Sanae Kikuta

Sanae Kikuta (Japanese: 菊田 早苗, Kikuta Sanae, born September 10, 1971 in Nerima, Tokyo) is a Japanese mixed martial artist currently competing in the Welterweight division. A professional competitor since 1996, he has competed for the UFC, PRIDE Fighting Championships, Pancrase, DREAM, World Victory Road, DEEP, Shooto, and Vale Tudo Japan. He is the former Pancrase Light Heavyweight Champion (2001–2003) and the winner of the ADCC 88 kg class in 2001.

Sanae Kikuta
Born (1971-09-10) September 10, 1971 (age 50)
Nerima, Tokyo, Japan
Height5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight178.4 lb (80.9 kg; 12.74 st)
Light Heavyweight
StyleJudo, Karate, Kickboxing, Jiu-Jitsu, Shooto
Fighting out ofTokyo, Japan
Teacher(s)Satoru Sayama
Toshihiko Koga
Rank  3rd Dan Black Belt in Judo
Years active1996-present
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout4
By submission17
By decision10
By knockout4
By submission2
By decision3
No contests1
Other information
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog
Sanae Kikuta
Medal record
Submission Wrestling
ADCC World Championship
Gold medal – first place 2001 -88kg

Early lifeEdit

Kikuta started training in Judo in his childhood, winning the Kantō Middleweight class when he was in 3rd grade. He became a student at the Super Tiger Gym when he was in the 6th grade, learning Shooto under Satoru Sayama, but he left on the feeling that he wasn't being given enough attention in the combative aspect.[1] Kikuta later joined the Judo team again at high school, where he won the 86 kg class at the National Athletic Highschool Meeting. He also learned under Toshihiko Koga at the Nippon Sport Science University.

During his university tenure, Kikuta also tried Professional Wrestling, failing to enter New Japan Pro-Wrestling, but being accepted in Union of Wrestling Forces International and training with them for a time before leaving.[1] After considering finding a job as a Judo teacher, Kikuta applied again to the entrance exam for NJPW, but he failed for a second time, this time due to showing dehydration symptoms during a sparring with fellow examinee Kenichi Yamamoto. Kikuta left college and went to train Kickboxing under Stan Longinidis in Australia. Upon his return to Japan, Kikuta started training at Seidokaikan and won the All Japan amateur Shootboxing heavyweight championship. However, after watching Royce Gracie win the first Ultimate Fighting Championship events, he became interested in Mixed Martial Arts.[1]

Mixed martial arts careerEdit

Kikuta had his MMA debut for the first tournament hosted in 1996 by Lumax Cup, which featured the use of keikogi. Kikuta won after beating Egan Inoue and Masanori Suda. He then went to compete in the Vale Tudo Japan event, but was defeated by Mushtaq Abdullah by forearm choke. After returning to Lumax Cup, he won the 1997 tournament, too, defeating Suda again.

PRIDE Fighting ChampionshipsEdit

Kikuta made his worldwide MMA debut for the PRIDE promotion at its second event, where he faced Brazilian jiu-jitsu expert Renzo Gracie in a special rules match. The fight turned out to be a slow, methodical bout which lasted six fifteen minutes rounds, whose end saw Renzo submitting Kikuta via guillotine choke at the sixth one.

Kikuta returned to PRIDE to face Takada Dojo understudy Daijiro Matsui. Again, the fight was a technical battle, ending with a draw after none of the fighters could finish the other.

At PRIDE 20, Kikuta fought Alexander Otsuka. This time the fight was a controversial one, with Otsuka throwing several knees to the groin which weren't penalized. Despite so, Sanae controlled the match with dominant positions and soccer kicks, and won by unanimous decision.

