|Born||March 6, 1970|
|Other names||TK, Kakutogi Kai no Kenja ("The Sage of the Combat Sports World")|
|Height||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Weight||225 lb (102 kg; 16 st 1 lb)|
|Rank||4th degree black belt in judo
1st degree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu
|Years active||1995 - 2006 (MMA) 2015- present|
|Mixed martial arts record|
|Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog|
Tsuyoshi "TK" Kohsaka (高阪 剛 Kōsaka Tsuyoshi?, born March 6, 1970) is a retired Japanese mixed martial artist and professional wrestler. He has competed in high profile mixed martial arts promotions, such as the UFC, RINGS, Pancrase, and DEEP. Kohsaka is known for his conditioning and grappling prowess as well as fighting many of the greatest heavyweight and light heavyweight fighters of all time. His guard work is famous for its efficiency and Frank Shamrock and Maurice Smith have both credited him with having vastly improved their work from that particular position.
Training in judo since highschool, Kohsaka competed extensively during his stay at the Senshu University, where he befriended future world judo champion Hidehiko Yoshida. After graduating, Kohsaka became a professional judoka under the sponsorship of Toray Industries, but had to retire after a knee injury. A year after, he joined professional wrestling promotion Fighting Network RINGS.
Kohsaka had his first mixed martial arts venture when, thanks to his strong judo background, he was sent to represent RINGS in the gi-clad MMA event Lumax Cup 1995. He won the tournament by knocking out Hiroyuki Yoshioka, submitting Susumu Yamasaki with a heel hook, and finally outclassing Brazilian jiu-jitsu champion Egan Inoue at the finals with a mix of judo throws and positional reversals.
After his return to RINGS, Kohsaka was put in opening shoot matches, defeating names like Maurice Smith and Willie Peeters. In 1997, however, he was thrown to a bigger challenge when he faced former Pancrase star Frank Shamrock. Tsuyoshi controlled the match, throwing and taking down Shamrock and threatening him with submissions, but couldn't lock any of them, while Shamrock defended from half guard and counterattacked with his own hold attempts. After a failed takedown, however, the judoka was caught in a guillotine choke by Frank and had to spend a rope escape. Even although Kohsaka later clamped a Kimura lock which appeared to carry potential to end the match, the time ended without Kohsaka completing the hold, thus giving the win to Shamrock for his scored point. The loss, however, was instrumental in Kohsaka's career, as it made him close friends with Frank Shamrock and Maurice Smith, who became his training partners in the team The Alliance.
In April 1999, after a series of matches in UFC, Kohsaka fought Dutch kickboxer Gilbert Yvel in RINGS. The match saw a worn Kohsaka getting ahead in points by multiple fouls from Yvel, but he failed at submitting him while Yvel landed several knockouts, until one of them caused the fight to be stopped. They rematched in August, when an improved Kohsaka immediately threw Yvel down, hit him with extensive body punches and submitted him with a toehold for a rope escape; however, the bout was interrupted for Kohsaka falling out the ring in another hip throw and getting injured. As TK had scored a point before the no contest, the match was counted as a victory for him. Finally, Yvel and Kohsaka had a rubber match during the King of Kings Tournament, but it was short and uneventful, as TK was stopped again by a bleeding cut.
In August 2000, TK faced the King of Kings semi-finalist Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira. Started the fight, Kohsaka sprawled a takedown and tried a hip throw, but Nogueira managed to pull him to the ground and mount him. The judoka escaped from under him, only to Nogueira to regain position, but this time Kohsaka reversed him into a leglock, then pressing into his guard. At the next round, Kohsaka sprawled again and continued pressing, blocking Nogueira's attempts to work submissions from the bottom and striking when possible; later, Nogueira mounted him again and threw punches, only for Kohsaka to perform again his signature escape into leglock and keep attacking his guard. A pair of sweeps later, Kohsaka controlled position until the end of the match, which was ruled a draw for their respective performances.
