Fans who are still sick from Anderson Silva’s technical fight against Thales Leites will soon get some medicine. On May 26th, DREAM presents their Super Hulk tournament, which is sure to be jam packed with the type of ring-rope-contained violence that Silva detractors crave. The matches are borderline absurd.

There is not one fight between two fighters in the same weight class, and it includes the headline-grabbing bout between baseball’s premiere juicer, Jose Canseco, and South Korean giant, Hong Man Choi. Although many bloggers and pundits have proclaimed that Canseco has no business in this tournament, no one has noted that another entrant belongs in this tournament the same way Michael Phelps belongs in Olympic swimming pools.

Ikuhisa “The Punk” Minowa first stepped into the ring back in 1996. In his first ten bouts he put up an uninspiring 1-8-1 record, but he was undeterred, and now he finds himself with a winning record and as veteran of 79 fights.

Despite being small enough to probably compete at 170 pounds, he often fluctuates between the approximate 185-pound and 205-pound divisions. However, he was never really able to catch on in either of those weight classes. His career began to take off when he developed a reputation as a giant killer.

In a Kazushi Sakuraba-esque fashion, Minowa has never shied away from making the big step up to heavyweight. As far back as 1999, the 5’9” and 180-pound Minowa did not hesitate to step in against 6’11” and 265-pound Semmy Schilt. Although he lost, he surprisingly was able to push the fight and force the current K-1 Super Heavyweight champion to a decision.

Since then, “The Punk” has continued to take fights at heavyweight and even super heavyweight, and despite his diminutive stature, he has often performed better than at his natural weight. Now, the freak show veteran is set to take on another super heavyweight, Bob Sapp, in the first round of the Super Hulk tournament.

To prepare, let’s take a look at Minowa’s top six freakiest open weight romps. His fights were rated by our “PRO MMA ( Freak-Show-Factor-Meter,” which takes into account size difference, an opponent’s freak show contributions, and odd in-match occurrences. The top six are listed bellow, ranked 6 to 1 with number 1 being the most ridiculous.

# 6
8/16/2008 DEEP Gladiator Ikuhisa Minowa vs. Don Frye

Size Difference
Frye is listed at 6’1” and 219 pounds. This means that he is only 4 inches taller than “The Punk,” but it also means that, back in August, Frye walked into the ring with a 39 pound weight advantage.

Opponent’s Freak Show Factor
Don Frye scores points on the PRO MMA Freak-Show-Factor-Meter for being more American than apple pie, having the voice of a lifetime cigar smoker, and taking out ultimate freak show fighter Akebono.

MMA fans will also remember his hilarious “Dear Don” segments during his days in the IFL. In one video he tells a listener, while holding an enormous machine gun, “you get married, then woman gets mean, she gains weight, and there’s no sex.”

The meter also gives points for his thick mustache, pro wrestling background, and staring role in Godzilla: Final Wars.

In actuality, there really was nothing in this match that distinguished it from any other run of the mill MMA fight. Minowa came out and put Frye on his back with a double leg take-down, and then went looking for a leg lock. He eventually found a knee-bar and ended the fight 3:56 into the first round. Of course, it was sort of odd that Minowa was able to score a double leg take-down so easily against the former Arizona State wrestler.

11/5/2006 PRIDE Bushido 13 Ikuhisa Minowa vs. Mike Polchlopek

Size Difference
Minowa was definitely the smaller fighter in this match up. Polchlopek is listed at 6’4” and 285 pounds, which translates into a 7 inch height advantage, and a 105 pound weight difference.

Opponent’s Freak Show Factor
A history in professional wrestling is always a welcome ingredient in a freak show fight. Although wrestling fans may not remember then name Mike Polchlopek, they will surely be familiar with his stage name Bart Gunn.

In addition to the normal body slams and steel chair shots, Polchlopek also took first place in the WWF’s “Brawl for All” shoot tournament. The tournament, which was designed to play off the mid nineties popularity of toughman contest, was a hodgepodge of wrestling and boxing.

With the victory, Polchlopek was chosen to represent the WWF against Butterbean at Wrestlemania, and he was summarily highlight reel KO’d.

After the fight, Polchlopek said, “I’m proud of myself for what I’ve done. I went the distance. I think I was lacking a little bit in the conditioning, but other than that I think I did very well.” Apparently, he did not do well enough, as he dropped a decision to the much smaller Minowa, and has not fought since. However, he did return to the WWE for the Raw 15th Anniversary spectacular back in 2007, but he was eliminated from the battle royal by Steve Blackman.

7/17/2005 PRIDE Bushido 8 Ikuhisa Minowa vs. Kimo Leopoldo

Size Difference
As a veteran of the open weight days of the sport, and a known steroid user, you would expect Kimo to have a size advantage. His 6’3” of height and weight of 235 pounds, afforded him an advantage of 6 inches of height and 55 pounds of weight.

