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Kiyoshi Tamura
Born (1969-12-17) December 17, 1969 (age 46)
Okayama, Okayama, Japan[1]
Other names Koko no Tensai ("The Aloof Genius"), Pride Kara no Shikaku ("Pride Assassin")
Nationality Japanese
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Weight 90 kg (200 lb)
Division 205
Style Shoot Wrestling
Team Rings Japan
U-File Camp
Teacher(s) Nobuhiko Takada
Akira Maeda
Billy Robinson
Mixed martial arts record
Total 48
Wins 32
By knockout 5
By submission 13
By decision 8
Unknown 6
Losses 13
By knockout 4
By submission 3
By decision 4
Unknown 2
Draws 3
Other information
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

Kiyoshi Tamura (田村潔司 Tamura Kiyoshi?, born December 17, 1969 in Okayama, Okayama) is a Japanese middleweight professional wrestler and mixed martial artist. Once a student of legendary pro wrestlers Billy Robinson, Nobuhiko Takada and Akira Maeda, Tamura is known for his skill in catch wrestling as well as his ability to deliver exciting professional wrestling bouts. He has competed in some form or another for the following organizations: Universal Wrestling Federation, UWF International, Fighting Network RINGS, K-1, PRIDE, and U-STYLE, his own promotion, often fighting much larger opponents. In mixed martial arts, he holds notable victories over Renzo Gracie, Jeremy Horn, Ikuhisa Minowa, Masakatsu Funaki and Kazushi Sakuraba.

Professional wrestling career[edit]

He debuted in 1989 in the old Japanese UWF against Minoru Suzuki, but made his mark when he later joined its main successor group, UWFI. Tamura was spunky and could even demand respect from older veterans, as demonstrated during a bout against Yoji Anjo where Tamura broke a hold and delivered several kicks to Anjo's head and kicked him out of the ring.

Despite many pundits (such as Pro Wrestling Illustrated) comparing him to UWFI champion Nobuhiko Takada, Tamura never challenged for the title. As the interpromotional feud against New Japan Pro Wrestling started, Tamura jumped to RINGS, founded by old mentor Maeda. He was briefly pushed as the top star, being given the first (worked) RINGS heavyweight title, but as RINGS transitioned to real MMA bouts, his star began to flicker, as he struggled to keep pace despite winning bouts.

In 2003 he opened his own promotion, U-STYLE. On November 23, 2005 he had his last match for this promotion, defeating Josh Barnett. He briefly came out of retirement for Antonio Inoki's Inoki Genome Federation, the last time being on November 8, 2007, beating Montanha Silva in the latter's IGF debut.

Mixed martial arts career[edit]

Tamura's 30 career wins[2] include victories over mixed martial arts greats such as Jeremy Horn, Renzo Gracie, Ikuhisa Minowa, Nobuhiko Takada, Pat Miletich[1] and held Frank Shamrock to a draw at a time when Shamrock was reigning UFC champion. However, in spite of his many accomplishments inside the arena of MMA, his record is somewhat marred by a proponderance of match-ups against top heavyweight and light-heavyweight competitors, including Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira, the 350-pound Bob Sapp and the former Olympic gold medalist Hidehiko Yoshida amongst others. His later mixed martial arts performances have also been criticized as being relatively apathetic compared to the fast-paced bouts that characterized the earlier part of his career. Part of this may owe to an absence of grappling in the bouts in question, where Tamura has often seemed more content to pursue a cautious stand-up game rather than engage in the submission exchanges he was at one point famed for.

Kiyoshi had his first taste of MMA back in professional wrestling promotion Union of Wrestling Forces International, where he choked out boxer Matthew Saad Muhammad in a mixed rules bout. He later offered to fight in the K-1 Hercules MMA event, where he made short work of Ultimate Fighting Championship finalist Patrick Smith via heel hook.


After his switch to Fighting Network RINGS, he submitted another striker in the form of Andre Mannaart, and was pitted against sambo and kickboxing expert Valentijn Overeem in his next shoot match. This time, however, Tamura evidenced his inexperience facing grapplers and was submitted multiple times, ultimately losing the match by kneebar. It forced the RING executives to make him lose the Openweight Championship to Tariel Bitsadze.

