Height: 5'11" (181cm)
Weight: 195 lbs
Kiyoshi Tamura (born December 17, 1969 in Okayama Prefecture, Japan) is a Japanese middleweight professional Wrestler and Mixed Martial Arts fighter.
Tamura's 30 career wins include victories over Mixed Martial Arts greats such as Jeremy Horn, Renzo Gracie, Ikuhisa Minowa, Nobuhiko Takada and Pat Miletich. He also handed Joop Kasteel his first defeat via armbar 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 Antonio 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. Interestingly, one of the foremost mixed martial arts record databases, Sherdog.com, neglects to acknowledge his draw against Frank Shamrock, which many consider to be the finest performance of Tamura's mixed martial arts career.
For several years, efforts have been made by Pride Fighting Championships 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 Nobuhiko Sakakibara that promised the fans a future fight between the two. However, Pride ceased being an active promotion after that event.
Finally it was announced that Kiyoshi Tamura and Kazushi Sakuraba were set to fight at the K-1 Fields Dynamite!! event on December 31st, 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 awared a unanimous decision.