During the next King of Kings tournament, Kohsaka advanced over Mikhail Ilyukhin by knockout and Mikhail's teammate Fedor Emelianenko by doctor stoppage. The latter was again a controversial technical victory, as the cut was caused by a missed looping punch where Kohsaka's elbow struck Emelianenko's head, reopening a cut sustained in his previous fight against Ricardo Arona. Since the fight was in a tournament format, a winner and loser were required because draws and no-contests were not awarded, and as Emelianenko could not advance due to the injury, Kohsaka did.
At the finals, TK faced Randy Couture in a back and forth match. With the bout being fought in the clinch for most of its length, Kohsaka controlled the first round, throwing down the wrestling champion with a harai goshi and landing abundant ground and pound, but his activity stopped when he received an accidental headbutt. After the injury was checked, Couture took Kohsaka down at the second round, with the judoka using his "TK scissors" move to counter an unfavourable north/south position. The match ended with a trade of strikes in which Couture got the best part, being granted the split decision and eliminating the Japanese.
In 1998, Kohsaka signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship and debuted at the event UFC 18, facing Kimo Leopoldo. The much heavier Kimo controlled the first moments of the fight and tried a kneebar, but the Japanese shooter showed his field of expertise by reversing the hold and attempting his own leglocks, always keeping a strong defense. At one point, Leopoldo gained the mount, only for Kohsaka to reverse the position into a heel hook attempt. After minutes of fight, TK controlled the standing, landing precise punches and leg kicks before getting down to the mat and performing ground and pound on Kimo until the end of the bout. Kohsaka won by unanimous decision.
Later that year TK fought Pete Williams at UFC Brazil. Williams went aggressively against Kohsaka using his vaunted striking, but Kohsaka kept throwing him down with uchi mata and attempting armlocks, also using his defensive guard whenever Williams managed to get back his offensive. At the end, Tsuyoshi won again by unanimous decision, which gained him a spot in a tournament for the title which was vacated by Randy Couture.
At 1999's UFC 18, Kohsaka returned to UFC fighting the legendary Bas Rutten in the first round of the "Road to the Heavyweight Title", which was a four-man tournament that would crown the next UFC Heavyweight Champion. Kohsaka dominated the majority of the fight with his superiority in wrestling and ground and pound, but ultimately lost by TKO when Rutten recovered in overtime and knocked him out with knees and punches. The fight was the source of heated controversy because referee John McCarthy seemed to unfairly stand the fight up when Kohsaka was mounted on Rutten and actively landing clean effective punches.
In the same year, TK faced Tim Lajcik at UFC 21, where he won via TKO when Lajcik quit between rounds. Kohsaka again utilized a strategy of skilled defense and reversions to set up submissions attempts, eventually sweeping Lajcik against the cage wall and performing a lengthy ground and pound, which made Tim's corner throw the towel after the round.
Kohsaka also took part in the second UFC event in Japanese soil, UFC 23, where he was pitted against Ruas Vale Tudo exponent Pedro Rizzo. The two contenders spent a round cautiously, until Rizzo switched to aggressive leg kicks and Kohsaka tried to take him down in return. Through the match, Pedro blocked TK's efforts to get it to the ground and landed more punches and leg kicks, and after Kohsaka had absorbed a long punishment, Rizzo landed a right hand for the TKO.
Tsuyoshi's last fight in UFC was at UFC 37, fighting Ricco Rodriguez. The fight featured long, back and forth grappling action, with Rodriguez taking dominant position and Kohsaka reversing and blocking him, until Ricco finally secured a mount and threw punches to the face for the TKO victory.
After RINGS's demise, Kohsaka wandered between Pancrase and the MMA division of New Japan Pro Wrestling. He then landed in PRIDE Fighting Championships, in which his first fight would be a rematch against Fedor Emelianenko for the latter's technical defeat in RINGS, taking place in PRIDE Bushido 6. The fight was one-sided and brutal, with Fedor landing strikes through Kohsaka's guard while the Japanese tried unsuccessfully to counterattack with leglocks from the bottom. At the end, after taking punches during most of the round, a bloody Kohsaka's corner threw the towel between rounds.
