Frank Trigg takes on Bill Simpson in wrestling versus judo

Judoka Bill Simpson grapples wrestler Frank Trigg

Current day mixed martial marts is practiced almost exclusively by athletes who cross train in all of MMA’s core disciplines. Wrestling, boxing, BJJ, Muay Thai… The origins of the sport however are rooted in style vs style matchups. How would a great boxer fare against a top judoka? Would Tae Kwon Do be effective against a karate black belt? These are the questions that shaped what became modern day MMA.

Here we have a matchup from the halcyon days. The match is from 1995’s ACE World Series of Martial Arts and features future UFC title challenger Frank Trigg taking on judoka Bill Simpson. Trigg would later go on to earn a black belt in Judo under Patrick Burris, but he competes as a pure wrestler here. Trigg almost immediately attempts a double leg takedown, presumably in an attempt to win via pinfall in this pin or submission only contest. Simpson responds by wrapping his arms around Trigg’s neck and defending against the ropes. Trigg attempts to switch to a single leg but Simpson maintains his sprawl and Trigg is forced to give up the attempt and follow Simpson down to the mat.

The match is essentially lost at this point, with Trigg in a turtle position and Simpson with plenty of time to adjust his choke to his liking. Trigg makes one last attempt to stand and manages to reach his feet, but Simpson never lets up one bit on his choke and manages to drag Trigg back down where he goes unconscious in short order.

Trigg would go on to become a Judo black belt, Olympic Trials finalist wrestler, and have a fine MMA career. His only UFC losses have come to Welterweight champions or title challengers. On this night though, Simpson’s judo seems to be a little too much for him.