MMA: Kazushi Sakuraba Legitimately Knocks out Opponent in Pro Wrestling Event

Andrew SaundersCorrespondent IIJanuary 7, 2013

Photo: Courtesy of
Photo: Courtesy of

MMA pioneer Kazushi Sakuraba has been a professional wrestler since the early '90s. However, his shoot-fighting instincts must have kicked in this weekend during a New Japan Pro Wrestling bout against champion Shinsuke Nakamura.

Minutes into the contest, Nakamura shot in for a takedown and without thinking, Sakuraba threw an interceptor knee that knocked his opponent completely unconscious. Immediately after impact, you can see "The Gracie Hunter" kicking himself for the mistake.

In the world of MMA, this would have been considered an incredible highlight. However, in the fictional competition that is professional wrestling, if a guy is supposed to pin you later in the contest, it is generally frowned upon for you to put him in a temporary coma.

What makes things worse is that Nakamura currently holds the IWGP Intercontinental Championship and the title was on the line in this contest, which Shinsuke was scheduled to win. 

Sakuraba is a well-season veteran of professional wrestling, so after the referee checked on Nakamura and recognized that he had regained some of his wits, the Japanese legend climbed into mount and began throwing kayfabe punches until Shinsuke was able to continue again.

Ironically, Nakamura is a former MMA fighter in his own right. Competing from the 2003 New Year's Eve card until mid-2004, Nakamura put together a 3-1 (1)  record and has not competed in nearly nine years. 

The full match is available to watch at with the knockout occurring shortly after the 17 minute mark.