Kohsaka returned in PRIDE 31 against legendary Brazilian grappler and Brazilian Top Team coach Mario Sperry. The bout was even shorter, as Kohsaka knocked him out with punches after a brief struggle. Knowing the end of his career was near, TK announced his intentions to retire should he lose any of his matches in 2006. The day of his fight with Sperry was also the same day of his son's birth.
At PRIDE Total Elimination Absolute, Kohsaka fought Mark Hunt in what would be his last fight. Due to the weight difference between both fighters, knees and kicks were not allowed on the ground. Effectively, TK struggled with the much heavier kickboxer, taking his back and performing an inverted triangle/keylock combination only for Hunt to force his way out via raw strength. Back to standing, Kohsaka traded strikes with Hunt and landed effective hits despite the difference in level, absorbing heavy punches and delivering in return combos against the ropes. At the second round, the Japanese again tried unsuccessfully to grapple with Hunt, and after long series of strikes the kickboxer knocked him out with a right punch, finally ending the match.
From 2003 to 2005, he worked sporadically in pro wrestling for New Japan Pro Wrestling, challenging Yoshihiro Takayama for the NWF Heavyweight Championship and feuding with Yuji Nagata. He also would defeat the 50 ib heavier Ricardo Morais in a MMA match for NJPW.
He also fought for Deep, facing Antônio Rogério Nogueira, Antonio Rodrigo's brother. Kohsaka scored takedowns and throws, but he found himself on the defensor role, which he successfully played by using his classic reversals. On the third round, he was outstruck and received punches on the ground, but he retaliated at the final time with a toehold attempt from inverted guard, and ended the bout taking down Nogueira. The bout went to decision, with Nogueira coming over.
Kohsala would go to Pancrase, defeating the similarly much heavier Ron Waterman for the Pancrase Super Heavyweight Championship. He returned to the company for a match against Mike Kyle, losing by doctor decision in a controversial fashion, as Kyle eye-gouged Kohsaka and actually damaged his cornea without being penalized.
Rizin Fighting Federation
Rizin Fighting Federation announced Kohsaka would debut for the promotion against James Thompson. The bout took place on December 29, 2015 and Kohsaka won the fight via TKO in the second round after controlling the fight with punches and knees.
As a fighter, Kohsaka was known for his conditioning, well rounded skillset and grappling ability. He would predominantly use his judo expertise on the ring, in the form of hip throws while standing and a heavy top control while on the ground, but he also showed his shoot wrestling influence through various types of leglocks. He was specially proficient in reversing position, distinguishing himself for his trademark "TK scissors" sweep, in which he would use his legs to dismount the opponent and perform leglock attempts. Along with his grappling, Kohsaka made usage of an intelligent striking to wear down his adversary, and he later gained significant punching power after training with Maurice Smith.
There is debate about what kind of technique is the "TK guard" Kohsaka was once known for. The move is, according to different sources, a half guard, a butterfly guard, or an entire system of guard game.
Kohsaka now owns and operates a dojo in Japan where he trains his A-Square team along with Hidehiko Yoshida and his stable. In 2012, Kohsaka received a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt from Yuki Nakai, being appointed consultant member for the Japanese BJJ Federation.
