Yuki Nakai

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Yuki Nakai
Born (1970-08-18) August 18, 1970 (age 46)
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, BJJ
Fighting out of Tokyo, Japan
Team Paraestra
Teacher(s) Kanae Hirata
Satoru Sayama
Rank black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
black belt in Judo
Mixed martial arts record
Total 12
Wins 9
By submission 7
By decision 1
Unknown 1
Losses 2
By submission 1
By decision 1
Draws 1
Other information
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

Yuki Nakai (中井祐樹 Nakai Yūki?) is a retired Japanese 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 renowned shichitei kosen 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 knowledge of groundfighting granted him a distinguished career in Shooto, where he defeated Kazuhiro Kusayanagi for the Shooto Welterwight Championship.

Nakai fighting Gourdeau.

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 karate fighter. Nakai started the fight trying to take down Gordeau, but the Dutchman kept grabbing the ropes through the rounds to avoid it. The Shooto champion dropped down and scissored Gordeau's leg to work a leglock, but Gerard illegally eye-gouged several times 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 being gravely injured and having 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 hard ground and pound near the ropes while Nakai tried repeatedly for armbars from the bottom. Pittman continued his assault in the center of the ring, where Nakai fended him off with a kosen-inspired usage of both butterfly and spider guard. In the second round, Nakai dropped to the ground and resumed trying to submit Pittman from his guard, which he finally accomplished with an armbar for the win. Now with both of his eyes completely swollen from the punishment and almost blind, Yuki would face Brazilian jiu-jitsu master Rickson Gracie in 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 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. He learned it from Enson Inoue and Carlos Gracie Jr, becoming the first person from Japan to hold a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and over time was appointed 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 9-2-1 Rickson Gracie Submission (rear-naked choke) Vale Tudo Japan 1995 April 20, 1995 1 6:22 Tokyo, Japan
Win 9-1-1 Craig Pittman Submission (armbar) Vale Tudo Japan 1995 April 20, 1995 2 7:32 Tokyo, Japan
Win 8-1-1 Gerard Gordeau Submission (heel hook) Vale Tudo Japan 1995 April 20, 1995 4 2:41 Tokyo, Japan
Win 7-1-1 Hiraoki Matsutani Submission (heel hook) Shooto - Vale Tudo Access 3 January 21, 1995 1 0:20 Tokyo, Japan
Win 6-1-1 Kazuhiro Kusayanagi Decision (unanimous) Shooto - Vale Tudo Access 2 November 7, 1994 4 4:00 Tokyo, Japan Won the Shooto Welterweight Championship
Draw 6-1-1 Arthur Cathiard Draw Shooto - Vale Tudo Access September 7, 1994 3 8:00 Tokyo, Japan
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 N/A N/A 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

Submission grappling record[edit]

Result Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Notes
Draw Brazil Ricardo de la Riva Draw Ground Impact Revival 2013
Win Brazil Ricardo de la Riva Points Professional Jiu Ground Impact 05 2004
Loss Brazil Mario Reis Points Professional Jiu DESAFIO 02 2004
Loss Japan Mitsuyoshi Hayakawa Points Professional Jiu Ground Impact 04 2004
Win United States Albert Crane Points Professional Jiu Ground Impact 03 2004
Loss Brazil Alexandre Sokka Points Professional Jiu Ground Impact 02 2003
Loss Brazil Leonardo Vieira Submission (rear-naked choke) Professional Jiu GI um Ground Impact 2002
Loss Brazil Vitor Ribeiro Points Vale Tudo Japan '99 1999
Win Japan Tsutomu Fujimoto Points Daido-Juku THE WARS V 1999
Win Japan Masato Fujiwara Points Daido-Juku THE WARS IV 1997
Draw Japan Kazuya Abe Draw KP X WK: Koppo vs. Keisyukai 1996
Loss Brazil Jean-Jacques Machado Submission (triangle choke) Shooto: Vale Tudo Perception 1995

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]