Norifumi Yamamoto

Norifumi Yamamoto
Norifumi Yamamoto
Born March 15, 1977 (1977-03-15) (age 34)
Kawasaki, Kanagawa, Japan
Other names Kid
Nationality Japanese
Height 5 ft 4 in (1.63 m)
Weight 135 lb (61 kg)
Division Bantamweight (2010-present)
Featherweight (2002-2009)
Lightweight (2001)
Reach 66 inch (168 cm)
Style Boxing, Freestyle Wrestling, Muay Thai
Stance Southpaw
Fighting out of Tokyo, Japan
Team Purebred Tokyo
Krazy Bee
Years active 2001–present (MMA)
Kickboxing record
Total 4
Wins 1
By knockout 1
Losses 3
By knockout 2
Mixed martial arts record
Total 24
Wins 18
By knockout 13
By submission 2
By decision 3
Losses 5
By knockout 1
By decision 4
No contests 1
Other information
Notable school(s) Marcos de Niza High School
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

Norifumi Yamamoto (山本徳郁 Yamamoto Norifumi?, born March 15, 1977) is a Japanese mixed martial artist and kickboxer. He is associated with Purebred Tokyo and Krazy Bee. He quickly gained popularity in the Shooto organization due to his aggressive, well-rounded style and controversial persona. He moved on to K-1 HERO'S, where he won the Middleweight tournament in December, 2005 after defeating Genki Sudo via a controversial TKO due to punches.

KID comes from a wrestling family with his father Ikuei Yamamoto representing Japan at the 1972 Olympic games in Munich and his sisters Miyu and Seiko both winning world championships in freestyle wrestling. KID received his education in the United States and wrestled at Marcos de Niza High School in Tempe, Arizona, capturing three state championships (with a third place finish as a freshman). He also trained briefly under Choi Mu Bae[1].

Yamamoto's natural weight is 143 pounds. Though most mixed martial artists his size compete in the bantamweight division (135 lbs), many of his most significant fights have been in the lightweight division (155 lbs) as it was the lightest division in Hero's.

Now competing in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Yamamoto is fighting in the bantamweight division (135 lbs) which is closer to his natural weight.


Mixed martial arts career


While he was still wrestling at school KID got into an incident with the Yakuza. The incident occurred when KID accidentally shot a Yakuza in the face with an air gun.[1] The Yakuza tracked where KID was living through his license plate but KID managed to escape by jumping off a balcony. However, during this time KID's sister was married to famous MMA fighter Enson Inoue who had connections with most Yakuza families. Inoue managed to find out what family KID was in trouble with to sort out the problem. After this KID's school did not want the incident to become public since many major companies have Yakuza ties so KID was expelled from school. The Japan Wrestling Association who also have ties with the Yakuza put KID's wrestling training on probation. Without wrestling, Inoue decided to take care of KID and try him out in training for MMA in the mean time to compete in Shooto. KID decided not to go back into wrestling and a year later he won the All Japan Amateur Shooto Tournament.[2]


Yamamoto made his professional Mixed Martial Arts debut on March 2, 2001 against Masato Shiozawa at Shooto - To The Top 2, where he won this fight by unanimous decision. KID would go on to win his next two fights both by TKO in the first round.

During this time Yamamoto faced future Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Josh Thompson in Honolulu, Hawaii at Shogun 1. Yamamoto dominated Thompson with takedowns and strikes but unfortunately caught an accidental kick to the groin 3 minutes into round 2 in which was then later ruled as a No Contest.

On May 5, 2002, KID suffered his first loss by TKO to Stephen Palling. KID received a cut as he went for a double-leg takedown. KID shot in and Palling countered with a knee, opening a huge cut to KID's face. KID then slammed Palling. However, blood began pouring out of Yamamoto's cut and the referee stopped the fight. The doctors determined that KID was unable to continue and Stephen Palling was declared the winner.

KID would then go on to win his next three fights by TKO and Decision over Tetsuo Katsuta, Jeff Curran and Caleb Mitchell.


Norifumi "KID" Yamamoto made his K-1 HERO's debut on April 7, 2004 at the K-1 World MAX 2004 World Tournament Open where he made the Lightweight division take notice by choking out Tony Valente only 58 seconds into the fight. Yamamoto rose in popularity as he would go on to defeat Kazuya Yasuhiro, Jadamba Narantungalag and an intense bout with Ian James Schaffa by TKO or Submission in exciting fashion within the next twelve months.

