|Weight Class||Welterweight (170 lbs.)|
|Height||5' 7" (171 cm)|
|Birth Date||August 24, 1975|
|Fighting Out Of||Tokyo, Japan|
|Hayato Sakurai Pictures||Official Website|
Hayato "Mach" Sakurai is a Japanese mixed martial artist, and PRIDE FC Welterweight Grand Prix finalist. He was born in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. Sakurai has been fighting in mixed martial arts since October of 1996 and was at one time considered pound for pound one of the greatest fighters. He holds notable victories over Frank Trigg, Jens Pulver, Dave Menne, former Shooto 154 lbs. (70 kg) Champion Joachim Hansen, Shinya Aoki (2 X), Mac Danzig, Caol Uno, and Luiz Azeredo. Sakurai finished 2nd in the Absolute Class (no weight limit) Abu Dhabi Combat Club submission wrestling annual competition in 1999.
His nickname, "Mach", pronounced ma-ha in Japanese, was taken as a tribute to his childhood pro wrestling hero, Higo Shigehisashi better known as Mach Hayato, the first Japanese professional wrestler to completely embrace the Mexican style of Lucha Libre and was also among the group of professional wrestlers who made the transition to shoot wrestling as part of the original UWF movement.
In December of 2008, it was reported in Japan that a sex tape involving Sakurai had been leaked on to the internet. There was widespread speculation as to how this incident might effect Sakurai's career, as he is a married man.
|Record||37 - 12 - 2 (Win – Loss – Draw)|
|Win||Phil Baroni||Decision (Unanimous)||DREAM.18: Special NYE 2012||12/31/2012||3||5:00|
|Win||Ryo Chonan||Decision (Unanimous)||Dream: Fight For Japan! New Year! 2011||12/31/2011||3||5:00|
|Loss||Jason High||Decision (Split)||DREAM and K-1: Dynamite!! 2010- The Power of Courage||12/31/2010||3||5:00|
|Loss||Nick Diaz||Submission (Armbar)||DREAM 14||5/29/2010||1||3:54|
|Loss||Akihiro Gono||Submission (Armbar)||FieLDS Dynamite!! 2009||12/31/2009||2||3:56|
|Loss||Marius Zaromskis||TKO (Head Kick and Punches)||DREAM 10: Welterweight Grand Prix 2009 Second Round||7/20/2009||1||4:03||DREAM 2009 Welterweight Grand Prix Semi-Finals|
|Win||Shinya Aoki||TKO (Knees and Punches)||DREAM 8: Welterweight Grand Prix 2009 Opening Round||4/05/2009||1||0:27||DREAM 2009 Welterweight Grand Prix Opening Round|
|Win||Katsuyori Shibata||TKO (Punches)||K-1: Dynamite!! Power of Courage 2008||12/31/2008||1||7:01|
|Win||Kuniyoshi Hironaka||Decision (Unanimous)||DREAM 6: Middleweight Grand Prix 2008 Final||9/23/2008||2||5:00|
|Loss||David Baron||Submission (Guillotine Choke)||Shooto: Shooto Tradition 1||5/3/2008||1||4:50|
|Win||Hidetaka Monma||TKO (Punches)||DREAM 1: Lightweight Grand Prix 2008 Opening Round||3/15/2008||1||4:12|
|Win||Hidehiko Hasegawa||Decision (Unanimous)||Yarennoka: New Years Eve 2007||12/31/2007||2||5:00|
|Win||Mac Danzig||KO (Punch)||PRIDE 33: Second Coming||2/24/2007||2||4:01|
|Win||Luciano Azevedo||TKO (Doctor Stoppage)||PRIDE Bushido 12||8/26/2006||1||4:35|
|Win||Olaf Alfonso||KO (Punch)||PRIDE Bushido 11||6/04/2006||1||1:54|
|Loss||Takanori Gomi||KO (Punches)||PRIDE: Shockwave 2005||12/31/2005||1||3:56||Finals of PRIDE Lightweight Grandprix to crown the first PRIDE Lightweight Champion|
|Win||Joachim Hansen||Decision (Unanimous)||PRIDE Bushido 9||9/25/2005||2||5:00||Semi-Final of PRIDE Lightweight Grandprix|
|Win||Jens Pulver||TKO (Punches)||PRIDE Bushido 9||9/25/2005||1||8:56||Opening Round of PRIDE Lightweight Grandprix|
|Win||Shinya Aoki||Decision (Unanimous)||Shooto: Alive Road||8/20/2005||3||5:00|
|Win||Milton Vieira||Decision (Unanimous)||PRIDE Bushido 7||5/22/2005||2||5:00|