In 1999, a very improved Tamura faced former Pancrase star Frank Shamrock, who had defeated Tamura's teammate Tsuyoshi Kohsaka years before. Very much like Kohsaka, Tamura controlled the match, taking down Shamrock and keeping dominant position over him, and he came close to finishing him with a catch wrestling-inspired head and arm separator, but the American fighter miraculously escaped. Again like the Kohsaka match, Shamrock caught Tamura in a guillotine choke and made him spend a rope escape, but Frank lost the point for an illegal closed-fisted punch, so the match went to a draw.

The same year, Tamura took part in the King of Kings tournament, facing Dave Menne as his first opponent. He landed several hooks, but lost the advantage upon attempting a flying armbar. After the restart, they exchanged strikes until Menne slipped down on a high kick, which Tamura capitalized in order to mount Menne on the ground and throw punches. At the end, Tamura knocked down Dave again and took his back, ending the match with a unanimous decision.

After an uneventful second round win over Borislav Jeliazkov, Tamura found himself pitted against Renzo Gracie from the Gracie family. The Brazilian fighter got the earliest of the fight with a guillotine choke from the guard, but Tamura started to dominate thanks to his superior striking and takedown defense. Renzo lied on the ground and challenged Tamura to grapple with him, which the Japanese shooter did, taking the back of the Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist and locking a crucifix to seek the rear naked choke, until the end of the match. Tamura was awarded the unanimous decision, being the second Japanese in defeating a Gracie after Kazushi Sakuraba did it with Royler earlier in the year.

At the semifinals, Kiyoshi fought Brazilian luta livre exponent Renato Sobral. The stronger Sobral attacked with knee strikes and took his back in some occasions, while Tamura landed leg kicks and looked for an opening. Going to the ground, both attempted several kinds of submission, including an armbar by Sobral and a figure four toehold by Tamura, but they were unsuccessful. Ended the battle, two judges ruled a draw and a third ruled in Sobral's favor, thus eliminating Tamura from the tournament.

In 2000, Tamura faced another Brazilian, Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira, on the second round of the King of Kings 2000. Nogueira opened the match taking him down and trying to pass his guard, eventually performing an armbar which Kiyoshi countered rolling outwards and taking his back. The Japanese fighter then avoided a kneebar and attacked Nogueira's guard until the standup. The action repeated itself, with Nogueira taking him down and Tamura capitalizing on a kneebar attempt to get dominant position, but this time Nogueira reversed and attempted a Kimura lock for the end of the round. At the second one, the Brazilian pressed Tamura with a takedown and slowly climbed his way through positions to an armbar from the back. Kiyoshi defended it for minutes, but at the end, Nogueira repositioned and got the hold, making Tamura tap out.


Tamura made his debut in Pride Fighting Championships in a title fight against Wanderlei Silva for the Pride Middleweight Championship. Silva blocked Tamura's takedowns and attacked him with hard punches and a knee to the face. In one instance, Tamura landed a punch which stunned Wanderlei, but it was short-lived, and the Brazilian fighter recovered and continued with the brutal ground and pound, bloodying Kiyoshi's face. The second round saw the same action, with Silva counterstriking with a right hook which knocked out Tamura for the win.

The Japanese's next match would be a similarly tough matchup, facing the large Bob Sapp, who almost doubled Tamura's weight. The match was short and shocking, and saw Sapp charging at Tamura and knocking him out with looping punches at 0:11.

At PRIDE 31, Tamura got a desired rematch against Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira, who had bested him years before in RINGS. The result would be the same, as Nogueira took him down, gained his back and locked an armbar for the tap out.

In an event for Deep in September 2002, Tamura defeated another shoot-style fighter, Ikuhisa Minowa, by unanimous decision. They had a rematch in PRIDE two years later, which was much shorter, with Tamura overwhelming Minowa with leg kicks and a knee strike, followed by soccer kicks to the head. Tamura and Minowa shook hands as a sign of respect after the match, though Tamura featured an incident in which he shoved the referee for what was believed to be a late stoppage.

