Comebacks in the Adult Black Belt Categories are rare. The matches are so tight that typically a point lead is difficult to overcome. This MFM edition is one of the best comebacks I have ever seen.
Romulo Barral (Blue Gi) is the most decorated Medium Heavy Weight in IBJJF History. 5 World Championships, 1 Pan Championship, and 2 European Championships. He is also the 2013 -88KG ADCC Champion. In addition to his accomplishments, he has also developed into an exception coach to the likes of Felipe Pena, Edwin Najmi, and Gabriel Arges.
Patrick Pontes Gaudio (White Gi) is an emerging talent in the Black Belt ranks. He has 1 Pan Championship and 1 Brazilian National Championship under his belt but he has been knocking on the door for a few years to get that first worlds. He has established himself as one tough competitor.
Today, MFM will go back in time to the very first contested Absolute Division final in the history of the World Championships.
While there were “Mundials” in 1996, the Absolute division was a close out between teammates Amaury Bitteti and Ricardo Liborio. Amaury (on the left in the video) was the chosen champion, making him the first Absolute Champion ever. In 1996, Amaury had to battle Fabio Gurgel (introduced before here ) in the Semis to reach the final. In 1997, they would meet again in the final.
Amaury was a member of the famed Carlson Gracie Team (prior to the split to Brazilian Top Team) but had a very limited competitive experience (relative to his teammates) – 2x Absolute Champion 1996/1997, Brazilian National Champion 1998/2000 – Heavyweight. He then moved on to dabble in MMA, coaching and MMA promotions.
I enjoy going back and watching old footage to compare the techniques and strategies to what we see today. What is interesting about this match is what it lacks- many of the intermediary positions that we employ today. There are moments of stand up and scrambles, but this is primarily a Closed Guard/Bullfighter Pass battle. Yes, it is a little boring, but use the footage to imagine what you could do differently knowing what you know today. It makes for a compelling thought exercise.