Stars aren’t born overnight, but Marcelinho Garcia, with his intelligence on the mat, had a meteoric rise in BJJ. Before winning his first world title in 2004, the Alliance representative had a remarkable run at ADCC 2003, held 15 years ago in São Paulo.
Fighting in the 77kg division alongside Renzo Gracie, Fernando Tererê, Márcio Feitosa, Vitor Shaolin and Daniel Moraes, he was an underdog.
But after kicking off his campaign with a rear naked choke over Kiuma Kunioku, Marcelinho beat Renzo Gracie by sweeping, passing and taking the back. Having gotten past the favorite, Marcelinho met Vitor Shaolin — another serious contender to the gold medal — in the semifinal.
The match with the Nova União athlete lasted 24 seconds. Marcelinho feigned a guard pull and, with an arm drag, arrived on the back to apply the choke. Shaolin tried to escape, but the rear naked choke was sunk so swiftly, there wasn’t even enough time to tap out.
Marcelinho would become ADCC world champion hours later as he handed Otto Olsen another RNC, essentially announcing to the world the beginning of one of the greatest careers in competitive BJJ.
You can catch the historic semifinal match here: