When Worlds Collide: Kimo Leopoldo vs Bam Bam Bigelow

In the November of 1996 both these fighters from different worlds meet in the land of the rising sun for the fighting promotion, U-Japan. Kimo Leopoldo already had two years of experience at this point- he was one of the first fighters to ever step into the Ocatagon(UFC 3). He took on the now legendary Royce Gracie in which what was at the time, the toughest opponent the two-time defending UFC champion had ever faced. Some say that Kimo would have fared much better if Gracie didn’t resort to pulling Kimo’s trademarked pony tail in order to gain position to execute an armbar that would end the fight.

Kimo’s shoot encounter with wrestler Scott “Bam Bam” Bigelow would be Kimo’s six fight but second straight fight against a pro-wrestler. In July of 1996 he had faced and defeated the debuting Kazushi Sakuraba in Tokyo, Japan with a head and arm triangle. Kimo fought a total of eight or nine pro-wrestlers in his MMA career, depending on what you consider a pro-wrestler. Paul Varelans is a toss up, he did appear on ECW and got choked out by Taz in a “shoot fight” after he was promised a night with Missy Hyatt. Yeah, that is how the world of pro-wrestling works.

Bam Bam Bigelow was a beast of a man, so much so he was named the “Beast from the East”. Bigelow ranks as one of the top big men wrestlers of all-time. He was once tipping the scale at 400 pounds with a 6’4″ frame that could perform high flying moves regardless of his mammoth size. Despite being gifted in size and agility, Bigelow never did see much top tier success as a wrestler. He held the ECW championship for a short period but really nothing really of note except for his Wrestlemania match with Lawrence Taylor. An interesting triva note is that this fight with Kimo came during his ECW stint. Bam Bam mentioned on a RF video shoot that he received $100,000 purse for this fight but others claim it was only $75,000. It’s quite apparent that Bigelow had very limited training, if any, in shoot fighting but for the purse he was given it was well worth it for him.

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