Merely one year after his HERO's debut, Yamamoto would write his name into HERO's history where he defeated (and finished) three very highly regarded fighters Royler Gracie, Caol Uno and a controversial bout with Genki Sudo to win the 2005 Middleweight Grand Prix.[3] He went on to win his fight against Istvan Majoros by TKO half way through round 1.

4-second Knockout

On May 3, 2006 Yamamoto made Mixed Martial Arts history when he knocked out Kazuyuki Miyata four seconds into the fight, making it the shortest fight in HERO's and the fastest knockout in a major MMA Promotion. The knockout was a flying knee seconds after the bell had sounded, that connected with Miyata's head.[4]

Olympic Freestyle Wrestling

In early 2007, Yamamoto announced an indefinite leave of absence from MMA to go back to his roots and train for and compete in freestyle wrestling for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. He had hoped to win the Olympic Gold medal for freestyle wrestling ever since he was a child, as his father Ikuei Yamamoto represented Japan in the 1972 Olympic games in Munich. Yamamoto opened up the day with an impressive victory over Japanese Self Defense Forces member Akihiro Tsuchida. Yamamoto looked nimble and explosive against Tsuchida, who took third in the 132-pound freestyle class at last year's Emperor's Cup. However disaster struck in the semifinals when the first move of the match, an arm-whip takedown by 2004 Athens Bronze Medalist Kenji Inoue, left Yamamoto with a dislocated right elbow, and consequently prone for the easy pinfall. With this injury, KID would have no choice but to leave his hopes of competing in the Olympic Games and return to Mixed Martial Arts.[5]

Return to HERO's

Yamamoto would return to Mixed Martial Arts on September 17, 2007 against future Dream Featherweight Champion Bibiano Fernandes at K-1 Hero's 10. Yamamoto went on to win his first fight by decision (Unanimous) in Hero's. At K-1 HERO's Dynamite!! 2007 on December 31 Yamamoto faced submission expert Abu Dhabi Combat Club Champion and a top WEC contender Rani Yahya at a weight of 135 lbs [2]. Yamamoto won in the second round via TKO due to soccer and ground kicks.


In February 2008, it was announced by Fighting and Entertainment Group, the parent entity behind kickboxing organization K-1 and mixed martial arts organization Hero's, that they would be producing a new MMA promotion titled Dream alongside former Pride executives from Dream Stage Entertainment that will succeed and will replace FEG's previous-run mixed martial arts fight series, Hero's. Norifumi Yamamoto was one of the many former Pride and HERO's fighters that were named to compete in this new promotion.[3].

It was announced that KID would make his Dream debut at Dream 5 against Joseph Benavidez, however the bout was abruptly called off a mere three days prior to its scheduled date due to a knee injury suffered by KID.

Yamamoto announced his participation in the Dream Featherweight Grandprix which begun at Dream.7 and (due to an injury) was seeded into the second round of the Feather Weight Grand Prix at Dream.9 on May 26. Facing off against inexperienced Joe Warren in what would be his return after a 15 month lay off. Yamamoto landed several clean shots with counter hooks on the feet, stunning Warren & was effective with hard knees in the clinch, Warren did however, show his Greco-Roman wrestling pedigree, executing three takedowns and maintaining top position for long periods of the fight. Yamamoto was defeated by Warren via a split decision.[6] However during this time Yamamoto was going through a divorce with his wife.[7]

Yamamoto lost to SRC Featherweight Champion Masanori Kanehara via unanimous decision at Dynamite!! 2009 on New Year's Eve.

Yamamoto was expected to make his Strikeforce debut against Team Quest member Federico Lopez at Strikeforce: Heavy Artillery, but was later pulled out by DREAM and fought at Dream 14 against Lopez instead.[8] Yamamoto defeated Lopez via TKO (Punches) claiming his first victory after his last two consecutive upset losses.[9] In preparation for the fight Yamamoto decided to "reinvent" himself to the point that he lived and trained in Okinawa under former WBA Light Welterweight Champion Akinobu Hiranaka.[10]

Ultimate Fighting Championship

Yamamoto made his UFC debut against Demetrious Johnson, losing the fight via unanimous decision at UFC 126.[11]

Yamamoto was expected to face Chris Cariaso on May 28, 2011 at UFC 130.[12] However, Yamamoto was forced out of the bout with an injury and replaced by Michael McDonald.[13]

Yamamoto was expected to face Damacio Page on September 24, 2011 at UFC 135.[14] However, the bout was scrapped on September 1 after both fighters sustained injuries while training for the bout.[15] He then fought Darren Uyenoyama at UFC on Fox: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos. Despite landing several punches, including a knockdown in the second round,Yamamoto lost via unanimous decision after getting controlled for the majority of the fight. He is expected to fight in Japan at UFC 144.