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
Championships and accomplishments
- Fighting Network RINGS
- 2000 Rising Stars Heavyweight Tournament Semifinalist
- Lumax Cup
- Tournament of J'95 Winner
- Pancrase Hybrid Wrestling
- Ultimate Fighting Championship
Mixed martial arts record
|Professional record breakdown|
|47 matches||27 wins||18 losses|
|Win||29–18–2||James Thompson||TKO (punches)||Rizin Fighting Federation 1: Day 1||December 29, 2015||2||1:58||Saitama, Japan|
|Loss||28–18–2||Mark Hunt||TKO (punches)||Pride FC - Total Elimination Absolute||May 5, 2006||2||4:15||Osaka, Japan||Pride 2006 Openweight Grand Prix opening round.|
|Win||28–17–2||Mario Sperry||TKO (punches)||Pride 31 - Dreamers||February 26, 2006||1||1:20||Saitama, Japan|
|Loss||27–17–2||Mike Kyle||Technical Decision (unanimous)||Pancrase: Spiral 8||October 2, 2005||3||1:17||Yokohama, Japan|
|Win||27–16–2||David Shvelidze||Submission (armbar)||Rings Russia: CIS vs. The World||August 20, 2005||1||N/A||Yekaterinburg, Russia|
|Loss||26–16–2||Fedor Emelianenko||TKO (doctor stoppage)||Pride: Bushido 6||April 3, 2005||1||10:00||Yokohama, Japan|
|Win||26–15–2||Ron Waterman||Decision (unanimous)||Pancrase: Brave 10||November 7, 2004||3||5:00||Urayasu, Japan||Won Pancrase Super Heavyweight Championship|
|Win||25–15–2||Ricardo Morais||Decision (unanimous)||NJPW: Ultimate Crush||October 13, 2003||3||5:00||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||24–15–2||Dolgorsürengiin Sumyaabazar||TKO (doctor stoppage)||NJPW: Ultimate Crush||May 2, 2003||1||2:56||Tokyo, Japan|
|Loss||23–15–2||Antônio Rogério Nogueira||Decision (unanimous)||Deep - 6th Impact||September 7, 2002||3||5:00||Tokyo, Japan|
|Loss||23–14–2||Ricco Rodriguez||TKO (punches)||UFC 37||May 10, 2002||2||3:25||Bossier City, Louisiana, United States|
|Loss||23–13–2||Bazigit Atajev||Decision (majority)||Rings: World Title Series 5||December 21, 2001||3||5:00||Yokohama, Japan|
|Win||23–12–2||Koba Tkeshelashvili||KO (knee)||Rings: 10th Anniversary||August 11, 2001||1||2:17||Tokyo, Japan|
|Loss||22–12–2||Renato Sobral||Decision (majority)||Rings: World Title Series 2||June 15, 2001||3||5:00||Yokohama, Japan|
|Loss||22–11–2||Randy Couture||Decision (unanimous)||Rings: King of Kings 2000 Final||February 24, 2001||2||5:00||Tokyo, Japan||King of Kings 2000 Tournament Quarterfinal|
|Win||22–10–2||Fedor Emelianenko||TKO (doctor stoppage)||Rings: King of Kings 2000 Block B||December 22, 2000||1||0:17||Osaka, Japan||King of Kings 2000 Tournament 2nd Round. Kohsaka cut Emelianenko with an illegal elbow, which led to doctor stoppage|
|Win||21–10–2||Mikhail Ilyukhin||KO (punches)||Rings: King of Kings 2000 Block B||December 22, 2000||2||01:53||Osaka, Japan||King of Kings 2000 Tournament 1st Round|
|Draw||20–10–2||Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira||Draw||Rings: Millennium Combine 3||August 23, 2000||2||5:00||Osaka, Japan|
|Win||20–10–1||Greg Wikan||Submission (toe hold)||Rings USA: Rising Stars Block A||July 15, 2000||1||02:53||Orem, Utah, United States||Rising Stars Heavyweight Tournament 2000 2nd Round. Later pulls out due to injury|
|Win||19–10–1||Travis Fulton||Decision (unanimous)||Rings USA: Rising Stars Block A||July 15, 2000||3||05:00||Orem, Utah, United States||Rising Stars Heavyweight Tournament 2000 1st Round|
|Loss||18–10–1||Gilbert Yvel||TKO (doctor stoppage)||Rings: King of Kings 1999 Block B||December 22, 1999||3||05:00||Osaka, Japan|
|Win||18–9–1||Chris Haseman||Decision (split)||Rings: King of Kings 1999 Block B||December 22, 1999||1||01:17||Osaka, Japan|
|Loss||17–9–1||Pedro Rizzo||TKO (punches)||UFC 23||November 19, 1999||3||01:12||Urayasu, Japan|
