After the new ADCC champions of the weight divisions were established this Sunday, it was time for the absolute and the moment everyone had been waiting for: the superfight between Zé Mario Sperry and Renzo Gracie.
The veterans match was no walk in the park, going to two overtimes, during which Zé landed a takedown. Nearly out of the match area, Gracie confirmed the point to the judges table: 2-0. Renzo had to hurry to turn the score around but suffered another three points from a guard pass for his efforts. The score stood, and Zé Mario is the champion.
“Renzo is smaller than me, so I thought I’d pass his guard during regulation time. But I enjoyed the training; I’m going to keep up this pace in the academy,” said Zé Mario.
Renzo too promises to keep up his training, now at 44 years of age: “The mat was so slippery that it was like being in a pool. This match was a warm-up for my MMA debut, soon!”
Next came the absolute final, and, in getting there, André Galvão and Pablo Popovitch had their work cut out for them. Following the opening stage, the quarterfinals were made up of Victor Estima vs. Pablo Popovitch, Gunnar Nelson vs. Xande Ribeiro, Sérgio Moraes vs. André Galvão, and Murilo Santana vs. Vinicius “Pezão” Magalhães.
Galvão was in firm contention to be champion both at weight and open weight, eliminating Sergio Moraes on points, while Pablo Popovitch outpointed Victor Estima, Xande made it past Gunnar Nelson, and Murilo Santana defeated by decision Vinny Magalhães, another who could have become two-divisional champ.
The semifinals were tough. Pablo Popovitch won a decision over Xande Ribeiro and Galvão beat Murilo on penalty points. Both finalists came from the under-88kg division – proof of how it is truly one of the most stacked divisions.
“We had seven matches but I still have fuel iin my tank!” said Galvão. Pablo approached Galvão, and the two slapped hands. The two avoided speaking to each other before the final battle, though. Earlier they had faced off at weight, and Galvão won by one takedown.
Prior to the decider, Xande Ribeiro beat Murilo Santana by 2 to 0, earning the absolute bronze medal. All that was left was the gold-medal deciding match. In it, Galvão was quick on the attack, swiftly catching Pablo Popovitch’s foot and cementing his place as the big name of ADCC 2011.
“I took a chance going for the footlock while points weren’t yet being counted, and it worked. I just stuck it in my head that I was going to win,” he said.
So now there’s a plumb matchup for him in the works for ADCC 2013: Bráulio Estima in the supermatch.
Check out further details at the GRACIEMAG at the ADCC Blog.
ADCC 2011 champions:
66kg: Rafael Mendes
77kg: Marcelinho Garcia
88kg: André Galvão
99kg: Dean Lister
+99kg: Vinny Pezão
Absoluto: André Galvão
-60kg: Kyra Gracie
+60kg: Gabi Garcia
Bráulio Estima defeated Ronaldo Jacaré
Zá Mário defeated Renzo Gracie