Kickboxing career

Yamamoto faced Masato at K-1 Premium 2004 Dynamite!! in a highly anticipated match up under K-1 Rules, and lost via Decision. KID then faced Mike Zambidis at the K-1 World Max 2005 tournament, he would also lose this bout by KO early into the third round. On July 13, 2009, Yamamoto was defeated by Korean Kickboxer Jae Hee Cheon via KO at K-1 World MAX 2009 World Championship Tournament Final 8. He is now 1-3 under K-1 Rules.

Personal life

Norfumi Yamamoto went through a divorce with his wife in 2009 and has three children; two boys and one girl.[7] His wife at the time was Japanese female fashion model MALIA (マリア,新保真里有).

Championships and accomplishments

Mixed martial arts

Amateur wrestling

  • Japan Wrestling Federation
    • All-Japan Emperor's Cup Senior Freestyle National Championship 4th Place (2007)
    • All-Japan Emperor's Cup Senior Freestyle National Championship Runner-up (1999)
  • Arizona Interscholastic Association
    • AIA High School State Championship (1995, 1996, 1997)
    • AIA High School State Championship 3rd Place (1994)
    • Scholastic Career Record: 112-4 (1993-1997)

Mixed martial arts record

Result Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 18–5(1) United States Darren Uyenoyama Decision (unanimous) UFC on Fox: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos 02011-11-12 November 12, 2011 3 5:00 Anaheim, California, United States
Loss 18–4(1) United States Demetrious Johnson Decision (unanimous) UFC 126 02011-02-05 February 5, 2011 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 18–3(1) United States Federico Lopez TKO (punches) Dream 14 02010-05-29 May 29, 2010 1 1:41 Saitama, Japan Drops to Bantamweight
Loss 17–3(1) Japan Masanori Kanehara Decision (unanimous) Dynamite!! 2009 02009-12-31 December 31, 2009 3 5:00 Saitama, Japan
Loss 17–2(1) United States Joe Warren Decision (split) Dream 9 02009-05-26 May 26, 2009 2 5:00 Yokohama, Japan Dream Featherweight Grand Prix Quarterfinal
Win 17–1(1) Brazil Rani Yahya TKO (punches and soccer kicks) K-1 Premium 2007 Dynamite!! 02007-12-31 December 31, 2007 2 3:11 Osaka, Japan
Win 16–1(1) Brazil Bibiano Fernandes Decision (unanimous) Hero's 10 02007-09-17 September 17, 2007 3 5:00 Yokohama, Japan Bantamweight bout
Win 15–1(1) Hungary István Majoros TKO (punches) K-1 PREMIUM 2006 Dynamite!! 02006-12-31 December 31, 2006 1 3:46 Osaka, Japan
Win 14–1(1) Japan Kazuyuki Miyata KO (flying knee) Hero's 5 02006-05-03 May 3, 2006 1 0:04 Tokyo, Japan Fastest knockout in K-1 Hero's history
Win 13–1(1) Japan Genki Sudo TKO (punches) Hero's 4 02005-12-31 December 31, 2005 1 4:39 Osaka, Japan Hero's 2005 Lightweight Grand Prix final.
Win 12–1(1) Japan Caol Uno TKO (cut) Hero's 3 02005-09-07 September 7, 2005 2 4:04 Tokyo, Japan Hero's 2005 Lightweight Grand Prix semi-final.
Win 11–1(1) Brazil Royler Gracie KO (punch) Hero's 3 02005-09-07 September 7, 2005 2 0:38 Tokyo, Japan Hero's 2005 Lightweight Grand Prix quarter-final.
Win 10–1(1) Australia Ian James Schaffa TKO (punches) Hero's 2 02005-07-06 July 6, 2005 3 1:23 Tokyo, Japan
Win 9–1(1) Mongolia Jadamba Narantungalag KO (punches) K-1 World MAX 2004 Champions' Challenge 02004-10-13 October 13, 2004 1 1:55 Tokyo, Japan
Win 8–1(1) Japan Kazuya Yasuhiro Submission (Armbar) K-1 World MAX 2004 World Tournament Final 02004-07-07 July 7, 2004 2 2:40 Tokyo, Japan
Win 7–1(1) United States Tony Valente Submission (Rear Naked Choke) K-1 World MAX 2004 World Tournament Open 02004-04-07 April 7, 2004 1 0:58 Tokyo, Japan
Win 6–1(1) United States Caleb Mitchell KO (punch) Shooto 02003-09-05 September 5, 2003 1 0:40 Tokyo, Japan
Win 5–1(1) United States Jeff Curran Decision (unanimous) SuperBrawl 29 02003-05-09 May 9, 2003 3 5:00 Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
Win 4–1(1) Japan Tetsuo Katsuta TKO (punches) Shooto 02002-09-16 September 16, 2002 1 2:45 Yokohama, Japan
Loss 3–1(1) United States Stephen Palling TKO (cut) Shooto 02002-05-05 May 5, 2002 1 0:30 Tokyo, Japan
NC 3–0(1) United States Josh Thomson No Contest (Yamamoto Kicked in Groin) Shogun 1 02001-12-15 December 15, 2001 2 2:00 Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
Win 3–0 Japan Hideki Kadowaki TKO (punches) Shooto 02001-09-02 September 2, 2001 1 4:02 Tokyo, Japan
Win 2–0 Japan Masashi Kameda KO (punch) Shooto 02001-07-06 July 6, 2001 1 4:17 Tokyo, Japan
Win 1–0 Japan Masato Shiozawa Decision (unanimous) Shooto 02001-03-02 March 2, 2001 2 5:00 Tokyo, Japan

