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Yuji Sakuragi

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Nationality  Japanese
Name  Yuji Sakuragi
Losses  8
Team  Seikendo
Draws  0

Style  Kickboxing
Other names  Satoru Sayama
Height  1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Teacher  Satoru Sayama
Number of contests  1
Yuji Sakuragi www1cdnsherdogcomimagecrop200300imagesfi
Born  July 20, 1977 (age 38) Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan (1977-07-20)
Weight  95 kg (209 lb; 15.0 st)
Division  Light heavyweight Middleweight

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.

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Yuji Sakuragi Yuji Sakuragi MMA Fighter Page Tapology

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.

Early life

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 career

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.

Real Japan Pro Wrestling (2007-present)

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 The Great Tiger. However, he lost it in 2015, against Masakatsu Funaki.

Battlarts (2007-2011)

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)

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.

In wrestling

  • Finishing moves
  • Bridging German suplex
  • Tiger suplex – adopted from Satoru Sayama
  • Rear naked choke
  • Tornado Kick (Jumping corkscrew roundhouse kick)
  • Signature moves
  • Death Valley driver
  • DDT
  • Heel hook
  • Multiple kick variations
  • Corkscrew enzuigiri
  • Jumping high
  • Savate to the opponent's face
  • Spin
  • Spinning heel
  • Multiple suplex variations
  • Bridging belly to back
  • Bridging fisherman, sometimes while applying a wrist-clutch
  • Release German
  • Underhook
  • Kickboxing

  • Universal Kickboxing Federation
  • UKF International Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • Mixed martial arts

  • World Absolute Fighting Championship
  • WAFC Pankration Openweight Crown (2009)
  • Professional wrestling

  • Pro Wrestling Illustrated
  • PWI ranked him #400 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2017
  • Real Japan Pro Wrestling
  • RJPW Legends Championship (3 times, current)
  • References

    Yuji Sakuragi Wikipedia


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