Renzo Gracie and Kazushi Sakuraba meet again this weekend at Metamoris 5, the professional submission-only grappling event promoted by Ralek Gracie. The card also features Rory MacDonald vs. J.T. Torres, Yuri Simoes vs. Rafael Lovato Jr., Garry Tonnon vs. Zak Maxwell, a ‘secret’ match, and Vinny Magalhaes vs. Kevin Casey…
No, wait, scratch that last one—breaking news—Casey is off the card, undergoing emergency surgery for a blood clot!
Poor Vinny Magalhaes. The guy trained night and day for Metamoris 4, where he was set to face Keenan Cornelius, but a last-minute case of staph infection forced his withdrawal.
Hold up, there’s more coming in:
Vinny just claimed the bout is not cancelled. Instead of walking away, he’s claiming he’ll face anyone, any weight, just send your credentials to the Metamoris website.
“You basically have to have a black belt in jiu-jitsu,” Ralek told the MMA Hour, “If you don’t have a black belt in jiu-jitsu, but you’re like a really solid judo guy, or sambo, or something like that, and you have a black belt in that art, that works. But we’re open to anybody… If you can beat Vinny Magalhaes, we’re putting $10,000 on the line… It’s pretty exciting. I’d like it to be somebody out of nowhere, that underdog story. That’s what I’m looking for.”
Well, underdog stories are great, but I’d rather Ralek keeps with the ‘legends’ theme of Metamoris, so I’m going to nominate the following five grapplers:
Belfort received his BJJ black belt from Carlson Gracie at the age of seventeen. He’s an absolute pioneer of MMA, and in 2001 he earned a bronze at the 2001 ADCC, the world’s premiere submission-only grappling event.
Not only that, at 37 he’s once again fighting for a UFC belt, this February against Chris Weidman.
Consider: Belfort has worn that black belt into the highest levels of competition for over two f*** decades.
But Metamoris is more than sport, it’s also a healthy dose of spectacle—which for core BJJ fans, who spend eight hours a stretch at most multi-day sport tournaments… well, the spectacle is welcome and awesome. Hence, more than any other combatant, I’d love to see Belfort take on Magalhaes. Nothing else, we’d catch a glimpse of his post-TRT cardio and strength.
The Dragon isn’t known for his submission skills. But he’s a BJJ black belt who’s grappled nearly every day for over a decade. And those question marks regarding his mat skills are what make his Metamoris cameo so compelling.
Weidman is the perfect blend of sport vs spectacle: he’s the current UFC Middleweight champion, and in 2009, after just one year of BJJ training, he won the ADCC East Coast Trials. He then fought his way to an ADCC quarter-final match, where he lost a decision to the legendary Andre Galvao.
That’s right, after just one year he took Galvao to a decision. Now imagine five more years on the mats.
Jake Shields, widely regarded as one of the best BJJ practitioners in MMA, recently touted Weidman’s skills. "[Weidman] great takedowns, and all-around good jiu-jitsu that he mixes with his wrestling. For that style, he is the guy that sticks out to me."
Okay, so this is more on the spectacle side of the aisle. But say what you want about Tito, in the last few years he’s choked out Ryan Bader and Alexander Shlemenko. Further, the guy earned a bronze medal at the 2000 ADCCs.
No question, with Tito on the card Metamoris edges into the professional wrestling realm, but again, with all those sport BJJ tournaments, is that such a bad thing?
Four-time World BJJ Champion, and two-time ADCC Champion. Yes, I train under Rafa, so this is a skewed entry—but only skewed based on my personally watching him run through the highest level MMA fighters and grapplers that visit the academy.
Because Rafa competes at Featherweight, this is actually a half-sport/half-spectacle entry. Vinny dwarfs Rafa (7” in height, and tag least 70 pounds), but that’s what makes this match so riveting.
During the 2011 World Pro no-gi Absolute Finals, Rafa fought Super-Heavyweight Rodolfo Vieira to a referee’s decision. Vieira could not pass his guard. Neither could the much-bigger Jake Shields, who visited the academy last year.
Yeah, this is just a wish list, but speculating and sports go hand-in-hand. Post your wish-list in the comments, and I’ll see you at Metamoris.
Ed note: In an earlier version of this story, Chris Weidman was incorrectly labeled as the Welterweight champ.
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