Kickboxing record

Date Result Opponent Event Method Round Time Location
July 13, 2009 Loss South Korea Jae hee Cheon K-1 World MAX 2009 World Championship Tournament Final 8 KO (Left Hook) 1 1:20 Japan Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, Japan
May 4, 2005 Loss Greece Mike Zambidis K-1 World Max 2005 Opening KO (Right Hook) 3 2:09 Japan Ariake Coliseum, Tokyo, Japan
December 31, 2004 Loss Japan Masato K-1 Premium Dynamite 2004 Decision (Unanimous) 3 5:00 Japan Kyocera Dome, Tokyo, Japan
February 24, 2004 Win Japan Takehiro Murahama K-1 World MAX 2004 Japan Tournament TKO (Referee Stoppage) 2 2:38 Japan Yoyogi National Gymnasium, Tokyo, Japan


  1. ^ <Kid in trouble with the Yakuza>
  2. ^ <Enson Inoue explains what happened>
  3. ^ Fighters Profile
  4. ^ Norifumi"KID"Yamamoto 山本 徳郁 VS Kazuyuki Miyata 宮田 和幸 on YouTube
  5. ^ Jordan Breen. ""KID" Yamamoto Injured in Olympic Wrestling Bid". Sherdog. 
  6. ^ Manojlovic, Stefan (2009-01-25). "DREAM 7 to feature Featherweight Grand Prix; Yamamoto offered first round bye". Retrieved 2009-01-25. 
  7. ^ a b
  8. ^ ""Kid" Yamamoto off Strikeforce St. Louis card, may fight at DREAM.14". 2010-04-29. 
  9. ^ "'Kid' Yamamoto finally regains his KO mojo at Dream 14 against Lopez". USA Today. 2010-05-29. 
  10. ^ ""Kid" Yamamoto return". Yahoo. 2010-05-04. 
  11. ^ "Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto Signs With UFC; Debuts Against Demetrious Johnson In February". 2010-12-10. 
  12. ^ "UFC 130: Norifumi 'Kid' Yamamoto vs Chris Cariaso booked for May 28". 2011-03-12. 
  13. ^ "McDonald replaces injured "Kid" Yamamoto, meets Cariaso at UFC 130". 2011-04-28. 
  14. ^ "Bantamweights "Kid" Yamamoto vs. Damacio Page targeted for UFC 135". June 13, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto vs. Damacio Page scratched from UFC 135 prelims". September 1, 2011. 

External links

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