At UFO Legend, Kikuta fought PRIDE competitor Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. The two grappling specialists exchanged assaults on the ground, with the Brazilian taking down Kikuta and attacking his half guard before the Japanese capitalized on a failed calf slicer to switch positions. Kikuta pressed from the top, but Nogueira regained full guard and scrambled to switch positions again, where the Japanese defended again from half guard. At the second round, Kikuta looked to take the match to the ground again, but it took a sudden twist when Nogueira landed a surprising right hook, knocking Sanae out completely. Nogueira was declared the winner.

Sanae fought again for PRIDE in the event Shockwave 2005, taking on Makoto Takimoto, judo gold medalist and apprentice to Hidehiko Yoshida. Kikuta opened the fight pulling guard, after which the two judoka traded positions and submission attempts with Sanae coming over in most of them. Having maintained the advantage for all of the three rounds both standing and on the ground, Kikuta was given the unanimous decision win.


After a single match for Shooto, Kikuta joined the Pancrase fighting organization in April 1994. He scored big victories over veterans Minoru Suzuki and Ryushi Yanagisawa, and shortly after he founded the Grabaka team along with Genki Sudo, Eiji Ishikawa and Hiroo Matsunaga. Kikuta also participated in the ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship in April 2001 and won its 88 kg class. In September 2001 he won the title of Pancrase Light Heavyweight Champion.

He currently runs the Grabaka gym in Nakano, Tokyo, which trains fighters such as Kazunori Yokota, Akihiro Gono, and formerly Genki Sudo, and Kazuo Misaki.[2]

Ultimate Fighting ChampionshipEdit

In his sole apparition for Ultimate Fighting Championship, Kikuta took part in the event Ultimate Japan III in April 2000. He defeated Eugene Jackson in dominant fashion, taking him down and locking an armbar for the submission.[3]

World Victory RoadEdit

On January 4, 2009 at World Victory Road Presents: Sengoku Rebellion 2009, Kikuta faced fellow judoka Hidehiko Yoshida. The bout started characteristically slow, with Kikuta taking Yoshida down and tentatively exchanging strikes with him. At the second round, Kikuta opted for pulling guard and pursuing an ankle lock, but Yoshida remained on top and landed several punches through his guard. Afterwards, however, Kikuta reversed and got the mount, unloading ground and pound until the end of the round. The third round saw Yoshida stunning Kikuta with a punch and scoring a judo throw, but Sanae took his back and kept striking on him for the rest of the match, eventually winning the decision.

Championships and accomplishmentsEdit


  • Abu Dhabi Combat Club
    • ADCC 2001 88 kg class winner (April 2001)


  • Kantō region Judo Middleweight winner
  • The National Athletic High School Meeting, Judo 86 kg class Winner

Mixed martial artsEdit


  • Japan Shootboxing Association
    • All Japan Amateur Shoot boxing Championship Heavyweight Winner

