Yuji Sakuragi (桜木裕司, Sakuragi Yūji, born July 20, 1977) is a Japanese mixed martial artist, kickboxer, and professional wrestler, currently associated with Real Japan Pro Wrestling's team Seikendo. He is known for his Kyokushin Karate background and his ability to score KO wins. In MMA, he competed for the Pancrase, M-1 Global, and DEEP promotions.
Sakuragi as Super Tiger in September 2016
|Born||Yuji Sakuragi (桜木裕司, Sakuragi Yūji)|
July 20, 1977
Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan
|Other names||Super Tiger (II)|
|Height||1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|Weight||95 kg (209 lb; 15.0 st)|
|Fighting out of||Miyazaki, Japan|
|Rank||Black belt in Kyokushin Karate|
|Mixed martial arts record|
|Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog|
last updated on: January 8, 2014
Sakuragi wrestles under the name of Super Tiger, being the second incarnation of the name used by his trainer Satoru Sayama. He has also worked in promotions like All Japan Pro Wrestling, Battlarts, Dramatic Dream Team and Riki Choshu's Legend The Pro Wrestling.
Yuji started training Kyokushin in middle school, and later joined the Japan Self-Defense Forces for a time. After his military tenure, he worked as a physical education teacher for the Nippon Sport Science University, where he met Satoru Sayama. Sakuragi moved to Sayama's Seikendo promotion and started training in order to be a professional mixed martial artist.
Mixed martial arts careerEdit
In 2005, after some unimpressive fights abroad, Sakuragi made his debut in Seikendo's partner company Pancrase with a high note, knocking out Kengo Watanabe with a head kick. The victory, as well as his performance against veteran Kazuo "Yoshiki" Takahashi, made him shine in the indy MMA scene. He became famous for his Kyokushin background, exemplified by his refinated striking and ability to score total KOs as opposed to TKOs or stoppages. Sakuragi was also famous for his flashy personal style, wearing hip hop and b-kei fashion, striking the military salute before his matches and paying his dues to the Yasukuni Shrine in special occasions.
In 2012, Sakuragi defeated Kazuo Takahashi at the promotion's Progress Tour event. The wrestling expert chose to trade strikes with Sakuragi, who landed a left hook at the second round and knocked him out cold, winning the fight.
On October 27, 2012, Sakuragi faced grappling expert Sanae Kikuta in a special fight in Grabaka under full vale tudo rules, without gloves and allowing elbows and headbutts. The bout was short, and saw Sakuragi landing a spinning back kick, sidestepping Kikuta's attempts to push him against the cage wall, and finally knocking him down with strikes.
Sakuragi's next matchups against grapplers wouldn't be so successful, as he was choked out by Daiju Takase at DEEP Haleo Impact and defeated by Ryuta Sakurai in an upset knockout by flying knee at Cage Impact 2013.
Professional wrestling careerEdit
Real Japan Pro Wrestling (2007-present)Edit
In 2007, Sakuragi made his transition to professional wrestling as part of Sayama's Real Japan Pro Wrestling. He received the gimmick of Super Tiger II, the second incarnation of the character used by Sayama in Universal Wrestling Federation. Yuji wrestled under a purple and silver attire and mask, utilizing a style based around kicks and suplexes. His debut was against Ikuto Hidaka, a wrestler who had been especially approved by Sayama for Tiger II's debut, and later moved into a major feud with Tiger Shark.
Super Tiger challenged Alexander Otsuka for the RJPW Legend Championship in 2008, but he was defeated. Sakuragi then formed a steady team with Minoru Suzuki, getting victories over names like Yuki Ishikawa and Great Sasuke. In 2011, Super Tiger got finally the championship when he defeated Mitsuya Nagai in a title match. Tiger retained it successfully against Black Tiger V before trading the title once more with Nagai, and this time his reign was longer, defending it against Kazunari Murakami, Taka Kuno, Masashi Aoyagi and Great Tiger. However, he lost it in 2015, against Masakatsu Funaki.
The year of his debut, Super Tiger started wrestling in shoot-style promotion Battlarts as a RJPW representative. Tiger formed a tag team with Katsumi Usuda and competed extensely for the company, briefly feuding with Mitsuya Nagai and Yuki Ishikawa. In 2008, he participated in the B1 Climax 2009 Block B, where he got big wins over Munenori Sawa, Usuda and Bison Tagai, and went to face Ishikawa in the block's final match, but he was defeated. Super Tiger then teamed up with his long time rival Tiger Shark, though they broke up shortly after. His last match in Battlarts was a tag team match with Chocoball Mukai as a special referee, teaming up with Sanshu Tsubakichi to face Ryuji Walter and Alexander Otsuka in a losing effort.
