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Tag: Sakuraba

Why No One Knows When To Quit, Especially Sakuraba

I don’t believe in telling fighters they should retire. Not really. When fans and writers insist that a legend of the sport should give it up it always seems so hollow. What do we know about what someone like that should do with their lives?

But even I have to admit that Kazushi Sakuraba’s beating at the hands of Melvin Manhoef in Dream.4 this weekend was difficult to watch. I’ve always had a soft spot for Sakuraba. He embodied so many of the best fighter attributes. He was tough and resilient, and at the same time he was also crafty and dangerous. He always seemed like he was having fun, even on his worst nights.

That’s why it’s so hard to see him continue past his prime. He’s obviously not having fun these days. His efforts are joyless and perfunctory, like a man waiting on his pension. And yet, for some reason, he can’t seem to walk away.

I used to wonder what it was that made pro athletes hold on too long. Almost everyone does it. The difference is that a baseball player who’s too old and too slow gets sent to the minors. A basketball player who can’t keep up gets cut.

But with fighters it’s a different story. They either step down significantly in competition, or they start taking some bad beatings. Sakuraba has done both. The former may harm his legacy somewhat, but it’s nothing compared to what the latter will do to you.

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Wiuff, Misaki, “Goat” Win at Sengoku III; Notes on DREAM, K-1

Kazuo Misaki Logan Clark Sengoku MMA
(Kazuo Misaki cracks Logan Clark a good one. Photo courtesy of Sherdog.)

Far less publicized or attended than their first two cards, Sengoku held its third event yesterday at a half-full Saitama Super Arena, marked by former PRIDE star Kazuyuki Fujita’s upset by YAMMA heavyweight champ Travis Wiuff (who is now riding a nine-fight win streak), as well as Kazuo Misaki and Nick “The Goat” Thompson coming away with victories, and MMA elder statesman Maurice Smith’s comeback bid hitting a painful speed bump at the hands of Hidehiko Yoshida. Full recap is at Japan MMA; quick results are below.

Hidehiko Yoshida def. Maurice Smith via submission (neck crank), 2:23 of round 1
Travis Wiuff def. Kazuyuki Fujita via KO, 1:24 of round 1
Kazuo Misaki def. Logan Clark via unanimous decision
Nick Thompson def. Michael Costa via submission (kimura), 4:13 of round 2
Sanae Kikuta def. Chris Rice via submission (armbar), 3:54 of round 1
Marcio Cruz def. Choi Mu Bae via submission (triangle choke), 4:37 of round 1
Rodrigo Damm def. Jorge Masvidal via TKO, 4:38 of round 2
Fabio Silva def. Kazuo Takahashi via KO, 0:24 of round 2

At the event, it was announced that Sengoku IV (August 24th) will mark the beginning of a lightweight GP, with the winner to face Takanori Gomi. Satoru Kitaoka, Eiji Mitsuoka, Kazunori Yokota, Duane Ludwig, and Rodrigo Damm have already been booked for the tourney.

In other MMA news from the Far East…

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Sakuraba’s Miracle: Scab Heals!


(Just throw a band-aid on it.)

Remember when Kazushi Sakuraba said “a small scab” on his leg was the reason he would not be participating in DREAM 2′s Middleweight Grand Prix? Well, the scab has been touched by an angel — or maybe he just decided to cowboy up — because Nightmare of Battle is listing three match-ups that have been announced for the GP, including one between Sakuraba and newbie Andrews Nakahara. The other two fights will see Kiyoshi Tamura versus Masakatsu Funaki and Denis Kang versus Gegard Mousasi.

Here’s the scoop on Andrews Nakahara: he’s a 24-year-old Kyokushin Karate fighter, but there is no MMA record for him yet. He was born in Brazil, is six feet tall, and likes intimate dinner conversation. He has done well for himself in Karate tournaments, according to Kyokushin4Life:

– All American Open Karate Championships 2007 (IKO-1) – 2nd Place
– All American Open Karate Championships 2006 (IKO-1) – 1st Place
– All American Open Karate Championships 2005 (IKO-1) – 2nd Place
– All American Open Karate Championships 2004 (IKO-1) – 7th Place
– 3rd World Weight Category Championships 2005 (IKO-1) – 1st Place
– 6th South American Karate Tournament 2004 (IKO-1) – 1st Place
– Brazilian Open 2004 (IKO-1) – 2nd Place
– South American Open 2005 (IKO-1) – 1st Place

How well all this may translate to a fight with an MMA vet like Sakuraba remains to be seen. Little else is known about Nak, so who knows how extensive his wrestling and ground work has been. Oh, and if you’re the sort that likes cruising around the websites of various dojos, go here to visit Nakahara’s dojo.

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The Ten Ugliest Mugs in MMA

10. Trainer John Hackleman

Hack kind of looks like something Jim Henson might have sewn together while drunk and depressed.

9. Matt Lindland

A five-head that could cut glass…

8. Ben Rothwell

Don’t worry, Susie…those things will develop in a few years.

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