Mixed martial arts recordEdit

Professional record breakdown
44 matches 31 wins 9 losses
By knockout 4 4
By submission 17 2
By decision 10 3
Draws 3
No contests 1
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 31–9–3 (1) Song Kenan Decision (unanimous) Real Fighting Championship: Real 1 December 23, 2014 3 5:00 Tokyo, Japan Return to Welterweight.
Win 31–8–3 (1) Masayuki Naruse Submission (armbar) Grabaka Live 3 October 27, 2013 1 2:25 Tokyo, Japan Openweight bout.
Loss 30–8–3 (1) Yuji Sakuragi KO (knee and soccer kick) Grabaka Live 2 October 27, 2012 1 0:35 Tokyo, Japan Light Heavyweight bout.
Win 30–7–3 (1) Kenichi Yamamoto TKO (punches) Grabaka Live: 1st Cage Attack October 15, 2011 1 2:18 Tokyo, Japan
Win 29–7–3 (1) Lee Sak Kim TKO (corner stoppage) DEEP: 50 Impact October 24, 2010 1 1:21 Tokyo, Japan Catchweight (79 kg) bout.
Loss 28–7–3 (1) Yasubey Enomoto TKO (punches) World Victory Road Presents: Sengoku Raiden Championships 13 June 20, 2010 1 3:57 Tokyo, Japan
Win 28–6–3 (1) Hidehiko Yoshida Decision (split) World Victory Road Presents: Sengoku no Ran 2009 January 4, 2009 3 5:00 Saitama, Japan Return to Light Heavyweight.
Win 27–6–3 (1) Chris Rice Submission (armbar) World Victory Road Presents: Sengoku 3 June 8, 2008 2 3:54 Saitama, Japan Middleweight bout.
Win 26–6–3 (1) Jean-François Lénogue Decision (unanimous) PRIDE: Bushido 13 November 5, 2006 2 5:00 Yokohama, Japan
Win 25–6–3 (1) Makoto Takimoto Decision (unanimous) PRIDE Shockwave 2005 December 31, 2005 3 5:00 Saitama, Japan
Win 24–6–3 (1) Webster Dauphiney Submission (achilles lock) Pancrase: Brave 10 November 7, 2004 1 2:14 Urayasu, Japan
Win 23–6–3 (1) Keith Rockel Decision (majority) Pancrase: Brave 4 April 23, 2004 3 5:00 Tokyo, Japan
Loss 22–6–3 (1) Yuki Kondo KO (punch) Pancrase: Hybrid 10 November 30, 2003 3 0:08 Tokyo, Japan Lost Pancrase Light Heavyweight Championship.
Win 22–5–3 (1) Elvis Sinosic Decision (unanimous) Pancrase: 10th Anniversary Show August 31, 2003 3 5:00 Tokyo, Japan
Draw 21–5–3 (1) Yuki Kondo Draw Pancrase: Hybrid 5 May 18, 2003 3 5:00 Yokohama, Japan
Win 21–5–2 (1) Eduardo Pamplona Decision (unanimous) Pancrase: Spirit 8 November 20, 2002 3 5:00 Tokyo, Japan
Loss 20–5–2 (1) Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira KO (punch) UFO: Legend August 8, 2002 2 0:29 Tokyo, Japan
Win 20–4–2 (1) Alexander Otsuka Decision (unanimous) PRIDE 20 April 28, 2002 3 5:00 Yokohama, Japan
Win 19–4–2 (1) Daisuke Watanabe Submission (arm-triangle choke) Pancrase: Proof 7 December 1, 2001 1 2:14 Yokohama, Japan
Win 18–4–2 (1) Ikuhisa Minowa TKO (cut) Pancrase: 2001 Anniversary Show September 20, 2001 2 4:30 Yokohama, Japan Won Pancrase Light Heavyweight Championship.
Win 17–4–2 (1) Pshemek Wallace TKO (punches) DEEP: 2nd Impact August 18, 2001 1 1:52 Yokohama, Japan
Win 16–4–2 (1) Matt Trihey Submission (armbar) Pancrase: Proof 4 June 26, 2001 1 1:11 Tokyo, Japan
NC 15–4–2 (1) Alex Stiebling No Contest (Kikuta was cut by an accidental headbutt) Pancrase: Proof 1 February 4, 2001 1 3:11 Tokyo, Japan
Win 15–4–2 Kazuo Takahashi Submission (arm-triangle choke) Pancrase: Trans 7 December 4, 2000 1 7:22 Tokyo, Japan