For several years, efforts have been made by Pride to put Kiyoshi Tamura and fellow UWFi alum and mixed martial artist Kazushi Sakuraba together in a fight due to their status as two of the best Japanese fighters of their time as well as a rumored rivalry. An announcement was made at Pride 34 by Nobuyuki Sakakibara that promised the fans a future fight between the two. However, Pride ceased being an active promotion after that event.


At K-1 Premium 2007, Tamura faced Hideo Tokoro, an apprentice of former RINGS wrestler Kenichi Yamamoto. Outweighing his opponent and showing a brilliant submission defense, Tamura kept control over him in the grappling exchanges, taking his back several times and grinding him with punches and ground and pound, until he locked a keylock in round 3 to make him tap out.

A year after, Tamura would fight yet another shoot-style fighter, this time the Pancrase legend Masakatsu Funaki. Despite the hype surrounding the fight, caused by RINGS' and Pancrase' former rivality, the bout was swift, with Tamura outstriking him and tripping him to the mat for the ground and pound TKO.

Finally it was announced that Kiyoshi Tamura and Kazushi Sakuraba were set to fight at the K-1 Dynamite!! event on December 31, 2008. The fight was characterized by Tamura generally countering take-down and submission attempts by Sakuraba while applying ground and pound from the top position throughout the bout. At the end of the first round, Sakuraba appeared to have an armbar locked in, but Tamura held on and in the second controlled much of the action until being taken down by Sakuraba in the final minute. Ultimately, Tamura was awarded a unanimous decision, to finally beat Sakuraba.

Personal life[edit]

On July 7, 2007, Tamura married tarento and pro wrestling host Yumiko Sakurai.

In wrestling[edit]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Mixed Martial Arts[edit]