|Win||17–8–1||Gilbert Yvel||Technical Decision (lost points)||Rings: Rise 5th||August 19, 1999||1||08:17||Japan|
|Win||16–8–1||Tim Lajcik||TKO (corner stoppage)||UFC 21||July 16, 1999||2||05:00||Cedar Rapids, Iowa, United States|
|Loss||15–8–1||Yoshihisa Yamamoto||TKO (palm strikes)||Rings: Rise 3rd||May 22, 1999||3||00:44||Japan|
|Loss||15–7–1||Gilbert Yvel||TKO (doctor stoppage)||Rings: Rise 2nd||April 23, 1999||1||14:58||Japan|
|Loss||15–6–1||Bas Rutten||TKO (punches)||UFC 18||January 8, 1999||1||14:15||Kenner, Louisiana, United States||Road to the Heavyweight Title Tournament Semifinals|
|Win||15–5–1||Pete Williams||Decision||UFC Brazil||October 16, 1998||1||15:00||São Paulo, Brazil||Qualifies for the Road to the Heavyweight Title Tournament|
|Draw||14–5–1||Kiyoshi Tamura||Draw||Rings: Fourth Fighting Integration||June 27, 1998||1||30:00||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||14–5||Volk Han||Submission (injury)||Rings: Third Fighting Integration||May 29, 1998||1||10:10||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||13–5||Kimo Leopoldo||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 16||March 13, 1998||1||15:00||Kenner, Louisiana, United States|
|Win||12–5||Rob van Esdonk||Submission (heel hook)||Rings Holland: The King of Rings||February 8, 1998||2||0:57||Amsterdam, Netherlands|
|Loss||11–5||Mikhail Ilyukhin||Submission||Rings: Battle Dimensions Tournament 1997 Final||January 21, 1998||N/A||N/A|
|Win||11–4||Jerry Askoff||N/A||Rings: Battle Dimensions Tournament 1997 Opening Round||October 25, 1997||N/A||N/A||United States|
|Win||10–4||Borislav Jeliazkov||Decision (lost points)||Rings - Mega Battle Tournament 1997 Semifinal 1||October 25, 1997||1||N/A||Japan|
|Loss||9–4||Frank Shamrock||Decision (unanimous)||Rings - Extension Fighting 7||September 26, 1997||1||30:00||Japan|
|Loss||9–3||Kiyoshi Tamura||Submission (toe hold)||Rings - Extension Fighting 2||April 22, 1997||1||13:57||Japan|
|Win||9–2||Mikhail Ilyukhin||Submission||Rings - Budokan Hall 1997||January 22, 1997||N/A||N/A||Tokyo, Japan|
|Loss||8–2||Volk Han||Submission (armbar)||Rings - Battle Dimensions Tournament 1996 Final||January 1, 1997||1||13:52|
|Win||8–1||Dick Vrij||N/A||Rings - Battle Dimensions Tournament 1996 Opening Round||October 25, 1996||N/A||N/A|
|Loss||7–1||Volk Han||Submission (armbar)||Rings - Maelstrom 6||August 24, 1996||1||13:52||Japan|
|Win||7–0||Scott Sollivan||Submission (arm-triangle choke)||Various Fights||June 6, 1996||1||2:58||United States|
|Win||6–0||Willie Peeters||Submission (rear-naked choke)||Rings Holland - Kings of Martial Arts||February 18, 1996||N/A||N/A||Amsterdam, Netherlands|
|Win||5–0||Maurice Smith||Submission (heel hook)||Rings - Budokan Hall 1996||January 24, 1996||1||4:13||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||4–0||Egan Inoue||Decision (unanimous)||Lumax Cup: Tournament of J '95||October 13, 1995||1||3:40||Japan||Won Lumax Cup Tournament of J '95|
|Win||3–0||Susumu Yamasaki||Submission (heel hook)||Lumax Cup: Tournament of J '95||October 13, 1995||1||0:52||Japan||Tournament of J '95 Semifinals|
|Win||2–0||Hiroyuki Yoshioka||TKO (punches)||Lumax Cup: Tournament of J '95||October 13, 1995||3||3:00||Japan||Tournament of J '95 First Round|
|Win||1–0||Wataru Sakata||Submission||Rings - Budokan Hall 1995||January 25, 1995||N/A||N/A||Tokyo, Japan|
Submission grappling record
|Loss||Fabrício Werdum||Points||ADCC 2003 +99 kg||2003||1|
|Loss||Jean-Jacques Machado||Submission (armbar)||ADCC 2001 Absolute||2001||1||3:37|
|Loss||Rolles Gracie||Points||ADCC 2001 –99 kg||2001||1|
|Loss||Tom Erikson||Decision||The Contenders||1997||5||5:00|
- Nate Wilcox. "MMA History XX: Kazushi Sakuraba and Frank Shamrock Emerge at Ultimate Japan". Bloody Elbow.