|Loss||Crosley Gracie||Submission (Armbar)||PRIDE Bushido 5||10/14/2004||2||1:02|
|Win||Brady Fink||Submission (Guillotine Choke)||PRIDE Bushido 4||7/19/2004||1||4:08|
|Loss||Rodrigo Gracie||Decision (Unanimous)||PRIDE Bushido 2||2/15/2004||2||5:00|
|Win||Daiju Takase||Decision (Unanimous)||PRIDE Shockwave 2003||12/31/2003||3||5:00|
|Loss||Ryo Chonan||TKO (Cut)||DEEP: 12th Impact||9/15/2003||3||2:10|
|Win||Dave Menne||TKO (Cut)||DEEP: 10th Impact||6/25/2003||2||2:02|
|Win||Ryuki Ueyama||Decision (Unanimous)||DEEP: 8th Impact||3/04/2003||3||5:00|
|Loss||Jake Shields||Decision (Unanimous)||Shooto: Year End Show 2002||12/14/2002||3||5:00|
|Loss||Matt Hughes||TKO (Punches)||UFC 36: Worlds Collide||3/22/2002||4||3:01||For UFC Welterweight Championship|
|Win||Dan Gilbert||Submission (Heel Hook)||Shooto: To the Top Final Act||12/16/2001||1||1:52|
|Loss||Anderson Silva||Decision (Unanimous)||Shooto: To the Top 7||8/26/2001||3||5:00||Lost Shooto Middleweight Championship|
|Win||Jean Louis Alberch||Decision||GT: Golden Trophy 2001||3/01/2001||2||3:00|
|Win||Frank Trigg||TKO (Knees)||Shooto: R.E.A.D. Final||12/17/2000||2||2:25||Defended Shooto Middleweight Championship|
|Win||Luiz Azeredo||Decision (Unanimous)||Shooto: R.E.A.D. 8||8/04/2000||3||5:00||Defended Shooto Middleweight Championship|
|Win||Tetsuji Kato||Decision (Split)||Shooto: R.E.A.D. 2||3/17/2000||3||5:00||Defended Shooto Middleweight Championship|
|Win||Haroldo Bunn||TKO (Punches)||VTJ 1999: Vale Tudo Japan 1999||12/11/1999||3||1:31|
|Win||Brad Aird||Submission (Armbar)||Shooto: Renaxis 2||7/16/1999||1||0:37||Defended Shooto Middleweight Championship|
|Win||Marcelo Aguiar||Decision (Unanimous)||Shooto: 10th Anniversary Event||5/29/1999||3||5:00||Defended Shooto Middleweight Championship|
|Win||Jean Louis Alberch||Submission (Armbar)||GT: Golden Trophy 1999||3/20/1999||1||0:33||Won Golden Trophy 1999 Tournament|
|Win||Damien Riccio||Decision||GT: Golden Trophy 1999||3/20/1999||1||5:00|
|Win||James Schiavo||Submission (Toe Hold)||GT: Golden Trophy 1999||3/20/1999||1||0:26|
|Win||Ademir Oliveira||KO (Flying Knee)||Shooto: Devilock Fighters||1/15/1999||1||0:34||Defended Shooto Middleweight Championship|
|Win||Sergei Bytchkov||Submission (Armbar)||VTJ 1998: Vale Tudo Japan 1998||10/25/1998||1||4:59|
|Win||Ronny Rivano||Submission (Rear Naked Choke)||Shooto: Las Grandes Viajes 4||7/29/1998||1||1:10||Defended Shooto Middleweight Championship|
|Win||Jutaro Nakao||Decision (Unanimous)||Shooto: Las Grandes Viajes 3||5/13/1998||3||5:00||Won Shooto Middleweight Championship|
|Draw||Marcelo Aguiar||Draw||VTJ 1997: Vale Tudo Japan 1997||11/29/1997||3||8:00|
|Win||Alex Cook||Submission (Rear Naked Choke)||Shooto: Reconquista 4||10/12/1997||1||1:09|
|Win||Ali Elias||Submission (Armbar)||Shooto: Reconquista 3||8/27/1997||1||1:23|
|Win||Hiroyuki Kojima||Decision (Unanimous)||Shooto: GIG||6/25/1997||2||5:00|
|Draw||Takuya Kuwabara||Draw||Shooto: Reconquista 1||1/18/1997||3||3:00|
|Win||Caol Uno||Submission (Armbar)||Shooto: Let's Get Lost||10/04/1996||1||2:52|
Mixed Martial Arts Career
Sakurai made his professional debut in the Shooto organization on October 4, 1996 by submitting Caol Uno. Over the next five years he would go undefeated in twenty bouts and would win that organization's Middleweight (167 lbs.) title. Sakurai was finally defeated in August 2001 by Brazilian ace and current UFC Middleweight (185 lbs.) Champion Anderson Silva. After the loss, and subsequent to a severe car accident, Sakurai traveled to the United States to fight the UFC's Welterweight Champion Matt Hughes, losing by TKO in the fourth round.
