Tsuyoshi Kohsaka

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Tsuyoshi Kosaka
Born (1970-03-06) March 6, 1970 (age 45)
Other names TK, Kakutogi Kai no Kenja ("The Combat Sports World Sage")
Nationality Japanese
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight 225 lb (102 kg; 16 st 1 lb)
Division Heavyweight
Team Alliance Square
Teacher(s) Akira Maeda
Rank 4th Degree Black Belt in Judo
Years active 1995 - 2006 (MMA) 2015- present
Mixed martial arts record
Total 48
Wins 28
By knockout 7
By submission 7
By decision 9
Unknown 5
Losses 18
By knockout 8
By submission 2
By decision 6
Unknown 2
Draws 2
Other information
Website Official blog
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog
last updated on: March 19, 2011 (2011-03-19)

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 "TK Guard" 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.[1]

Mixed martial arts career[edit]

Tsuyoshi Kohsaka was an early MMA pioneer, who started his career in the RINGS Organization frequently having to fight each and every month. He won the prestigious Lumax Cup tournament, beating out Egan Inoue at the finals. During his career at Rings, Kohsaka defeated former UFC Heavyweight Champion Maurice Smith, Gilbert Yvel, Chris Haseman, and Fedor Emelianenko. The victory over Emelianenko was controversial. Footage shows that the cut was caused by a missed looping punch where Kohsaka's elbow struck Emelianenko's head. Emelianenko said that this elbow reopened 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. Since Emelianenko could not advance due to the injury, Kohsaka did. Emelianenko later avenged this controversial loss in a lopsided fashion in their rematch at Pride Bushido 6.


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 reversing the hold and attempting his own leglocks, always keeping a strong defense. At a point, Leopoldo gained the mount, only for Kohsaka to use his "TK scissors" and reverse the position into a heel hook attempt. After minutes of fighting, TK controlled the standing, landing precise punches and leg kicks before getting down to the mat and perform 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 taking him down with judo throws 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.[2] Kohsaka dominated the majority of the fight with his superiority at wrestling and ground and pound game plan, but ultimately lost by TKO when Rutten recovered in overtime and knocked him out with knees and punches. However, the fight was the source of heated controversy because referee John McCarthy seemed to unfairly stand the fight back to the feet even though at some moments 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 end of 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. At the end, after Kohsaka had absorbed a long punishment, Rizzo landed a right hand for the TKO, being declared winner.

Tsuyoshi's last fight in UFC was at UFC 37, fighting Ricco Rodriguez. The fight featured a 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, where he defeated Ron Waterman and Ricardo Morais, both of whom weighed in for their contests against him in excess of 300 pounds. 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 leglocks. 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. TK struggled with the much heavier kickboxer, taking his back and performing an inverted triangle keylock only to 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 combos against the ropes. At the second round, the Japanese shooter 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.[3]


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.

Rizin Fighting Federation announced Kohsaka will compete on December 29 2015 vs James Thompson.[4][5]

Personal life[edit]

Kohsaka now owns and operates a dojo in Japan where he trains his A-Square team along with Hidehiko Yoshida and his stable.[6]

In wrestling[edit]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

  • Lumax Cup
    • Tournament of J'95 Winner

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
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 Sumiyabazar Dolgorsuren 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 00:17 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 (cut) 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 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 N/A 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[9] 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 00:00 Japan
Loss 9–4 Frank Shamrock Decision 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 N/A 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[10] 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 N/A Rings - Budokan Hall 1995 January 25, 1995 N/A N/A Tokyo, Japan

Submission grappling record[edit]

Result Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Notes
Loss Brazil Fabrício Werdum Points ADCC 2003 +99 kg 2003
Loss Brazil Jean-Jacques Machado Submission (armbar) ADCC 2001 Absolute 2001
Loss Brazil Rolles Gracie Points ADCC 2001 -99 kg 2001
Loss United States Tom Erikson Decision The Contenders 1997 5 5:00


  1. ^ Nate Wilcox. "MMA History XX: Kazushi Sakuraba and Frank Shamrock Emerge at Ultimate Japan". Bloody Elbow. 
  2. ^ "411MANIA - MMA Legacy 9.21.09: Bas Rutten". MMA Legacy 9.21.09: Bas Rutten. 
  3. ^ "FansOfK1.com - Mark Hunt". fansofk1.com. 
  4. ^ "Rizin FF - Rizin Fighting Federation 1". Sherdog. Retrieved 2015-11-25. 
  5. ^ "Fedor Emelianenko still without an opponent, Tsuyoshi Kosaka to face James Thompson at Rizin". MMA Fighting. Retrieved 2015-11-25. 
  6. ^ "The Karate of UFC Featherweight Katsunori Kikuno". Fightland. 
  7. ^ a b c d e "Profile at Oocities". Oocities. Retrieved 2015-08-10. 
  8. ^ "Pro Wrestling History". prowrestlinghistory.com. 
  9. ^ "Rings: Battle Dimensions Tournament 1997 Opening Round Official Results". mixedmartialarts.com. October 25, 1997. 
  10. ^ "Various Fights Official Results". mixedmartialarts.com. June 6, 1996. 

External links[edit]