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Kiyoshi Tamura vs Kazushi Sakuraba (UWFI vs WAR 05/27/96)

UWFI WAR May 27 Kiyoshi Tamura Kazushi Sakuraba Budokan Hall

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#1 PeteF3

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Posted 17 December 2014 - 10:06 PM

I hate UWF-i like there's no tomorrow, but IIRC this is Tamura's final match before giving them the big finger. He was toying with the idea of heading to Pancrase and you can see how heavily influenced both these guys were by what was happening with that fed. Really beautiful matwork in this match.


#2 PeteF3

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Posted 08 February 2015 - 07:38 PM

Some gorgeous matwork for sure, though those of you who like a match that builds and builds aren't going to care for this, as these two are so evenly matched that only 1 point is taken the entire way. Blink-and-you'll-miss it finish as Tamura executes a great cross armbreaker takedown for the submission. Looking forward to seeing what Tamura brings to the table in RINGS.

#3 Rah

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 03:46 PM

Has this match completely slipped under the radar? I don't ever see anyone giving it much love, when they talk about UWFi but it's certainly up there in terms of pure exhibition greatness.


The opening few minutes were art. Usually the initial feeling out process in matches is a paint-by-numbers, rote-affair but these two produced some of the finest matwork I've ever seen. The speed at which they transitioned between holds was mind-boggling. I agree that this never really created a narrative arc in its build, but the way in which they presented each other as equals added a foil of danger to their moves. Each hold was fought for or scrambled out of as if the ending could happen at any moment (it did!). An Ankle Lock being responded with an immediately swift kick to the knee was a brilliant counter and a welcome break from the typical overdramatic "will he tap?" segment one's used to when watching Kurt Angle.


Phenomenal match!

#4 KB8

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Posted 29 July 2017 - 08:16 AM

Tamura's last match in UWFi before heading to RINGS. I don't know if the story about him working this as a big fuck you to the company/Takada is true or not, but it was certainly a RINGS match more than a UWFi one. The matwork especially is very RINGS; super fast sprawling and tumbling and jockeying for position. They only use one rope break each and mostly work to a stalemate, but it's the kind of shoot style matwork that's my absolute favourite matwork in wrestling. It's not quite the highest of high end RINGS, but you could see they had something brilliant in them and probably would've produced it if Sakuraba went to RINGS rather than Kingdom/MMA. There was one bit where Sakuraba was shifting his weight to get into position for a cross armbreaker, trying to force Tamura's hands apart. He leaned back to break the grip, but Tamura used Sakuraba's momentum to roll backwards and essentially wind up with side control. Finish was so good. Sakuraba comes in close and throws an uppercut, so Tamura moves in to close the distance and they sort of wind up in a clinch. I'm not sure if Sakuraba tried to throw another palm strike inside or Tamura just grabbed an arm, but one second they were standing in the clinch and the next Tamura had rolled him into a perfect cross armbreaker. Tamura was about to go on a run where he legit had a handful of the best matches ever done in the style, and this was a nice way to cap off his time in a promotion he'd pretty much grown out of.

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: UWFI, WAR, May 27, Kiyoshi Tamura, Kazushi Sakuraba, Budokan Hall

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