It’s hard to believe that it’s been seven months since Dream’s Super Hulk Tournament burst onto the MMA scene to show the world what a real freak show is all about. The opening round featured Japanese shit-show regulars like Bob Sapp and Hong Man Choi, but also new faces like Jose Canseco, and even Gegard Mousasi before he pulled out to explore less freakish fighting goals. But now the tournament has been whittled down to two remaining giant-slayers, and the good people at Dream put together this highlight to remind us what’s at stake this New Year’s Eve when Dynamite!! 2009 ushers in the finale of a pursuit many believed was too ridiculous even for Japan.
The irony here is that the two finalists in the Super Hulk tournament — Ikuhisa Minowa and Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou — were two of the least super hulky guys in the tournament. Not that it’s surprising that Sapp and Choi failed to make it to the finals (hell, Sapp went 0-2, which is kind of impressive considering it was a single-elimination tournament), but Minowaman vs. Sokoudjou is actually an unusually normal fight for New Year’s Eve in Japan.
Since Minowaman is a Japanese pro wrestling icon, while Sokoudjou is the scary African guy who won’t stop hitting an opponent just because the referee is acting as a human shield to protect him, it’s easy to see who’s likely to have the support of the fans in the Saitama Super Arena. As for who has the better shot at victory, that’s a tougher one.
Minowaman beat both his opponents in the tournament with leg-related submissions, so he’s a threat to twist your knee or ankle into knots from pretty much any position. Sokoudjou, on the other hand, has been a vicious lion when he’s matched up against hapless fat guys, and little more than a kitten when he has to fight someone legit. The last non-hulk he beat was Kazuhiro Nakamura back in 2008, and since then he’s been knocked out by Luis Cane and Mousasi, as well as submitted by "Babalu" Sobral.
What do you say, Potato Nation? Will Sokoudjou’s Super Hulk fire be enough to carry the day? Or will Minowaman pull off another submission to claim the freak show title once and for all in the name of the city of Japan?