With the IBJJF gi world championships behind us, we’re now only months away from the next instalment of the ADCC – nogi grappling’s premiere bi-annual offering.
There have been many classic ADCC performances over the years: Braulio Estima’s 2009 Barcelona run; Marcelo Garcia’s dominant 2011 in Nottingham; Gordon Ryan and Felipe Pena’s near perfect performances in Finland; Andre Galvao’s continued dominance through 2017 (and record breaking collection of titles) – the list goes on and on. However, there is one ADCC performance that, for us, stands out as the greatest in the history of the event: Roger Gracie’s perfect run of 2005, where he submitted ALL of his opponents on the way to gold in both the -99kg and absolute division – a feat yet to be repeated. Let’s rewind to 2005…
Having competed at the 2003 rendition of the ADCC as an underdog, Roger Gracie arrived in Los Angeles two years later as a favourite. It was the first time the ADCC had been hosted on US soil, and it would set the perfect backdrop for Roger to write his name in the history books.
Gracie arrived at the ADCC coming off the back of his famous IBJJF Worlds final against Ronaldo Jacare. Jacare had somewhat controversially beaten Gracie at the Mundials, having toughed-out the final minutes of their match by avoiding engagement – and with a suspected broken arm. This loss no doubt served as a bitter pill to swallow for the London-based Gracie, who would have a chance to set the record straight in the realm of nogi grappling.
Roger fought a total of eight times across the -99kg and absolute brackets, finishing every match via submission (his match against Alexandre Cacareco ended via verbal submission, with the fighter unable to continue after extended overtime).
On route to his memorable final against Ronaldo Jacare in the absolute division, Roger’s day of competition saw him claim the notable scalps of Shinya Aoki, Fabrício Werdum, Eduardo Telles and Xande Ribeiro. The final itself remains one of the most talked about ADCC matches ever, with Roger finally securing Jacare’s back and sinking in the RNC as Jacare stood to escape (full match below).
So far Gordon Ryan has come the closest to equalling Gracie’s record of double gold and all submission finishes, but Felipe Pena’s title winning performance in the 2017 absolute final nipped that in the bud.
Now, over 14 years later – and with the ADCC set to return to the USA – could we finally see someone equal Gracie’s record breaking performance?