Pro Wrestling[edit]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 32-13-3 Kazushi Sakuraba Decision (unanimous) Fields Dynamite!! 2008 December 31, 2008 2 5:00 Saitama, Saitama, Japan
Win 31-13-3 Masakatsu Funaki TKO (punches) Dream 2: Middleweight Grand Prix 2008 First Round April 29, 2008 1 0:57 Saitama, Saitama, Japan
Win 30-13-3 Hideo Tokoro Submission (straight armbar) K-1 Premium 2007 Dynamite!! December 31, 2007 3 3:08 Osaka, Japan
Loss 29-13-3 Taiei Kin Decision (unanimous) Hero's 9 July 16, 2007 2 5:00 Yokohama, Japan
Win 29-12-3 Ikuhisa Minowa KO (soccer kicks) Pride FC - Shockwave 2006 December 31, 2006 1 1:18 Saitama, Saitama, Japan
Loss 28-12-3 Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira Submission (armbar) Pride 31 - Dreamers February 26, 2006 1 2:24 Saitama, Saitama, Japan
Win 28-11-3 Makoto Takimoto Decision (unanimous) PRIDE Critical Countdown 2005 June 26, 2005 3 5:00 Saitama, Saitama, Japan
Win 27-11-3 Aliev Makhmud TKO (retirement) PRIDE 29 February 20, 2005 1 7:09 Saitama, Saitama, Japan
Win 26-11-3 Rony Sefo Submission (armbar) PRIDE Shockwave 2003 December 31, 2003 1 2:20 Saitama, Saitama, Japan
Loss 25-11-3 Hidehiko Yoshida Submission (ezekiel choke) PRIDE Total Elimination 2003 August 10, 2003 1 5:06 Saitama, Saitama, Japan
Win 25-10-3 Nobuhiko Takada KO (punch) PRIDE 23 November 24, 2002 2 1:00 Tokyo, Japan
Win 24-10-3 Ikuhisa Minowa Decision (unanimous) Deep - 6th Impact September 7, 2002 3 5:00 Tokyo, Japan
Loss 23-10-3 Bob Sapp TKO (punches) PRIDE 21 June 23, 2002 1 0:11 Saitama, Saitama, Japan
Loss 23-9-3 Wanderlei Silva KO (punch) PRIDE 19 February 24, 2002 2 2:28 Saitama, Saitama, Japan For Pride Middleweight Championship
Loss 23-8-3 Gustavo Machado Decision (unanimous) Rings: World Title Series 1 April 20, 2001 2 5:00 Tokyo, Japan
Loss 23-7-3 Renato Sobral Decision (majority) Rings: King of Kings 2000 Final February 24, 2001 2 5:00 Tokyo, Japan
Loss 23-6-3 Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira Submission (armbar) Rings: King of Kings 2000 Block A October 9, 2000 2 2:29 Tokyo, Japan
Win 23-5-3 Zaza Tkeshelashvili Decision (unanimous) Rings: King of Kings 2000 Block A October 9, 2000 2 5:00 Tokyo, Japan
Win 22-5-3 Pat Miletich Decision (majority) Rings: Millennium Combine 3 August 23, 2000 2 5:00 Osaka, Japan
Win 21-5-3 Jeremy Horn Decision (unanimous) C2K - Colosseum 2000 May 26, 2000 2 5:00 Japan
Loss 20-5-3 Gilbert Yvel TKO (strikes) Rings: Millennium Combine 1 April 20, 2000 1 13:13 Tokyo, Japan
Loss 20-4-3 Renato Sobral Decision (majority) Rings: King of Kings 1999 Final February 26, 2000 2 5:00 Tokyo, Japan
Win 20-3-3 Renzo Gracie Decision (unanimous) Rings: King of Kings 1999 Final February 26, 2000 2 5:00 Tokyo, Japan
Win 19-3-3 Borislav Jeliazkov Submission (rear-naked choke) Rings: King of Kings 1999 Block B December 22, 1999 2 1:17 Osaka, Japan
Win 18-3-3 Dave Menne Decision (unanimous) Rings: King of Kings 1999 Block B December 22, 1999 2 5:00 Osaka, Japan
Win 17-3-3 Joop Kasteel Submission (armbar) Rings: Rise 5th August 19, 1999 2 2:17 Japan
Draw 16-3-3 Yoshihisa Yamamoto Draw Rings: Rise 4th June 24, 1999 3 5:00 Japan
Win 16-3-2 Tariel Bitsadze Submission (rear-naked choke) Rings: Rise 3rd May 22, 1999 1 9:19 Japan
Draw 15-3-2 Frank Shamrock Draw Rings: Rise 2nd April 23, 1999 1 20:00 Japan
Win 15-3-1 Hiromitsu Kanehara Submission (armbar) Rings: Rise 1st March 20, 1999 3 0:14 Japan
Win 14-3-1 Valentijn Overeem Submission (armbar) Rings: Final Capture February 21, 1999 1 6:08 Japan
Win 13-3-1 Kenichi Yamamoto TKO (strikes) Rings: World Mega Battle Tournament December 23, 1998 2 1:26 Japan
Draw 12-3-1 Tsuyoshi Kohsaka Draw Rings: Fourth Fighting Integration June 27, 1998 1 30:00 Tokyo, Japan
Loss 12-3 Tariel Bitsadze TKO (strikes) Rings: Third Fighting Integration May 29, 1998 1 3:39 Tokyo, Japan
Win 12-2 Mikhail Ilyukhin KO (strikes) Rings: Battle Dimensions Tournament 1997 Final January 21, 1998
Win 11-2 Akira Maeda KO (strikes) Rings: Battle Dimensions Tournament 1997 Final January 21, 1998
Win 10-2 Joop Kasteel KO (strikes) Rings: Battle Dimensions Tournament 1997 Final January 21, 1998
Win 9-2 Hans Nijman Submission (kimura) Rings - Mega Battle Tournament 1997 Semifinal 1 October 25, 1997 1 10:34 Japan
Win 8-2 Volk Han Decision Rings - Extension Fighting 7 September 26, 1997 1 12:48 Japan
Win 7-2 Tsuyoshi Kohsaka Submission (toe hold) Rings - Extension Fighting 2 April 22, 1997 1 13:57 Japan
Win 6-2 Andre Mannaart Submission (rear-naked choke) Rings Holland - The Final Challenge February 2, 1997 1 2:11 Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands
Loss 5-2 Volk Han TKO (strikes) Rings - Budokan Hall 1997 January 22, 1997 Tokyo, Japan
Loss 5-1 Volk Han KO (strikes) Rings - Battle Dimensions Tournament 1996 Final January 1, 1997
Win 5-0 Yoshihisa Yamamoto KO (strikes) Rings - Battle Dimensions Tournament 1996 Final January 1, 1997
Win 4-0 Mitsuya Nagai KO (strikes) Rings - Battle Dimensions Tournament 1996 Final January 1, 1997
Win 3-0 Mikhail Ilyukhin KO (strikes) Rings - Battle Dimensions Tournament 1996 Opening Round October 25, 1996
Win 2-0 Maurice Smith Submission (armbar) Rings - Maelstrom 6 August 24, 1996 1 10:58
Win 1-0 Patrick Smith Submission (heel hook) K-1 Hercules December 9, 1995 1 0:55 Japan