All Japan Pro Wrestling (2016-present)Edit
Sakuragi debuted in All Japan Pro Wrestling as a RJPW representative for the Champion Carnival 2016. He scored important victories over Jun Akiyama and Daisuke Sekimoto, but otherwise his success was little. He didn't stop appearing in AJPW after the league, however, aligning himself with Suwama's stable Evolution. On 27 August, he and Suwama challenged Daisuke Sekimoto and Yuji Okabayashi for the AJPW World Tag Team Championship, being defeated. In December, Super Tiger and fellow Evolution member Hikaru Sato competed at the Real World Tag League 2016, though scoring only one win.
Championships and accomplishmentsEdit
- Universal Kickboxing Federation
- UKF International Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
Mixed martial artsEdit
- World Absolute Fighting Championship
- WAFC Pankration Openweight Crown (2009)
Mixed martial arts recordEdit
|Professional record breakdown|
|43 matches||16 wins||24 losses|
|Loss||16–25–2 (1)||Luis Santos||TKO (punches)||Real Fight Championship 4||March 12, 2016||1||1:27||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||16-24–2 (1)||Kang Chul Yoon||TKO (punches)||Real Fight Championship 3||2015|December|5}||2||0:19||Kanagawa, Japan||Return to Heavyweight.|
|Loss||15–23–2 (1)||Alan Baudot||TKO (punches)||Grandslam MMA 3: Way of the Cage||September 12, 2015||1||2:35||Tokyo, Japan||Openweight bout.|
|Win||15–22–2 (1)||Shungo Oyama||TKO (corner stoppage)||Pancrase: 263||December 6, 2014||2||1:03||Tokyo, Japan||Openweight bout.|
|Loss||14–22–2 (1)||Kazuhiro Nakamura||Submission (arm-triangle choke)||DEEP: Cage Impact 2013||November 24, 2013||3||2:49||Tokyo, Japan||Catchweight (88 kg) bout.|
|Loss||14–21–2 (1)||Ryuta Sakurai||KO (punch and flying knee)||DEEP: Cage Impact 2013||June 15, 2013||1||1:04||Tokyo, Japan||Middleweight debut.|
|Loss||14–20–2 (1)||Daiju Takase||Submission (guillotine choke)||DEEP: Haleo Impact||December 22, 2012||2||1:33||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||14–19–2 (1)||Sanae Kikuta||KO (knee and soccer kick)||Grabaka Live 2||October 27, 2012||1||0:35||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||13–19–2 (1)||Kazuo Takahashi||KO (punch)||Pancrase: Progress Tour 9||August 5, 2012||1||4:59||Tokyo, Japan|
|Loss||12–19–2 (1)||Shinso Anzai||Decision (unanimous)||Pancrase: Progress Tour 3||March 11, 2012||2||5:00||Tokyo, Japan|
|Loss||12–18–2 (1)||Kazuhisa Tazawa||Submission (rear-naked choke)||DEEP: 52 Impact||February 25, 2011||2||0:54||Tokyo, Japan||For the vacant DEEP Openweight Championship.|
|Draw||12–17–2 (1)||Ryo Kawamura||Draw||Pancrase: Passion Tour 11||December 5, 2010||3||5:00||Tokyo, Japan||For the King of Pancrase Light Heavyweight Championship.|
|Loss||12–17–1 (1)||Alexander Grinchuk||Decision (unanimous)||FEFoMP: Impact League 4||October 16, 2010||3||5:00||Khabarovsk, Russia||Heavyweight bout.|
|Win||12–16–1 (1)||Ryo Kawamura||TKO (Punches)||Pancrase: Passion Tour 8||September 5, 2010||1||3:55||Tokyo, Japan|
|Loss||11–16–1 (1)||Christian M'Pumbu||TKO (punches)||Deep: 46 Impact||February 28, 2010||1||2:29||Tokyo, Japan||DEEP Light Heavyweight Tournament Quarterfinal.|
|Win||11–15–1 (1)||Alavutdin Gadjiev||KO (knee)||FEFoMP: Impact League 2||October 17, 2009||1||0:30||Khabarovsk, Russia|
|Loss||10–15–1 (1)||Hans Stringer||TKO (punches)||DEEP: 43 Impact||August 23, 2009||2||2:11||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||10–14–1 (1)||Minoru Kato||KO (punch)||DEEP: 41 Impact||April 17, 2009||2||0:59||Tokyo, Japan||Return to Light Heavyweight.|
|Loss||9–14–1 (1)||Rogent Lloret||Decision (unanimous)||M-1 Challenge 8: USA||October 29, 2008||2||0:59||Kansas, United States|
