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Sanae Kikuta Bio

Sanae Kikuta (菊田 早苗, Kikuta Sanae, born September 10, 1971 in Nerima, Tokyo) is a Japanese mixed martial artist currently competing in the Welterweight division. A professional competitor since 1996, he has competed for the UFC, PRIDE Fighting Championships, Pancrase, DREAM, World Victory Road, DEEP, Shooto, and Vale Tudo Japan. He is the former Pancrase Light Heavyweight Champion (2001–2003) and the winner of the ADCC 88kg class in 2001.


  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Mixed martial arts career
    • 2.1 PRIDE Fighting Championships
    • 2.2 Pancrase
    • 2.3 Ultimate Fighting Championship
    • 2.4 World Victory Road
  • 3 Championships and accomplishments
    • 3.1 Grappling
    • 3.2 Judo
    • 3.3 Mixed martial arts
    • 3.4 Shootboxing
  • 4 Mixed martial arts record
    • 4.1 Mixed martial arts exhibition record
  • 5 Submission grappling record
  • 6 See also
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links

Early life

Kikuta started training in judo in his childhood, winning the Kantō Middleweight class when he was in 3rd grade. He became a student at the Super Tiger Gym when he was in the 6th grade, learning shoot wrestling under Satoru Sayama, but he left on the feeling that he wasn't being given enough attention in the combative aspect. Kikuta later joined the judo team again at high school, where he won the 86kg class at the National Athletic Highschool Meeting. He also learned under Toshihiko Koga at the Nippon Sport Science University.

During his university tenure, Kikuta also tried professional wrestling, failing to enter New Japan Pro Wrestling, but being accepted in Union of Wrestling Forces International and training with them for a time before leaving. After considering finding a job as a judo teacher, Kikuta applied again to the entrance exam for NJPW, but he failed for a second time, this time due to showing dehydration syntomps during a sparring with fellow examinee Kenichi Yamamoto. Kikuta left college and went to train kickboxing under Stan Longinidis in Australia. Upon his return to Japan, Kikuta started training at Seidokaikan and won the All Japan amateur shootboxing heavyweight championship. However, after watching Royce Gracie win the first Ultimate Fighting Championship events, he became interested in mixed martial arts.

Mixed martial arts career

Kikuta had his MMA debut for the first tournament hosted in 1996 by Lumax Cup, which featured the use of keikogi. Kikuta won after beating Egan Inoue and Masanori Suda. He then went to compete in the Vale Tudo Japan event, but was defeated by Mushtaq Abdullah by forearm choke. After returning to Lumax Cup, he won the 1997 torunament too, defeating Suda again.

PRIDE Fighting Championships

Kikuta made his worldwide MMA debut for the PRIDE promotion at its second event, where he faced Brazilian jiu-jitsu expert Renzo Gracie in a special rules match. The fight turned out to be a slow, methodical bout which lasted six fifteen minutes rounds, whose end saw Renzo submitting Kikuta via guillotine choke at the sixth one.

Kikuta returned to PRIDE to face Takada Dojo understudy Daijiro Matsui. Again, the fight was a technical battle, ending with a draw after none of the fighters could finish the other.

At PRIDE 20, Kikuta fought Alexander Otsuka. This time the fight was a controversial one, with Otsuka throwing several knees to the groin which weren't penalized. Despite so, Sanae controlled the match with dominant positions and soccer kicks, and won by unanimous decision.

At UFO Legend, Kikuta fought PRIDE competitor Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. The two grappling specialists exchanged assaults on the ground, with the Brazilian taking down Kikuta and attacking his half guard before the Japanese capitalized on a failed calf slicer to switch positions. Kikuta pressed from the top, but Nogueira regained full guard and scrambled to switch positions again, where the Japanese defended again from half guard. At the second round, Kikuta looked to take the match to the ground again, but it took a sudden twist when Nogueira landed a surprising right hook, knocking Sanae out completely. Nogueira was declared the winner.

Sanae fought again for PRIDE in the event Shockwave 2005, taking on Makoto Takimoto, judo gold medalist and apprentice to Hidehiko Yoshida. Kikuta opened the fight pulling guard, after which the two judoka traded positions and submission attempts with Sanae coming over in most of them. Having maintained the advantage for all of the three rounds both standing and on the ground, Kikuta was given the unanimous decision win.


After a single match for Shooto, Kikuta joined the Pancrase fighting organization in April 1994. He scored big victories over veterans Minoru Suzuki and Ryushi Yanagisawa, and shortly after he founded the Grabaka team along with Genki Sudo, Eiji Ishikawa and Hiroo Matsunaga. Kikuta also participated in the ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship in April 2001 and won its 88kg class. In September 2001 he won the title of Pancrase Light Heavyweight Champion.

He currently runs the Grabaka gym in Nakano, Tokyo, which trains fighters such as Kazunori Yokota, Akihiro Gono, and formerly Genki Sudo, and Kazuo Misaki.

Ultimate Fighting Championship

In his sole apparition for Ultimate Fighting Championship, Kikuta took part in the event Ultimate Japan III in April 2000. He defeated Eugene Jones in dominant fashion, taking him down and locking an armbar for the submission.

World Victory Road

On January 4, 2009 at World Victory Road Presents: Sengoku Rebellion 2009, Kikuta faced fellow judoka Hidehiko Yoshida. The bout started characteristically slow, with Kikuta taking Yoshida down and tentatively exchanging strikes with him. At the second round, Kikuta opted for pulling guard and pursuing an ankle lock, but Yoshida remained on top and landed several punches through his guard. Afterwards, however, Kikuta reversed and got the mount, unloading ground and pound until the end of the round. The third round saw Yoshida stunning Kikuta with a punch and scoring a judo throw, but Sanae took his back and kept striking on him for the rest of the match, eventually winning the decision.

Championships and accomplishments


  • Abu Dhabi Combat Club
    • ADCC 2001 88kg class winner (April 2001)


  • Kantō region Judo Middleweight winner
  • The National Athletic High School Meeting, Judo 86kg class Winner

Mixed martial arts

  • Lumax Cup
    • Tournament of J'96 Winner
    • Tournament of J'97 Winner
  • Pancrase
    • Pancrase Light heavyweight Champion (One time)
  • Tokyo Sports
    • Technique Prize (2001)


  • Japan Shootboxing Association
    • All Japan Amateur Shoot boxing Championship Heavyweight Winner

Mixed martial arts record

Mixed martial arts exhibition record

Submission grappling record

See also

  • List of male mixed martial artists

External links

  • Professional MMA record for Sanae Kikuta from Sherdog Edit this at Wikidata
  • Official blog
  • Official Grabaka site

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