Loss 14–4–2 Murilo Bustamante Decision (unanimous) Pancrase: Trans 6 October 31, 2000 1 15:00 Tokyo, Japan
Win 14–3–2 Ichio Matsubara Submission (armlock) Pancrase: Trans 4 June 26, 2000 1 2:13 Tokyo, Japan
Win 13–3–2 Eugene Jackson Submission (armbar) UFC 25 April 14, 2000 1 4:38 Tokyo, Japan
Win 12–3–2 Ryushi Yanagisawa Decision (unanimous) Pancrase: Trans 2 February 27, 2000 1 15:00 Osaka, Japan
Win 11–3–2 Minoru Suzuki TKO (arm-triangle choke) Pancrase: Breakthrough 11 December 18, 1999 1 2:39 Yokohama, Japan
Draw 10–3–2 Travis Fulton Draw Pancrase: Breakthrough 9 October 25, 1999 1 15:00 Tokyo, Japan
Win 10–3–1 Eddy Millis Submission (punches) Pancrase: 1999 Anniversary Show September 18, 1999 1 1:57 Urayasu, Japan
Win 9–3–1 Takafumi Ito Decision (unanimous) Pancrase: Breakthrough 7 July 6, 1999 2 3:00 Tokyo, Japan
Win 8–3–1 Eric Gedek Submission (rear-naked choke) Pancrase: Breakthrough 6 June 11, 1999 3 1:20 Tokyo, Japan
Loss 7–3–1 Paul Jones Decision (unanimous) Shooto: Las Grandes Viajes 6 November 27, 1998 3 5:00 Tokyo, Japan
Draw 7–2–1 Daijiro Matsui Draw (time limit) PRIDE 4 October 11, 1998 3 10:00 Tokyo, Japan
Loss 7–2 Renzo Gracie Submission (guillotine choke) PRIDE 2 March 15, 1998 6 0:43 Yokohama, Japan
Win 7–1 Masanori Suda Submission (armbar) Lumax Cup: Tournament of J '97 Heavyweight Tournament July 27, 1997 1 3:59 Japan Won Lumax Cup: Tournament of J '97 Heavyweight Tournament.
Win 6–1 Toshinobu Komeya Submission (achilles lock) Lumax Cup: Tournament of J '97 Heavyweight Tournament July 27, 1997 1 1:00 Japan
Win 5–1 Jun Kitagawa Submission (achilles lock) Lumax Cup: Tournament of J '97 Heavyweight Tournament July 27, 1997 1 3:14 Japan
Loss 4–1 Mushtaq Abdullah Submission (forearm choke) VTJ 1996: Vale Tudo Japan 1996 July 7, 1996 1 6:27 Tokyo, Japan
Win 4–0 Masanori Suda Submission (heel hook) Lumax Cup: Tournament of J '96 March 30, 1996 1 1:15 Japan Won Lumax Cup: Tournament of J '96.
Win 3–0 Hiroyuki Yoshioka Submission (heel hook) Lumax Cup: Tournament of J '96 March 30, 1996 1 3:05 Japan
Win 2–0 Egan Inoue Decision Lumax Cup: Tournament of J '96 March 30, 1996 1 5:00 Japan
Win 1–0 Saburo Kawakatsu Submission (keylock) Lumax Cup: Tournament of J '96 March 30, 1996 1 2:04 Japan

Mixed martial arts exhibition recordEdit

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Draw 0-0-1 Manabu Yamada Technical Draw DEEP 2001 January 8, 2001 1 3:00 Tokyo, Japan

Submission grappling recordEdit

Result Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Notes
Loss   Renzo Gracie Points ADCC 2017 –88 kg 2017 Overtime
Draw   Minoru Suzuki and   Daiju Takase Draw The Contenders X-Rage Vol.1 December 14, 2001 1 15:00 Partnered with   Takeshi Yamazaki
Win   Saulo Ribeiro Points ADCC 2001 –88 kg 2001
Win   Egan Inoue ADCC 2001 –88 kg 2001
Win   Chris Brown ADCC 2001 –88 kg 2001
Win   Evan Tanner ADCC 2001 –88 kg 2001
Loss   Rigan Machado Points ADCC 1999 –99 kg 1999 1 10:00

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Kaminoge Vol.64, Toho Publishing
  2. ^ "Grabaka Announces Oct. 15 Event in Tokyo with Kikuta, Somdet". Retrieved 2014-02-09.
  3. ^ Scott Newman (2004-06-28). "MMA Review: #21: UFC 25: Ultimate Japan III". The Oratory. Retrieved 2016-10-30.

External linksEdit