Last Sunday made it to the BJJ history books. Gracie Pro, held in Rio, was the stage for the second clash between Roger Gracie and Marcus Buchecha. The two ten-time world champions had previously fought in 2012 — an encounter that ended in a tie.
Sunday’s fight began with Buchecha setting the pace, with single-leg takedown attempts. But Roger kept his cool. After standing up, Roger seized the initiative and brought the fight back to the ground.
Instead of pulling into his feared closed guard, Roger pulled Buchecha sideways. With a knee in the middle and a firm grip on Buchecha’s left sleeve, Roger got up and skillfully reached the Checkmat star’s back. The audience was roaring as Roger adjusted the choke, and then the tapout occurred 6’52” in. Roger Gracie was saying farewell to the mats with the last win his career had been missing.
“I frustrated him a bit as I defended against the takedowns at the start of the fight,” Roger told Graciemag. “He ramped up the pace at the start, but he could not reach his strong position. My strategy was to cook a little in the first five minutes. He expected me to pull into closed guard, but I pulled sideways with the knee — a strong position of mine. I landed right on his back. He came to the side of my good hand, and I knew I wasn’t leaving that position anymore — all that was left was to adjust.”
A disappointed Buchecha said: “My mistake was letting him dictate the pace of the fight. He managed to do a good grip on my left arm and messed me up a lot. When he got up, I erred. The strategy was to not turn so much on the ground, but I ended up turning on reflex, and wound up paying the price.”