Lethal, reliable, undefeated, Roger Gracie is the best.
Fast, unpredictable and powerful, Marcus Buchecha is the best.
Is it ok to ask the question already?
With Marcus Buchecha’s third black belt open class title in a row, his shadow is doubtless hanging over the idea of Roger being the Greatest Of All Times in competition Jiu-Jitsu.
The 24-year-old Checkmat superstar already has six world titles as a black belt, three in his division and three in the open class.
Also rooting for him is his display of a combination of speed, technique and power.
Whoever saw one of Buchecha’s match know that it is never over before it is over.
At the 2014 Worlds, several times he started out in a slower pace only to explode and turn the fight around to win by points or to tap the opponent.
He did that in the ultra-heavy final against Alex Trans, when he recovered from a guard pass and took Trans’ back to finish.
He also did that in the open class semifinal against Keenan Cornelius, when he turned a very close match into a 7 – 2 victory after being called a staller by the Atos crowd.
Results wise, there are a lot of facts that go in favor of Buchecha in his campaign to take Roger’s post.
He is a three-time open class champion and the only one to have done it three years in a row.
Unlike the Gracie, Buchecha never lost a open class final and he never faced a teammate in the final.
Buchecha reached his three titles by beating fierce opponents in Leonardo Nogueira (2012) and Rodolfo Vieira (2013, 2014).
Buchecha is the author of the biggest points difference in a open class final, when he outscored Vieira 9 – 0 in 2013.
Buchecha’s personal score in battles against his generation’s second greatest, Rodolfo, is a 5 – 1 blow out.
On the other hand, Roger’s records are equally impressive.
He’s the only male black belt to have finished all his opponents in a World Jiu-Jitsu championship when he won double gold in 2009.
He has 10 world titles as a black belt.
He qualified to the black belt open class final for eight years in a row, from 2003 to 2010.
Unlike Buchecha, who lost to Leo Nogueira in 2011, Roger has never been defeated in his weight category in a world championship.
Also unlike Buchecha, who tapped to Rodolfo Vieira in 2011, Roger never had to tap in his run as a black belt.
Another factor in favor of Roger is that he was able to finish both his greatest opponents in Xande Ribeiro (Pan 2006) and Ronaldo Jacaré (ADCC 2005).
Roger also has the honor of being the only one to have won two open class finals by submission (2007, 2009).
The dispute is so close to call that not even the only time they faced each other is of any use to settle the score.
The Metamoris 2012 fight, a 20-minute match where no points were scored and submission only would appoint a winner ended as a tie.
Roger, admittedly distant from his best physical conditions, managed to start out stronger, pass Buchecha’s guard and almost get the mount.
Buchecha, in the other hand, ended the match with a bang, getting the closest anyone ever got in Roger’s career to tap him with a sick armlock.
Roger’s supporters will say that his record is still clearly superior to Buchecha’s.
Buchecha’s supporters will reply that the young gun only needs more time to overcome Roger’s accomplishments.
Maybe the 2015 Worlds will be the ultimate stage to settle this score in a dream-like black belt open class final.
Who do you pick?
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