Marcelo Garcia (black rash guard) is a MFM regular because of his G.O.A.T status in Submission Grappling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
But in 2003, no one knew him. Legend goes, he failed to qualify for the ADCC championships by losing in the final of the South American Qualifier by penalty. He gets a call to be a late replacement for someone who withdrew at the last minute. He shows up, makes his way through the bracket (including a quarter final win over Renzo Gracie) to be achieve the first of his four -77kg titles. A star is born.
Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro is a two time World Champion (1999 and 2000) at Lightweight. He later transitioned to MMA and had a very solid career in Shooto, K-1, Dream, and Strikeforce.
I have watched a lot of matches in my day (maybe too many). I really can’t pinpoint any other match that has a better start to finish sequence than this.
Ricardo Arona (starting left in the video) is primarily known for his MMA career. Look at the fights that he had in Pride and its easy to conclude how tough he is.
But he holds a very interesting place in the history of ADCC World Championships. He is a 3 time class winner (+99KG in 2000, +99KG and Absolute in 2001), He is one of 8 individuals who won both his weight class and the absolute class in the same year, and in the 12 matches he had in those two years, he never conceded a point.
An interesting story about his opponent, Roger Neff. In early 2000’s, I attended a no-time-limit, No Holds Barred (it wasn’t called MMA back then) event in a basketball gym of a Catholic Church in South Florida (I know, weird…but true). Roger Neff was the main event. As him and his opponent squared off and traded some slaps and kicks (oh…forgot to mention, it was bare knuckle) Roger shot in and picked his opponent up for a takedown. The subsequent pile driver not only knocked his opponent out, it knocked him out. Neff was motionless in side control for about 30 seconds. All 103 of us in attendance believed both were dead. Then the corner of Neff’s opponent ran onto the floor (there was no cage, no ring, just 1/4 inch think Walmart puzzle mats) and started to pull Neff off their guy. Neff’s corner didn’t like them touching their guy so they rushed in. Then supporters of each camp joined the fracas. Riot ensued.