Friday, July 12, 2013

Then & Now: Rodolfo Vieira

Rodolfo and his relatively recent rise to prominence proves notable for several reasons:
1) he got the nickname of ''“Ca├žador dos Faixas Pretas' translated 'The Black Belt Hunter'....after Rodolfo won the World Pro Cup Trials in the Brown/Black Belt Division, wining against several fights against distinguished black belts when he was still a Brown Belt."

2) He is the first black belt world champion from a non-Gracie family lineage (GFTeam).

3) He's 3x world champion at black belt in his weight class as well as 1 time absolute black belt champion, as well as brown belt world champion in the absolute.

He was the first to begin to try and fill the shoes of the inimitable Roger Gracie after he departed to MMA and until the arrival of Buchecha seemed nigh-unbeatable both in the heavyweight and absolute.

In terms of his development, his game has always been driven (at the big tournaments) by scoring the takedown or passing aggressively as soon as an opponent tries to pull guard. Against Buchecha, Rodolfo is one of the few to even put Buchecha in moments of danger (other than Roger at the Metamoris I), with Rodolfo nearly mounting Buchecha at the World Pro very early on and then I believe almost scoring early at the Mundials most recently in Long Beach. Inevitably, in their matches, however, Buchecha turns on the ignition and his speed, precision, and athleticism (and size advantage) are just enough to edge out Rodolfo. Rodolfo has said other than the ADCC he's not competing until next year. It will be interesting to see how Rodolfo fares at the ADCC as his last foray was no doubt disappointing, even though he was one of several victims to the Dean Lister tear to winning it all that year.

Here's Rodolfo beating none other than Braulio Estima (which I'd actually forgotten about whilst watching the Metamoris II)  in his 2009 tear from out of nowhere at the World Pro Trials in Brazil while still a brown belt:

And here he is beating Antonio Peinado to win the weight class at the World Pro Championships:

Fast forward to his rather newly crowned arch nemesis, Marcus Buchecha Almeida and their, according to some greatest match of all time. I think that's a bit of hyperbole as that clearly belongs to Jacare and Roger and the arm break, but at any rate it was about as thrilling as a final could be and as we've seen in any recent world championship:

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