From Paquetá’s vault: Demian Maia vs. Léo Dalla at the ADCC 2001 trials

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Before being made a biennial event, the ADCC Worlds was held in four consecutive years in the United Arab Emirates, starting with its 1998 debut. For its fourth edition at home, before it became itinerant, trials were held in Rio de Janeiro, with some of those fights deserving special attention.

Among them is the duel between Demian Maia and Léo Dalla, captured by the lens of the sorely missed Osvaldo Paquetá. Currently a UFC athlete, in 2001 Demian was still a purple-belt weighing around 82kg. But this match was in the 99kg division, and he was unable to defeat a heavier Dalla — a fighter who had already stepped on World Championship podiums as a black-belt. The lesson is that no great champion is built without great challenges and some setbacks along the way.

Watch the fight here:

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