While Braúlio Estima, sporting a red jacket, concedes his last interview, seated on grey mat number 2 in the middle of the main arena, a shirtless Ronaldo Souza approaches Gilberto Faria, “Sorry, Gilberto.”
Jacaré’s friend and manager responds with a friendly embrace. “After that fight at Strikeforce, it was a great performance. Worthy of a bonus from the Sheikh,” said Gil. It was indeed a riveting supermatch, the one that brought Saturday at ADCC 2011 to a close.
It was a slim score but Bráulio’s countless attack attempts made it all worthwhile and lit up the spectators, from mere mortals to the likes of Rickson Gracie and Rubens Cobrinha. “I dug some of Bráulio’s attacks, there were some things in there that can transition well to a calf-crunch,” Cobrinha would say, in a conversation between black belts.
When the showdown began, the feeling that overtook Bráulio was one of pleasure. “When I saw him before me, I couldn’t believe the moment had finally come. I was simply overjoyed.” It was the fifth time the two face each other, and Carcará was dreaming of his first win against him. And it would come, 30 warish minutes later.
Standing, Carcará would take the initiative with takedown attempts, to which Jacaré didn’t attempt to answer. On the ground, Bráulio attacked with a straight footlock with a sweep already in his sights – a classic submission grappling maneuver but with the details of a guard-playing whiz, one of the best in Jiu-Jitsu at present.
Jaca played on the defense, awaiting his moment to pounce, which came after the 20-minute regulation time, during the 10-minute overtime. Jaca launched an attack, pinning the 2009 absolute champion to the ground. “But was training that with Roger,” said Carcará later, “I didn’t even get nervous. The mat was really slippery; I knew I could get up before he stabilized and scored points.”
With no point advantage, Jacaré forged ahead. He knew he’d had his chance. Now it was Bráulio’s turn, and he didn’t waste it. In 50-50 guard, he attacked Jaca’s foot, nearly swept, Jacaré turned over and Bráulio stuck in his hooks, which counts for three points in the ADCC.
“I’d already put him on his butt twice. When I caught his hip I though, ‘He’s not getting out of this one!’” said Carcará. Jacaré skillfully untangled himself, despite painfully injured ribs from his Strikeforce fight on the 10th. But it was to no avail, the judges gave the new superchampion his three points.
Once the bout had ended, Jacaré raised Bráulio’s hand and recognized his defeat: “I was impossible to get out of that title fight at Strikeforce 100%, so I fought with what I had,” said Jacaré. So he packed his things in his backpack, remembered how he had quickly removed the hooks, and told the reporter: “But how quickly they awarded those points, huh?”
A rematch maybe? “I’d fight him again no problem. I don’t think he can pass my guard,” said Carcará in closing.