|Loss||9–13–1 (1)||Stefan Struve||Submission (triangle choke)||M-1 Challenge 6: Korea||August 29, 2008||1||2:30||Seoul, South Korea|
|Loss||9–12–1 (1)||Kamil Uygun||TKO (punches)||M-1 Challenge 5: Japan||July 17, 2008||1||4:52||Tokyo, Japan||Light Heavyweight bout.|
|Loss||9–11–1 (1)||Besiki Gerenava||TKO (punches)||M-1 Challenge 2: Russia||April 3, 2008||2||5:00||St. Petersburg, Russia|
|Win||9–10–1 (1)||Kenichi Shinohara||TKO (punches)||MARS 11: 2nd Anniversary||February 2, 2008||1||1:34||Tokyo, Japan||Light Heavyweight bout.|
|Draw||8–10–1 (1)||Hidetada Irie||Draw||DEEP: 33 Impact||December 12, 2007||3||5:00||Tokyo, Japan|
|Loss||8–10 (1)||Yuki Kondo||Decision (unanimous)||Pancrase: Rising 8||October 14, 2007||3||5:00||Tokyo, Japan|
|Loss||8–9 (1)||Katsuhisa Fujii||Decision (majority)||DEEP: Glove||July 26, 2007||2||5:00||Tokyo, Japan|
|Loss||8–8 (1)||Basil Yamilkhanov||TKO (doctor stoppage)||FEFoMP: Mayor Cup 2007||May 26, 2007||1||0:38||Khabarovsk, Russia||Lost the Mayor Cup Heavyweight Championship.|
|Win||8–7 (1)||Nikolai Onikienko||Decision (unanimous)||FEFoMP: Mayor Cup 2007||May 26, 2007||2||5:00||Khabarovsk, Russia||Return to Heavyweight; won the Mayor Cup Heavyweight Championship.|
|Loss||7–7 (1)||Yasuhito Namekawa||Submission (heel hook)||Deep: 29 Impact||April 13, 2007||1||2:12||Tokyo, Japan||90 kg bout.|
|Win||7–6 (1)||Fabiano Aoki||TKO (injury)||MARS 6: Rapid Fire||December 22, 2006||2||1:55||Tokyo, Japan||97 kg bout.|
|NC||6–6 (1)||Fabiano Aoki||No Contest (accidental low blow)||MARS 5: Marching On||October 28, 2006||1||0:17||Tokyo, Japan||97 kg bout.|
|Loss||6–6||Tatsuya Mizuno||Submission (rear-naked choke)||Pancrase: Blow 7||September 17, 2006||2||2:30||Tokyo, Japan|
|Loss||6–5||Riki Fukuda||Decision (unanimous)||Pancrase: 2006 Neo-Blood Tournament Finals||July 28, 2006||2||5:00||Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan|
|Loss||6–4||Poai Suganuma||TKO (punches)||Pancrase: Blow 4||May 2, 2006||1||1:47||Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan|
|Win||6–3||Hikaru Sato||TKO (soccer kicks)||Pancrase: Blow 1||January 26, 2006||1||0:55||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||5–3||Jimmy Akishige||KO (punch)||RJPW: Legend Championship||December 16, 2005||1||1:55||Tokyo, Japan|
|Loss||4–3||Hideki Tadao||Submission (arm-triangle choke)||Pancrase: Spiral 8||October 2, 2005||2||3:33||Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan|
|Win||4–2||Yuta Nakamura||Decision (unanimous)||Pancrase: Z||September 3, 2005||2||5:00||Kumamoto, Japan|
|Win||3–2||Aslan Dzeboev||KO (body kick)||Pancrase: Spiral 6||July 31, 2005||2||1:31||Tokyo, Japan|
|Loss||2–2||Kazuo Takahashi||Submission (armbar)||Pancrase: Spiral 5||July 10, 2005||2||3:01||Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan|
|Win||2–1||Kengo Watanabe||KO (high kick)||Pancrase: Spiral 1||February 4, 2005||3||0:06||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||1–1||Sung Chu Kim||TKO (punches)||Gladiator FC: Day 2||June 27, 2004||1||0:42||Seoul, South Korea|
|Loss||0–1||Eduard Churakov||Decision (unanimous)||Seikendo: SWA Ultimate Boxing||October 29, 2000||3||3:00||Tokyo, Japan|
Submission grappling recordEdit
|Loss||Marcos de Souza||Submission (rear-naked choke)||DEEP X 3||2008||1||3:53|
4 wins (1 KO), 8 losses
Legend: Win Loss Draw/No contest
- "Yuji Sakuragi profile". Sherdog. Retrieved 2014-01-08.
- "Profile at Puroresu Central". Puroresu Central. Retrieved 2014-02-06.
- Grabaka Live! 2 – 10/27/2012: Sakuragi KO’d Kikuta in a Bare Knuckle MMA Fight – Full Result
- "Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) 500 for 2017". The Internet Wrestling Database. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
- 清水賢吾、桜木裕司に1R KO勝ち。菅原勇介、復帰戦は判定負け：1.24 後楽園(in Japanese)