- "Profile at Oocities". Oocities. Retrieved 2015-08-10.
- Matt McEwen (2007-08-13). "History of the UFC – UFC XVI: Battle in the Bayou". 411mania. Retrieved 2016-02-11.
- Scott Newman (2006-08-16). "MMA Review: #92: UFC 18: The Road to the Heavyweight Title". The Oratory. Retrieved 2016-02-11.
- Matt McEwen (2007-10-08). "History of the UFC 10.08.07: Ultimate Brazil". 411mania. Retrieved 2016-02-11.
- Scott Newman (2007-10-16). "UFC: Ultimate Brazil review". The Sports Oratory. Retrieved 2016-02-11.
- Bill Wannop (2009-09-21). "MMA Legacy 9.21.09: Bas Rutten". 411mania. Retrieved 2016-02-11.
- Matt McEwen (2007-10-16). "History of the UFC 10.16.07: UFC XVII – The Road to the Heavyweight Title". 411mania. Retrieved 2016-02-11.
- Matt McEwen (2007-11-05). "History of the UFC 11.05.07: UFC XXI – Return of the Champions". 411mania. Retrieved 2016-02-11.
- Matt McEwen (2007-11-17). "HIstory of the UFC 11.19.07: UFC XXIII – Ultimate Japan 2". 411mania. Retrieved 2016-02-11.
- Matt McEwen (2008-04-14). "History of the UFC 04.14.08: UFC XXXVII – High Impact". 411mania. Retrieved 2016-02-11.
- Scott Newman (2005-09-18). "MMA Review: #61: PRIDE Bushido Vol.6". The Oratory. Retrieved 2016-02-11.
- Scott Newman (2009-07-25). "Pride 31: Unbreakable review". The Sports Oratory. Retrieved 2016-02-11.
- Jeffrey Harris (2010-08-30). "The History of Pride FC: Pride Total Elimination Absolute". 411mania. Retrieved 2016-02-11.
- Scott Newman (2009-06-22). "Pride: Total Elimination Absolute review". The Sports Oratory. Retrieved 2016-02-11.
- Sherdog.com Preview: PRIDE 31 “Unbreakable” Tsuyoshi Kohsaka vs. Mario Sperry
- "Rizin FF - Rizin Fighting Federation 1". Sherdog. Retrieved 2015-11-25.
- "Fedor Emelianenko still without an opponent, Tsuyoshi Kosaka to face James Thompson at Rizin". MMA Fighting. Retrieved 2015-11-25.
- "MMA profile at Oocities". Oocities. Retrieved 2016-01-17.
- "TK Scissors Escape from Mounted". YouTube. Retrieved 2016-01-17.
- Snowden, Jonathan. MMA Encyclopedia, ECW Press, 2010
- Stephan Kesting (2012-04-13). "A Glossary of Guards Part 2: The Open Guard". Grapplearts.com. Retrieved 2016-02-11.
- Raphael Santana (2015-11-05). "Pioneiros do MMA – Frank Shamrock". DovaletudoaoMMA.com. Retrieved 2016-02-11.
- "PROFILE: Mark Coleman's fight history leading up to Stephan Bonnar UFC 100 fight airing on Spike TV tonight". 2009-08-15. Retrieved 2016-02-11.
- "The Karate of UFC Featherweight Katsunori Kikuno". Fightland.
- "Gong Kakutogi - Tsuyoshi Kohsaka awarded black belt, "TK Jiu Jitsu" starts". JBJJF (in Japanese).
- "Pro Wrestling History". prowrestlinghistory.com.
- "Rings: Battle Dimensions Tournament 1997 Opening Round Official Results". mixedmartialarts.com. October 25, 1997.
- "Various Fights Official Results". mixedmartialarts.com. June 6, 1996.