The headline on GRACIEMAG #77 read: “The mother of all fights.”
That’s how we tried to put in words one of the most thrilling matches in the history of the ADCC.
Ricardo “Cachorrão” Almeida and Ronaldo “Jacaré” Souza met in the semifinal of the -88kg division of the 2003 ADCC, in São Paulo, Brazil.
Cachorrão had Renzo Gracie on his corner while Jacaré had friend and teammate Fernando Tererê giving him instructions.
The match lasted almost 40 minutes, but could have ended in less than one.
Right in the very beginning, Jacaré caught Cachorrão in a tight guillotine, but could not get the tap.
After that, both stood up and spent the next minutes exchanging takedown attempts.
Around the eighth minute, Jacaré managed a double leg but the two fighters ended up out of bounds.
Cachorrão, in great shape, stepped on the gas and managed to almost catch Jacare’s back twice.
Regulation time ended with a tie.
Right at the beginning of the first overtime, Cachorrão tried a rear-naked choke, but could not lock it in place.
The search for the opponent’s legs continued and both fighters seemed tireless.
At the very end of the first overtime, Jacaré almost got to Cachorrão’s back, but Ricardo resisted and both ended up in a insane scramble that landed them out of bounds.
The first overtime also ended with a tie.
Cachorrão went for a takedown at the beginning of the second overtime and was one hook away from taking Jacaré’s back, but could not get the points.
Another five minutes passed without points being scored by either fighter.
Once again the refs gathered to decide if they were going to choose a winner or allow another overtime.
And so the third one came along.
After Jacaré attacked with a takedown, Cachorrão went for an americana on his left arm, but Jacaré defended well.
After one last attempt of takedown by Cachorrão, the third overtime ended.
Both fighters celebrated, but the refs still wanted to see another five minutes.
At this point, the whole crowd was paying attention to the match despite two other mats also having matches going on.
Roughly two minutes into the fourth overtime, Jacaré put his judo to work and got a takedown.
Cachorrão turned on his stomach to defend the pass, but eventually gave up his back.
The score was now 6-0 in favor of Jacaré.
After some struggle, Cachorrão was able to get Jacaré off of his back and they stood up again.
Behind on the scoreboard, Cachorrão went after Jacaré for a takedown and maybe a back take to tie the match.
Jacaré played it safe and with a lot of sprawls defended his lead until time ran out.
As soon as the match ended, Cachorrão applauded his opponent and after the ref raised Jacaré’s arm, the two warriors hugged for a long time.
They knew they had done something very special.
GRACIEMAG’s story on the match (it deserved a full feature aside the main story devoted to the 2003 ADCC) read: “The end of a great battle makes both fighters respect each other even more. Without the other, they wouldn’t be able to display the greatness they did. They would never be able to walk out of that mat as better fighters and better human beings if it wasn’t for the other.”
Watch the whole match on the five videos below.