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Jiu Jitsu Rivalries: Roger Gracie vs Ronaldo Jacare Souza

It stated in the brown belt absolute final at the 2002 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu World Championships.

Both Gracie and Jacare had demolished their respective sides of the division, with Jacare even submitting all his opponents to get to the final.

So the showdown between the two best brown belts in the world was set and the start of one of the greatest rivalries in modern Jiu Jitsu was born.

At the time, Roger was training at famed Gracie Academy, and Jacare represented ASLE (Associação Sensei de Lutas Esportivas) under Henrique Machado.

Both Jacare and Roger were already accomplished grapplers, but their styles couldn’t have been more different.

Jacare was explosive and technical while Roger was a calm and calculated grappler who can capitalize on any mistake made by his opponent.

The result was an exciting fight for the title.

2002 Brown Belt Absolute Mundials Final

Roger: 1
Jacare: 0

The second match between Gracie and Jacare took place in 2004. By now both athletes had received their black belts and were widely regarded as two of the best competitors.

Their first fight as black belts became infamous in the Jiu Jitsu world and is considered one of the most exciting matches of all time, even though nothing happened for the last two minutes.

Aware of Jacare’s amazing Judo and aggressive takedowns, he pulls guard rather early and goes for a sub attempt.

This, however, ended up being reversed as Roger turtles costing him 4 points early in the match.

After the opening exchange, Roger would find himself in another favorable position off his back securing the arm of Jacare, cranking it past its breaking point.

Unwilling to tap, Jacare spends the remainder of the match with a broken arm.

Many people believed Jacare should’ve been disqualified for avoiding the fight. However, the referee did not act and Jacare was awarded the victory.

2004 Absolute Mundials Finals

Roger: 1
Jacare: 1

The third encounter between the pair would take place in the 2005 European Championships and would prove to be the least exciting of their contests.

Much of this fight was spent standing with either competitor unwilling to commit to attacks.

Roger showed much-improved takedown defense against Jacare’s outstanding Judo and managed to land a great sweep to win on points.

However, as a rubber match it was a disappointing for both fighters.

2005 IBJJF European Championship Final

Roger: 2
Jacare: 1

In 2005, Gracie and Jacare would face each other in the final of the ADCC Absolute division.

This is the only No Gi fight between them and the most decisive outcome of all their fights.

Gracie controlled the pace of the match and Jacare seemed less aggressive than normal.

Early in match Gracie fought off adversity when Jacare took his back. However, after a failed takedown attempt Gracie was able to return the favour and take Jacares back.

From there Roger was able to secure a rear naked choke and record the only submission victory between the two.

2005 Open Class Absolute ADCC Finals

Roger: 3
Jacare: 1

The final fight between Jacare and Gracie would again take place in the absolute final of the 2005 World Championships

This match would mark the second time Jacare would beat Roger, but once again it was marred in controversy.

Roger was winning the match on points until he seemingly tripped out of bounds and Jacare was awarded the points for the takedown.

As soon as the match restarted Jacare pulled guard and stalled to maintain his point advantage.

The fight still had plenty of action in it including some great Judo from both fighters.

2005 Mundial Open Class Final

Roger: 3
Jacare: 2

So who was better?

Obviously, both fighters are amazing athletes.

Jacare possessed excellent technical skill and incredible athleticism while Gracie had an exceptional understanding of Jiu Jitsu fundamentals and the mental attitude to go with it.

Although Jacare was the smaller athlete his wins were far less convincing and often controversial.

Ultimately, the decision is yours. Watch the fights and decide for yourself. Either way the rivalry produced some incredible matches and pushed both athletes to achieve incredible things.

Note: Much of the work for this article comes from http://forum.mmajunkie.com/forum/threads/a-look-at-the-jacare-souza-vs-roger-gracie-bjj-rivalry.56597/

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