Opponent’s Freak Show Factor
Leopoldo was the first man to challenge the mystique of Royce Gracie, but he still spikes the PRO MMA Freak-Show-Factor-Meter. Anyone who has not seen his instructional video is missing out on one of the most ridiculous things of our generation. Also, back in the day, Kimo even fought professional wrestler Bam Bam Bigelow. However it does not stop there. The police statement released about Leopoldo’s drug bust earlier this year cements Kimo as one of the ultimate freak show opponents. It reads, “Leopoldo was standing by his car, wearing sandals, playing with a yo-yo, and donning a Long Beach, CA police department jumpsuit which included a stitched on badge that can only be worn by sworn officers. The cotton jumpsuit was designed for officers in the 1990s to wear in the event of a major disaster response.”

Kimo was able to take Minowa down, but he was easily swept. Once on top Minowa secured an Achilles lock. Kimo tapped almost as quickly and fiercely as his training partner in the aforementioned instructional video. Bas Rutten was on commentary and indicated that Kimo only tapped due to pain since apparently an Achilles lock cannot cause injury. Later the WFA tried to use Rutten’s comments to fuel a showdown, but of course Kimo was caught all roided up and was forced out of the fight.

12/31/2007 K-1 Dynamite 2007 Ikuhisa Minowa vs. Zuluzinho

Size Difference
In America, a promoter might have been jailed for this type of match making. Zuluzinho is listed at 6’7” and 440 pounds. This means that he is 10 inches taller than Minowa, and a whopping 260 pounds heavier. This fight would have only been fair if Minowa had been given a heavyweight tag team partner.

Opponent’s Freak Show Factor
Zuluzinho is the son of Brazilian legend and Rickson Gracie challenger Rei Zulu. In addition to his enormous size, he gets points on the Freak-Show-Factor-Meter for being submitted via keylock by Butterbean even though he claims to be a BJJ purple belt.

Also, after being lit up by Fedor Emelianenko in only 26 seconds, the term “Zulu’d” became synonymous with “destroyed” in MMA circles. It could be said that Dbo was “Zulu’d” in the final act of Ice Cube’s Friday.

For most of the first two rounds Minowa literally ran circles around his massive opponent. Despite his giant fighting ability, Zuluzinho was finally able to maintain top position and rain down enough extra large punches to force Minowa’s corner to throw in the towel. Size was clearly a factor in the fight.

8/26/2006 PRIDE Bushido 12 Ikuhisa Minowa vs. Butterbean

Size Difference
Butterbean is certainly a stocky fellow at only 5’11” tall, but weighing 416 pounds. In this fight he was barely taller than Minowa, 5’9”, but he weighed 236 pounds more.

Opponent’s Freak Show Factor
Eric Esch earned his nickname “Butterbean,” since he had to eat nothing but chicken breasts in order to make weight for a toughman contest.

After turning to boxing, he earned the title “King of the Four Rounders” since his size limits his stamina, but he did go ten rounds with an over the hill Larry Holmes.

His conquests are not limited to the boxing ring, as he knocked out Johnny Knoxville in a retail store in the movie Jackass. Prior to fighting Minowa, his only MMA loss was to lightweight Genki Sudo.

Minowa went for a drop kick not once, but twice. After the first one he landed back on his fight, but after the second Minowa ended up on the bottom. Eventually he was able to sweep to side control. From there Minowa was able to lock in an armbar to finish the fight in the first round.

4/2/2006 PRIDE Bushido 10 Ikuhisa Minowa vs. Giant Silva

Size Difference
As a former professional basketball player, Giant Silva was only ever really attractive to MMA or professional wrestling promoters for his size. At 7’2” and 385 pounds, Silva is one of the biggest MMA competitors of all time. Against Minowa, he was 17 inches taller and 205 pounds heavier.

Opponent’s Freak Show Factor
Giant Silva is the ultimate freak show competitor. He has the professional wrestling pedigree, as he wrestled for the WWF as a member of the Oddities in the late 1990s. He has also completely failed to be even competitive in most of his fights.

Often times his strategy was to swing wildly like an angry medieval giant straight out of C.S. Lewis or T.H. White, which earned him a reputation as a lanky goof.

Over the course of his career he has gone 0-6 against fighters that are not former sumo wrestlers. His two wins are against Henry Miller and Akebono, both of which have an athletic background that involves wearing a big thong.

The actual fight is what pulls this match up to the number one spot. The much shorter Minowa performed a forward roll to get inside of Giant Silva’s reach and easily took him down. Once in side control, Minowa dominated with knees and forced the referee to step in and call the fight.

Where will Minowa’s next fight with Bob Sapp rank? A prelimary examination shows that Sapp has the freak show pedigree to maybe knock out one of these top six, but fans will have to wait until May 26th to find out.

By:  Richard Mann

Leave a Reply