1997 World Championships
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Amaury Bitteti vs Fabio Gurgel
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.
Enjoy Amaury vs Fabio