Metamoris is an organization that is attempting to make Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) a mainstream martial art. Their formula for doing this is pretty simple: match up the world’s best competitors in 20-minute matches with submission being the only way to win. The first two version of the event was pretty successful, with some minor exceptions (Brendan Schaub, anyone?). The third version, held on March 29, proved to be the best version yet, thanks mostly to an incredible main event between grappling renegade Eddie Bravo against legendary Royler Gracie.
These two first paired off in Abu Dhabi in 2003. Gracie was a multiple-time world champion, while Bravo was an up-and-comer who had his own style. Gracie, with his more traditional and fundamentally-sound style, dominated the match almost the whole way. However, Bravo hung tough and managed to lock on his signature triangle choke and forced Gracie to tap out, which nobody, especially Gracie and Bravo, could believe.
That match has been talked about by many grappling fans ever since. A rematch was rumored at different times, but never could quite get worked out until Metamoris 3. What a match it was! Both competitors are older now (Gracie at 48 and Bravo at 43), and 20 minutes is a long time to grapple, but both men proved to be in great shape and ready to do battle.
The match started off as many would expect, with Bravo pulling half-guard and looking for his vaunted lockdown. Gracie was happy to be on top, where he looked to apply some serious pressure and work a simple but effective knee-cut guard pass. There were a few moments where it looked like Gracie would finish the pass but Bravo managed to recover each time. Eventually Bravo found his way into the lockdown position and worked his painful banana split submission, which forces his opponent into doing leg splits. Gracie accepted the pain and continued on, eventually escaping the position and coming back on top. This cycle repeated itself a few times with Gracie always managing to get back on top.
The competitors both showed a tremendous amount of heart and stamina as time wore down. Where most matches would slow down, these two only got more frantic, with both looking for the decisive finish. Bravo’s unorthodox style showed its effectiveness by catching Gracie in a calf-slicer position, which was uncomfortable even to watch. Gracie waved at the crowd to say he was fine, but when Bravo adjusted Gracie quickly grabbed on and pulled the legs in an attempt to relieve the pressure.
The match ended with the competitors locked in this position, faces side by side. The two immediately got up, hugged and showed the respect each earned from the other. The crowd, which had been going crazy the whole time, roared their approval for both warriors.
It was an amazing performance by both men. The technique, stamina and most importantly, desire to win, both Gracie and Bravo demonstrated made for a fantastically entertaining match. The fact that both men are in their 40s only adds to the quality of the match. Neither man may be as explosive as they once were, but little else has changed. It was a match truly deserving of the term “main event.”