“This is the closest we’ll ever get to seeing Marcelo vs Rickson.” wrote user PitchfeverAcademy in his comment on the You Tube video of one of the best grappling matches of all times.
On September 27, 2009, in Barcelona, Spain, Marcelo Garcia and Kron Gracie battled for a spot in the -77kg semifinals.
Kron was still an unexperienced black belt, being promoted to the ranking by his father a little over an year earlier.
Nevertheless, the talent and the competitive drive were all there, as his performance during the 14 minutes against one of the greatest of all times clearly proved.
Marcelo Garcia was already Marcelo Garcia.
At that point, he was a three-time black belt world champion (2004, 2006, 2008) and a three-time ADCC champion (2003, 2005, 2007).
The truth is, Kron didn’t care about the opponent’s list of achievements at all.
Two days before the match, he told us in a quick interview: “If the opponents weren’t tough this wouldn’t be such an important event as it is.”
Rickson’s son would also recognize his own lack of experience: “I have fought a few no-gi competitions, but this one is going to be the first real one.”
Marcelinho, as always, was the poster boy for the cool Jiu-Jitsu guy. His answers to GRACIEMAG’s questions were priceless.
How did you prepare for the event?
“As I have been doing since I moved to the USA, I prepared training with my students at my academy.”
Do you feel pressure with the possibility of being the first four times champion in ADCC history?
“Not at all. Each time I competed, there was some kind of pressure and I always managed to deal with it.”
Kron and Marcelo warmed up on their first match in the division before the quarterfinals.
Kron caught Enrico Cocco with a rear-naked choke while Garcia caught Rodney Ellis with a guillotine.
And then it was time.
The match started with a quick standing game, but Marcelo soon sat down and started working on his sweeps/takedowns.
Kron defended well and kept pushing Marcelo’s face back.
At one point, the referee stopped the match and told Kron he could only push Garcia on the top of the head ibut not on the face.
When the points started being counted after the first 5 minutes, the match got more intense.
Kron engaged on top and Marcelo was able to work a hook sweep but was unable to stabilize the position to get the points.
Back on top, Kron jumped guard and tried his first guillotine, from which Marcelo escaped and almost established side control.
Once again, Kron scrambled and and recovered guard.
The ten minutes were over and we went into the five-minute overtime.
Marcelo got a takedown to go ahead on the scoreboard.
On top, Garcia worked the pass, but ended up in the most dangerous spot of the entire match.
Kron captured his neck and squeezed the guillotine.
Cool and in control, Marcelo created space and escaped his head.
Later on, with a smile on his face he told GRACIEMAG: “Man, that was close. I almost tapped there.”
After the failed guillotine, Kron got up and tried a takedown to tie the score.
Marcelo defended well and Kron also tried to take his back, but was unsuccessful.
In fact, Marcelo got another takedown and landed in Kron’s closed guard.
Garcia then worked the pass and at this point Kron seemed a bit tired.
In the last minute of the match, Garcia got the pass and the mount to work his own guillotine.
Kron tried to resist a bit, but eventually had to tap out.
The crowd applauded loudly and as they knew they had witnessed two great grapplers give their all on the mat.
Here’s the video of the match so you can also relive that thrilling day.