Nobutatsu Suzuki decided to take up Kyokushin Karate as a 15-year-old after losing a street fight. He went on to become heavyweight champion at a high school tournament in Tochigi Prefecture, heavyweight champion at a Kyokushin tournament in West Castle and heavyweight champion at MAC Karate Challenge Championship as well as winning numerous other competitions before taking up MMA at the age of 27.
Since making his professional debut in 2005 Suzuki has put together an impressive 10-1-2 record culminating in a first round TKO victory over seasoned veteran Phil Baroni at ONE FC: ‘Rise to Power’ last May.
The 36-year-old Tokyo native is renowned for his striking prowess and his ten wins have all come by way of stoppage due to strikes. Four of those opponents have been finished with knees and the other six put away with punches and Suzuki puts this power entirely down to his Karate training.
He was so impressive on his ONE FC debut that matchmaker Matt Hume decided to award Suzuki with an immediate title shot against top welterweight contender Adam Kayoom. That matchup was initially set to headline ONE FC: ‘Warrior Spirit’ last November but unfortunately the Malaysian suffered a serious injury in training.
A late replacement was found in the shape of undefeated Portugese welterweight Victor Pinto but he failed a medical and the non title bout was scrapped leaving Suzuki without an opponent. It was a frustrating experience for a fighter who is forced to schedule his training around full time work.
As well as being one of the best 170 lbs mixed martial artists in Asia he is also employed a by a law firm and Suzuki spends his days working in an office. It’s an unusual, if not unique, combination of careers but being unable to train full time hasn’t hindered his ability to establish himself as one of the most feared strikers in the region.
With Kayoom still out injured the man now standing between Suzuki and the ONE FC World Welterweight Title is American Brock Larson. He holds a 37-7 record and is a UFC veteran and former WEC title contender.
The two welterweights will clash at ONE FC: ‘War of Nations’ in Kuala Lumpur on March 14th. The title is on the line and Suzuki is excited about the prospect of becoming an MMA champion for the first time.
“I have won many titles in Karate but never MMA. I signed with ONE FC because I wanted to test my skills against the best fighters in the world and winning the title is the best way to prove you are the best,” he said.
Larson holds a black belt in BJJ whereas Suzuki is a Karate black belt and the Japanese fighter is anticipating a highly competitive clash of styles.
“I started MMA because I wanted to see if Karate would work in this sport. I know Brock Larson is very good on the ground and dangerous with submissions but I am always very confident I can win every fight and this fight is no different.”
Suzuki’s striking has been too good for ten separate opponents so far in his MMA career but he has never faced anyone with Larson’s grappling pedigree. March 14th will be the ultimate test of his Karate based skill set and with the ONE FC Welterweight World Championship title on the line the stakes could not be higher.