Mundials Memories: The Year of Margarida

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They fought twice in that World Championship.

Saulo Ribeiro and Fernando “Margarida” Pontes were the two best competitors in 2001.

They were face to face in the medium-heavyweight and the open class final matches.

Unfortunately for Saulo, Margarida was in a special day on that July 29.

To get to the absolute final, Marga finished Paulo Streckert with a choke, Adriano Maciel with an armbar and Leo Dalla, also with an armbar.

The semifinal was against the sitting two-time open class world champion, Rodrigo “Comprido” (picture above).

“Up until now I had only lost to Comprido. He has already won the Worlds open class twice and I finally managed to defeat him in a very tough fight,” said Margarida after the win by points and the spot in the final against Saulo.

Graciemag #55 brought the complete coverage of the two matches between Saulo and Margarida. Here’s the report of the medium-heavyweight final.

More aggressive, Saulo made his grips and managed a takedown, getting the lead. On the ground, he used the same pass he used with success against all other opponents. Margarida reacts as Saulo is trying to hug his head and manages to recover his guard. Saulo tries again and again with no success and the fight eventually goes back to the standing game.

On their feet, they exchange grips with Marga breaking Saulo’s grips twice. At that point, someone in the audience says something that sounded like an omen: “Saulo is tired”. Margarida couldn’t hear that, but as hi did he goes in for a takedown to what Saulo has no defense. On the ground, Margarida keeps on going for the pass, the knee on the belly and finally the choke from the side control. Saulo Has almost no reaction to Marga’s attacks and the tap comes fast. Margarida celebrates and as the referee raises his arm to make the result official, Saulo says to Margarida: “There’s still another one!”

The other was the open class final, a title Saulo wanted more than anything. As they did roughly two hours before, Saulo and Marga stared at each other before the referee started the match. This time, Saulo’s face brought a more tired look, while Margarida looked the same as before, with an anxious glance.

Taking an early 2-0 lead, Marga managed a takedown. Saulo was able to stand up, but Margarida kept the pressure on until the very end. When the referee signaled that the fight was over, Margarida wanted to protest it: “What? No!” he yelled, still not aware that he had won and was the 2001 world open class champion. Later he talked about his feat: “I’m so happy that I’m speechless! I’ve won the world championship and defeated one of the best competitors there is. I ‘ve prepared myself to win both divisions and I did it!” said Margarida.

And as his final act that year, Margarida made history as the only athlete to ever ride a motorcycle on the mats of the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship after winning the brand new bike from one of the event’s sponsors.

Watch this rare Brazilian program hosted by a certain Jorge Guimarães with the highlights of the 2001 World Jiu-Jitsu Championship.

Here is a never before seen photo gallery of Margarida in 2001.

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After reliving another thrilling moment of the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship, hurry to register for the 2013 Worlds!

Click here to enroll now! The event is already half full!

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