The man days of UFC. The clock counts up and no weight classes!
Let’s go back to the days when head butts, hair grabs and wearing a jiu-jitsu gi were legal in mixed martial arts. All these three things were shown by Royce Gracie in his battle against Kimo Leopoldo, Hawaii native and a devoted Christian missioner who was reported to spread the Word for half a year saving the other half for fighting.
It was September 9, 1994 when UFC 3 took place in Grady Cole Center, Charlotte, NC. Six fights were on the card featuring Steve Jennum and Harold Howard in the main event. The battle between Gracie and Leopoldo started with epic walkouts. All members of the Gracie family – the so-called “Gracie Train” – slowly made their way to the cage holding each other by the shoulders and representing family spirit. Leopoldo, in his turn, appeared with a cross on his back, which was a huge surprise not only for the fans but for the promoters – prior to the fight the cross came disassembled in a bag and almost everyone thought it was a bag with some extra gear. Anyway, the Hawaiian walkout was also a great success.
Leopoldo’s fighting skills, based on taekwondo techniques, however, didn’t impress anyone – Gracie just gave him no chance. Even when Leopoldo, who was almost sixty pounds heavier, was on Gracie’s back, the Brazilian didn’t lose control of the fight and his ground game was precise, timely and well-measured. Gracie needed one chance and he got it four minutes and forty seconds into the fight – a lightning quick armbar forced Kimo Leopoldo to tap out.