Kenichi Yamamoto (山本 喧一 Yamamoto Ken'ichi) is a Japanese mixed martial artist and professional wrestler. Known for his career in UWF International, Yamamoto competed against some of the best fighters in his era with RINGS, Pride and the UFC, taking on Kevin Randleman, Genki Sudo and Pat Miletich, among others.
He returned to the ring against former Pancrase Light Heavyweight titlist Keiichiro Yamamiya on Oct. 27, 2012. He lost via unanimous decision.
A fan of Akira Maeda, Yamamoto started to train in karate since his chilhood, entering the Seidokaikan school before turning his attention to professional wrestling. In 1993, he was accepted in Union of Wrestling Forces International and debuted on October 14 in a match against Kazushi Sakuraba. After two years on the mid card, he joined Yoji Anjo and Yoshihiro Takayama to form the Golden Cups stable, in which he gained fame. In 1996, UWF International closed and Yamamoto moved to Kingdom, before eventually joining Fighting Network Rings in 1998. While in Rings, he had to skipe several months of action due to a surgery to remove a benign tumor, and ended leaving the company in 1999.
In November 1999 Yamamoto had his Ultimate Fighting Championship at the UFC 23 event, taking part on the night's tournament. His first opponent was Wajutsu Keishukai representative Daiju Takase. The fight was slow, with Yamamoto being the superior striker and Takase constantly pulling guard to stop the action, so Kenichi resorted to headbutts to the midsecion to damage him and even performed a cartwheel guard pass inspired on his training partner Sakuraba. Takase tried some high kicks and a triangle choke, but Yamamoto blocked them and landed punches and elbow strikes to the body, winning the decision. The final fight was against Katsuhisa Fujii, which proved to be a tougher bout. Fujii took Yamamoto down several times and attacked with ground and pound, consistently endangering the former Rings wrestler. At the end, however, Kenichi surprised Fujii with a kneebar from the guard and made him tap, winning the fight and the tournament.
- Finishing moves
- Cross armbar
- Capture suplex
- Signature moves
- Rear naked choke
- Roundhouse kick
Championships and accomplishments
- Ultimate Fighting Championship
- UFC 23 Middleweight Tournament Champion
- Wrestle Association "R"
Mixed martial arts record
|Professional record breakdown|
|19 matches||5 wins||12 losses|
|Loss||5–12–2||Kazuo Takahashi||KO (knee)||U-Spirits - U-Spirits Again||March 9, 2013||1||6:29||Tokyo, Japan|
|Loss||5–11–2||Keiichiro Yamamiya||Decision (unanimous)||Grabaka Live 2||October 27, 2012||2||5:00||Tokyo, Japan|
|Loss||5–10–2||Sanae Kikuta||TKO (punches)||Grabaka Live: 1st Cage Attack||October 15, 2011||1||2:18||Tokyo, Japan|
|Loss||5–9–2||Diego Lionel Vitosky||TKO (corner stoppage)||MARS: Bodog Fight||October 4, 2006||2||n/a||Tokyo, Japan|
|Loss||5–8–2||Kaream Ellington||TKO (punches)||Mix FC: USA vs. Russia 3||June 3, 2006||1||4:51||Atlantic City, New Jersey|
|Win||5–7–2||German Reyes||KO (high kick)||Ryukyu Fight Night 2||November 13, 2005||2||2:20||Okinawa, Japan|
|Loss||4–7–2||Ikuhisa Minowa||TKO (punches)||Pride Bushido 4||July 19, 2004||1||3:23||Nagoya, Japan|
|Loss||4–6–2||Alexander Otsuka||Decision (unanimous)||Pride 25||March 16, 2003||3||5:00||Yokohama, Japan|
|Loss||4–5–2||Kevin Randleman||TKO (knees)||Pride 23||November 24, 2002||3||1:16||Tokyo, Japan|
|Loss||4–4–2||Genki Sudo||Submission (rear-naked choke)||Rings: World Title Series 5||December 21, 2001||2||1:46||Yokohama, Japan|
|Draw||4–3–2||Akira Yasumura||Draw||Club Fight Nagoya||March 4, 2001||1||10:00||Nagoya, Japan|
|Draw||4–3–1||Kenji Akiyama||Draw||Club Fight Osaka||January 27, 2001||1||10:00||Osaka, Japan|
|Loss||4–3||Pat Miletich||Submission (guillotine choke)||UFC 29||December 16, 2000||2||1:58||Tokyo, Japan||For UFC Welterweight Championship|
|Win||4–2||Tatsuya Kurahashi||KO (punches)||Club Fight: Round 1||November 12, 2000||1||8:00||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||3–2||Katsuhisa Fujii||Submission (kneebar)||UFC 23||November 19, 1999||1||4:15||Urayasu, Japan||Won UFC Japan Middleweight Tournament|
|Win||2–2||Daiju Takase||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 23||November 19, 1999||3||5:00||Urayasu, Japan|
|Loss||1–2||Kiyoshi Tamura||TKO||Rings: World Mega Battle Tournament||December 23, 1998||2||1:26||Tokyo, Japan|
|Loss||1–1||Masayuki Naruse||Submission||Rings: Fourth Fighting Integration||June 27, 1998||1||11:07||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||1–0||Chris Haseman||Submission||Rings: Third Fighting Integration||May 29, 1998||1||12:39||Tokyo, Japan|
1 win (1 KO), 0 losses
Legend: Win Loss Draw/No contest