The official result may have been a draw, but Eddie Bravo sounds at least as excited about last Sunday’s match with Royler Gracie at Metamoris 3, as he did when he shocked the jiu-jitsu world with a submission win over the legend at Abu Dhabi back in 2002.
In fact, maybe he’s even more so. And maybe he should be.
Unlike his victory over Gracie over ten years ago, where the mostly unheralded Bravo felt “shut down” before scoring the triangle choke off a transition (as he described to Total-MMA, “I totally pulled that out of my ass”), Bravo was able to showcase his “10th Planet” jiu-jitsu system against Gracie on Sunday: sweeps, guard passes, and unorthodox submission attempts throughout the match’s 20 minute duration. While not quite able to score a submission against his old foe, who remains among the most decorated jiu-jitsu competitors of all time, Bravo dominated much of the action.
Still, it was a submission-only match, without the usual scoring system in place — so it ended in a draw.
Yesterday on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Bravo detailed the particulars of the match to his to old friend and training partner Rogan, including a move-by-move commentary of both matches. It was a real treat for anyone who loves the art of jiu-jitsu and Bravo’s creative expression of it.
Full video is here (please note language is not safe for work).
(At 40 minutes in, Rogan and Bravo begin breaking down the first match between Bravo and Gracie. At 48, they detail the rematch.)
Bravo hailed Royler and the Gracie family in a post-match interview on Sunday, and according to Bravo, his respect for the legend and his family, in fact, is what inspired Bravo to pursue the rematch.
He would tell Rogan:
“Most people in the late 90s, their dream was to go against Royler. He’s the best, and he’s the son of Helio Gracie. (Royler) was the ‘145 lb. Rickson!’ I was lucky enough to get to face him once. Whether to prove it was a fluke or not, whatever… it was a reason to make it happen.”
Gracie, at age 48 to Bravo’s 43 years, looked and performed remarkably well in his own right, fighting out of submissions and pressuring down in Bravo’s half guard. In one memorable exchange, the crowd erupted as Royler secured an overhook to apply pressure in Bravo’s half guard, before erupting again as Royler scored a sweep.
In his 2005 book “Jiu-Jitsu Unleashed,” Eddie Bravo offered a dedication to the Gracie family, including Royler, his father Helio, and his brother Rickson:
“Thank you Helio Gracie for being the warrior and innovator that you are. Who has tougher sons than you? No one… Thank you Rickson for being the superman of the jiu-jitsu world. Thank you Royler for being you. Without you and your unbelievable achievements in the grappling world, this book would not exist.”
Strangely, Royler’s brother Royce, yet another of the family’s fighting legends, would confront Bravo backstage after the event, claiming the family had been disrespected by Bravo.
“I told him that I liked what he said after the fight,” Royce told MMA Fighting yesterday, “but didn’t like the fact that he always talked trash about Royler and my family.”
The two were separated by Bravo’s mentor Jean Jacques Machado, whose own Machado clan of jiu-jitsu artists is regarded cousins of the Gracie family in Brazil. But Eddie denies ever speaking ill of Royler or any of the Gracie family, telling Rogan: “Someone lied to him. I want to find out who the hell it is.”
“I’m in the jiu-jitsu business,” Eddie told Ariel Helwani earlier in the day on The MMA Hour. “I’d have to be a complete retard to disrespect the Gracies and not acknowledge what they’ve done for my life.”