PRIDE FC and Comeback
After losing to Hughes, Sakurai fought periodically in Shooto and DEEP before joining PRIDE Fighting Championships, Japan's largest MMA organization. During this time he was inconsistent in his performances, often losing to much lower ranked opponents. He also attempted to fight at 183 lbs. (83 kg), but it was clear that his frame was far too small for that weight, and his performances suffered. Some speculated Sakurai's seeming loss of spirit and mental focus came from a car accident he suffered after fighting Silva. However, in 2005 Sakurai regained focus and went to the US to train with legendary coach Matt Hume and AMC Pankration before rattling off 4 impressive wins against tough competition. It was announced that he would drop down to 160 lbs. (73 kg) in order to participate in Pride's Lightweight Grand Prix. Despite his revered and legendary early career some questioned if Sakurai could make an impact in the division. Sakurai silenced his critics when he defeated former UFC Champion Jens Pulver and former Shooto Champion Joachim Hansen on the same night to advance to the tournament finals. On December 31, 2005 Sakurai fought mixed martial arts superstar Takanori Gomi for the first ever PRIDE Fighting Championships 160 lbs. (73 kg) championship of the world. Although fighting with a torn ACL he suffered in training just three weeks prior to the fight, though this was not known outside of his coaching circle at the time, Sakurai initially had the upper-hand, pounding Gomi with brutal inside-leg kicks. A few minutes into the round, Sakurai attempted a throw, which landed Gomi upon the ropes of the ring. Gomi was able to take Sakurai's back and rain down strikes upon him. Seconds after both fighters stood back up, Sakurai was knocked out at the 3:56 mark of the first round. Despite the loss to Gomi, Sakurai would continue to impress with his performances. At Bushido 11 he scored a brutal KO over Olaf Alfonso. On August 26, 2006, Mach fought Luciano Azevedo at Bushido 12. After several minutes of attempted ground-and-pound by Azevedo, the fighters were stood back up. Mach then consistently stuffed Azevedo's takedowns, and landed a fight-ending knee on Azevedo over his left eye. The fight was stopped due to a TKO by cut.
Sakurai fought against former King of the Cage Lightweight Champion and The Ultimate Fighter 6 winner Mac Danzig at PRIDE 33. Sakurai won the fight via knockout in the second round. Two fights later in Shooto, Sakurai was defeated by David Baron by submission in the first round. Sakurai then defeated Kuniyoshi Hironaka via Unanimous Decision. Sakurai then went on to defeat Katsuyori Shibata by TKO at K-1 Dynamite!! 2008. Next, he competed in the Dream Welterweight Grand Prix, facing top ranked Lightweight Shinya Aoki at Dream 8. Sakurai won in impressive fashion by knocking Aoki out in 27 seconds with knees to the head and punches.
After defeating Aoki, Sakurai moved on to fight in the DREAM 2009 Grand Prix Semi-finals against Lithuanian Marius Zaromskis. Sakurai failed to make weight on his initial try for the fight, only making weight on the third try. Many expected this to be a major problem for him. As it would end up, Zaromskis cut Sakurai early, only to end the fight with a head kick and punches in the first round. Zaromskis would go on to win the Grand Prix, after defeating Jason High in the finals.
Sakurai returned to action on December 31, 2009 at FieLDS Dynamite!! 2009 where he faced off against UFC veteran Akihiro Gono. Gono's entrance shocked the crowd, as did his performance on the canvas, as Gono put Sakurai in an Armbar in the second round.
Much in need of a win, after losing two fights in a row, Sakurai returned to action at DREAM 14, where he faced Strikeforce Welterweight Champion Nick Diaz. Sakurai looked effective early while remaining active from his back in an early takedown and quickly working back to his feet. A right hand then scored for Sakurai, but it would be one of his final highlights. After Diaz began to open up on the feet, Sakurai shot in for a successful takedown but immediately found himself trapped in a fight-ending Armbar that gave Diaz the win at 3:54 of the first round.
Championships and Accomplishments
- Former Shooto Middleweight (170 lbs.) Champion (1998)
- Defended his title a total of seven times
- Won Golden Trophy 1999 Tournament (1999)
- UFC Welterweight title challenger (2002)
- PRIDE Lightweight Grand Prix finalist (2005)