigo Carlos TKO (punches) Serbian Battle Championship 20 February 16, 2019 1 1:42 Sombor, Serbia Defended the SBC Heavyweight Championship.
Win 18–8–1 Tony Lopez Submission (leg scissor choke) Serbian Battle Championship 19 December 1, 2018 1 4:42 Novi Sad, Serbia Won the vacant SBC Heavyweight Championship.
Win 17–8–1 Rokas Stambrauskas Submission (leg scissor choke) German MMMA Championship 17 October 13, 2018 1 4:43 Düsseldorf, Germany
Win 16–8–1 Björn Schmiedeberg Submission (kimura) Final Fight Championship 30 October 21, 2017 1 2:36 Linz, Austria
Loss 15–8–1 Ivan Shtyrkov TKO (punches) RCC Boxing Promotions: Russia vs Japan July 9, 2017 2 3:43 Yekaterinburg, Russia
Win 15–7–1 Heath Herring Decision (unanimous) Rizin 2017 in Yokohama: Sakura April 16, 2017 2 5:00 Yokohama, Japan
Loss 14–7–1 Muhammed Lawal Decision (unanimous) Bellator 169 December 16, 2016 3 5:00 Dublin, Ireland
Loss 14–6–1 Quinton Jackson Decision (split) Bellator 157: Dynamite 2 June 24, 2016 3 5:00 St. Louis, Missouri, United States Catchweight (225 lbs) bout.
Loss 14–5–1 Jiří Procházka KO (head kick and knees) Rizin World Grand Prix 2015: Part 1 - Saraba December 29, 2015 1 1:36 Saitama, Japan 2015 Rizin Heavyweight Tournament Quarterfinals.
Win 14–4–1 Will Penn Submission (rear-naked choke) Inoki Genome Fight 4 August 29, 2015 1 3:07 Tokyo, Japan
Win 13–4–1 Nick Rossborough Submission (kimura) Inoki Genome Fight 3 April 11, 2015 1 4:22 Tokyo, Japan
Loss 12–4–1 Mirko Cro Cop TKO (head kick and punches) Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2014 December 31, 2014 2 5:00 Tokyo, Japan For the IGF Championship.
Loss 12–3–1 Mirko Cro Cop TKO (doctor stoppage) Inoki Genome Fight 2 August 23, 2014 2 2:37 Tokyo, Japan Lost the IGF Championship.
Win 12–2–1 Philip De Fries Decision (unanimous) Inoki Genome Fight 1 April 5, 2014 2 5:00 Tokyo, Japan Non-title bout.
Win 11–2–1 Kazuyuki Fujita Decision (unanimous) Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2013 December 31, 2013 3 5:00 Tokyo, Japan Won the IGF Championship.
Win 10–2–1 Jeff Monson Decision (majority) M-1 Challenge 42 October 20, 2013 3 5:00 St. Petersburg, Russia
Win 9–2–1 Clayton Jones TKO (punches) IGF: GENOME 27 July 20, 2013 1 0:35 Osaka, Japan
Win 8–2–1 Pedro Rizzo Decision (unanimous) IGF: GENOME 26 May 26, 2013 3 5:00 Tokyo, Japan
Win 7–2–1 Kerry Schall Submission (americana) IGF: GENOME 25 March 20, 2013 1 2:43 Fukuoka, Japan
Win 6–2–1 Sean McCorkle Submission (kimura) IGF: GENOME 24 February 23, 2013 1 2:41 Tokyo, Japan
Win 5–2–1 Tim Sylvia Decision (unanimous) Inoki-Bom-Ba-Ye 2012 December 31, 2012 3 5:00 Tokyo, Japan
Loss 4–2–1 Fedor Emelianenko KO (punches) Fight For Japan: Genki Desu Ka Omisoka 2011 December 31, 2011 1 2:29 Saitama, Japan Return to heavyweight.
Draw 4–1–1 Paulo Filho Draw Amazon Forest Combat 1 September 14, 2011 3 5:00 Manaus, Brazil Light heavyweight debut.
Win 4–1 Jérôme Le Banner Decision (unanimous) Dynamite!! 2010 December 31, 2010 3 5:00 Saitama, Japan
Win 3–1 Katsuyori Shibata Submission (kimura) K-1 World MAX 2010 World Championship Tournament Final November 8, 2010 1 3:30 Tokyo, Japan
Win 2–1 Ikuhisa Minowa Decision (unanimous) Dream 16 September 25, 2010 2 5:00 Nagoya, Japan
Win 1–1 Tafa Misipati Submission (armbar) X-plosion: New Zealand vs. Japan May 15, 2010 1 2:42 Auckland, New Zealand
Loss 0–1 Hidehiko Yoshida Decision (unanimous) Dynamite!! The Power of Courage 2009 December 31, 2009 3 5:00 Saitama, Japan

Submission grappling record[edit]

5 Matches, 1 Win, 1 Losses, 3 Draws
Result Record Opponent Method Event Date Division Location
Loss 1–1–3 United Kingdom Daniel Strauss Points Polaris 8 December 9, 2018 Superfight United Kingdom Cardiff
Win 1–0–3 United States Frank Mir DQ Quintet 3 October 5, 2018 Superfight United States Las Vegas, NV
Draw 0–0–3 United States Geo Martinez Draw Quintet 2 July 15, 2018 Absolute Japan Tokyo
Draw 0–0–2 Brazil Marcos de Souza Draw Quintet April 11, 2018 Absolute Japan Tokyo
Draw 0–0–1 Belarus Vladimir Matyushenko Draw Metamoris 7 July 17, 2016 Superfight United States Los Angeles, CA


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  28. ^ "Satoshi Ishii vs Cro Cop rematch at IGF's New Years Eve show". 2014-12-01.
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  32. ^ Guilherme Cruz (December 4, 2019). "Eight fights added to Bellator Japan and RIZIN 20, including Kai Asakura vs. Manel Kape for vacant RIZIN bantamweight title".
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