Mixed rules[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 1–0 Matthew Saad Muhammad Submission (rear-naked choke) UWF-i Combat Sport Yokohama May 8, 1992 1 0:38 Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan

Submission grappling record[edit]

Result Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Notes
Loss Brazil Ricardo Liborio Submission (armbar) ADCC 2001 –88 kg 2001 1 1:02


External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiyoshi_Tamura — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.

182 news items


Mon, 04 Apr 2016 12:39:58 -0700

Rizin officials last week announced that Silva and Tamura will go up against Kazushi Sakuraba and Hideo Tokoro in the submission-only match. Exact rules for the contest have not been revealed. The grappling match will headline Rizin 1, the organization ...

Bloody Elbow

Bloody Elbow
Tue, 19 Apr 2016 12:30:00 -0700

Former UFC fighter Wanderlei Silva is the first confirmed fighter for the Grand Prix tournament. Silva competed at this past weekend's Rizin FF 1 event in a tag-team grappling match with Kiyoshi Tamura against Kazushi Sakuraba and Hideo Tokoro. The ...

Bloody Elbow

Bloody Elbow
Wed, 13 Apr 2016 10:03:45 -0700

The event will also feature a two-on-two tag-team grappling match between Wanderlei Silva and Kiyoshi Tamura against Kazushi Sakuraba and Hideo Tokoro. The contests is expected to open up the main card proceedings. Rizin 1 begins at 2am ET on ...


Sat, 16 Apr 2016 14:06:17 -0700

Kiyoshi Tamura: I had a head injury, so I've thought about using headgear, either from boxing or rugby. I want fans to be entertained. I wanted to compete because of Sakuraba. He made MMA major in Japan. Seven years ago, when I fought Sakuraba, ...

Bloody Elbow

Bloody Elbow
Sun, 17 Apr 2016 01:20:59 -0700

The event will also feature a two-on-two tag-team grappling match between Wanderlei Silva and Kiyoshi Tamura against Kazushi Sakuraba and Hideo Tokoro. The contests is expected to open up the main card proceedings. Rizin 1 begins at 2am ET on ...

Bloody Elbow

Bloody Elbow
Tue, 05 Apr 2016 10:03:45 -0700

As announced on a press conference in Japan, Wand will team up with former opponent and mixed martial arts pioneer Kiyoshi Tamura. Silva and Tamura fought at PRIDE 19 in 2002. The Axe Murderer won via second-round knockout. Wanderlei also ...

Bloody Elbow

Bloody Elbow
Fri, 08 Apr 2016 05:00:00 -0700

The Brazilian will team up with Kiyoshi Tamura to take on Kazushi Sakuraba and Hideo Tokoro in the main event and is treating the bout as a tune-up for his return to MMA. Silva spoke to Ariel Helwani on the latest edition of The MMA Hour (h/t Guilherme ...


Mon, 11 Apr 2016 11:54:06 -0700

Rounding out the main card is a tag-team grappling match which pits Wanderlei Silva and Kiyoshi Tamura against Kazushi Sakuraba and Hideo Tokoro, plus a 112-pound Shoot Boxing bout between champion Rena Kubota and Chute Boxe striker Cyndi ...

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