Kazushi Sakuraba was born July 14, 1969 in present-day ( Katagami, Akita) is a Japanese mixed martial artist and professional wrestler, currently signed to New Japan Pro Wrestling. He has competed in traditional puroresu for New Japan Pro Wrestling and shoot-style competition for UWFi and Kingdom Pro Wrestling. He has fought in MMA competition in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Pride Fighting Championships, K-1 Hero’s and Dream. He is known as the “Gracie Hunter” or the “Gracie Killer” due to his wins over four members of the famed Gracie family: Royler Gracie, Renzo Gracie, Ryan Gracie, and Royce Gracie. In particular, Sakuraba is famous for his initial fight with Royce, which lasted ninety minutes. Sakuraba is also the former UFC Japan Heavyweight Tournament Champion. Known for his excellent skill in catch wrestling, he is considered to be one of Japan’s greatest mixed martial artists and also holds notable victories over Carlos Newton, Vitor Belfort, Quinton Jackson, Ken Shamrock and Masakatsu Funaki.