The showdown between Marcus Buchecha and Roger Gracie, the only men to win 10 black belt World titles, is under two weeks away – it’s time to get excited.
Buchecha, fresh off the back of double gold at the IBJJF World championships, has been seemingly invincible for many years. In contrast, Gracie has been absent from competitive jiu jitsu since 2010 (Metamoris Super Fight with Buchecha aside), with fans eagerly awaiting his return to the elite stage.
Alliance co-founder, Alexandre ‘Gigi’ Paiva, has been in London helping Gracie through the final stages of preparation, and he’s as excited as anyone to see this fight unravel.
“This is an amazing fight for jiu jitsu,” says Paiva. “Buchecha is younger, he’s world champion from a few weeks ago, so maybe he comes in a little bit more ready. But, man, if Buchecha makes a mistake, Roger will take it. For me, my opinion, when you have a fight like this, between two amazingly talented guys, it’s all about who can make the least mistakes. I believe whoever does that wins the fight.”
Roger’s father, Mauricio Gomes, is a longterm friend of Paiva, and he trains with Gigi at the Alliance academy in Rio when away from the UK. “I’ve known Mauricio and Roger for around 25 years – maybe more,” Gigi explains. “I’m old (laughs). We have trained together and helped each other a lot, so almost like a family. Roger is a very nice guy, a very nice person; a great example for jiu jitsu. He’s a gentleman, he’s well educated and he always shows respect to his opponent.”
Having coached jiu jitsu greats such as Fernando Terere and Leonardo Leite, Paiva has been putting Gracie through his paces and making sure to maximise each training session. “I didn’t know about his fight that long ago to be honest, as it was all arranged quite late,” says Gigi on arriving to coach Roger. “I was set for a trip with my wife, but when Roger told me about the fight I came to London early to help him prepare. I’ve been here to help push him; making sure he’s ready to compete and getting the best training he can. We’ve worked hard to make sure he can go and do a good job in Rio.
“The training here in London has been so nice. Everyone has been very helpful as I try to create the best training for Roger. Everyone here has the same spirit like Roger and I think he’ll take this to Brazil to win the battle.”
Gracie vs Buchecha is easily one of the most talked about Super Fights of recent times, with Paiva believing it could be remembered as one of the ‘great’ matches for the art: “I think this is the biggest fight ever in the history of jiu jitsu. When do you get two guys that have 10 black belt world titles each face each other?”
The match will take place on July 23rd, and is available to watch live on FloGrappling.
Don’t forget to check out Gracie’s new online instructional website, Roger Gracie TV