“The 2005 ADCC, in Long Beach!”
When you ask why he chose that specific tournament, the answer also comes quickly.
“It was the most demanding competition I have ever competed in. Despite the fact that I was able to submit all my opponents, I wasn’t able to have control of any of my matches. All of them were incredibly demanding and at one specific moment I was able to reach a good position to get the finish.”
Roger campaign at the 2005 ADCC was composed of eight matches at the open class and the -99kg divisions.
He finished seven opponents and Alexandre Cacareco quit due to exhaustion before the second overtime in the -99kg division final.
Among the eight matches, two stand out as special; the open class semifinal against Xande Ribeiro and the open class final against Ronaldo Jacaré.
Legends on their own, Xande and Jacaré are without a doubt Roger’s toughest rivals.
In the gi, Roger fought each of the two twice at the Worlds black belt open class final and was never able to win.
He lost to Jacaré in 2004 and 2005 and to Xande in 2006 and 2008.
Nevertheless, on May 29, 2005, he had a dream-like campaign.
Roger got to the semifinal with a foot lock on Shinya Aoki and then a rear-naked choke on Fabrício Werdum.
Xande made to the semifinal also with two submissions, first on Antoine Jaoude and then a rear-naked choke on Gabriel Gonzaga.
In the semifinal, Xande started out with a single-leg attempt, but Roger defended well.
On the ground, the biggest threat came in form of triangle, but Roger made posture to avoid the pressure and ends up on Xande’s back.
Then, he put the hooks in and went for the rear-naked choke.
At the same time, Ronaldo Jacaré is finishing Marcelo Garcia with a kimura in less than two minutes for his place in the open class final.
The gold medal match was one of those moments the crowd knows something special would happen.
The silence in the venue was noticeable.
The two stand at the beginning of the match, trying to get a good position for a takedown.
Roger goes for a guillotine, but Jacaré escapes and they go to the ground, Roger is playing closed guard.
The Gracie tries to attack Jacare’s arms from the guard, but to no avail.
Back on their feet, Jacaré goes for a suplex takedown thinking points are already being counted, but it’s still too soon.
The fight begins to be decided at the 18th minute, when Jacaré goes for another takedown and Roger lands in control of the opponent’s waist.
The Gracie puts one hook in while they are still on the ground, before Jacaré is able to stand up again.
Roger closes the body triangle and goes for the rear-naked choke.
Jacaré tries to walk around but eventually taps.
Roger is surrounded by his teammates and family members as he screams in triumph.
Watch the match.
After the match, Roger said how happy he was with what he had achieved: “I’m glad to have won in this manner, finishing all my opponents. I don’t know if I’m the best, but I know that I am still far away from my peak.”
The fact is, no one was ever able to repeat Roger’s feat and submit all their opponents on the way to a double gold campaign at the ADCC.
The 2015 ADCC takes place August 29-30, in São Paulo, Brazil.