Greatest ADCC Matches & Competitors

At TFC we’re just as passionate about watching BJJ as we are about taking part in it. Not only does it allow us to catch a glimpse of the cream of the crop in each division, we also get exposed to how the sport is evolving and new ways we can improve our game.

Very few competitions if any are as prestigious as the ADCC, you’re sure to witness many exceptional bouts each time the event is held and in this article we will be bringing to light the top 6 ADCC matches that we cherry-picked for you.

Let’s jump into it.


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  • 1 What is the ADCC Submission Fighting World Championship

    Considered by many in submission wrestling to be the most important tournament on the grappling competition calendar, Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) Fighting World Championship is the real deal. They bring the top of the food chain submission fighters from all over the world to compete at an invite-only no gi event.

    Although the majority of the winners have been BJJ practitioners, the competition is open to other grappling disciplines too, such as; freestyle wrestling, sambo and luta livre.

    It hasn’t been easy by any means to select the greatest ADCC matches of all time, but we’ve given it a good go!

  • 2 Notable past winners

    There have been many legendary submission wrestlers that have graced the mats at ADCC. Many of them took part in the greatest ADCC matches. We’ve done our best to bring to light 5 we believe really left a distinct mark.

  • Marcelo Garcia 

    Marcelo Garcia

    Marcelo Garcia

    Garcia has won both the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation  (IBJJF) Championship and ADCC Championship multiple times. He is most certainly a GOAT of the BJJ world. Although no longer competing, he still is very much involved in BJJ. Garcia has opened multiple gyms during and after his competing years, with his Manhattan BJJ school becoming world-famous.

  • Mark Kerr

    Mark Kerr

    Mark Kerr

    Kerr is one of the few winners of the ADCC championship that wasn’t a BJJ practitioner. Considered to be one of the greatest submission wrestlers of all time, the discipline of freestyle wrestling is what Kerr utilised to win the ADCC championship twice. He also won two UFC tournaments!

  • Roger Gracie

    Roger Gracie

    Roger Gracie

    No list of notable BJJ winners would be complete without at least one Gracie on the list. Roger Gracie won the ADCC championship twice and the IBJJF championship an astounding 10 times! Therefore he cannot go without mention. He is a technically brilliant practitioner, his frame at 6 ft 4 215 lbs is also a serious problem. Gracie hasn’t lost a match by submission since he was a blue belt. 

  • Gordon Ryan

    Gordon Ryan

    Gordon Ryan

    Since his journey in BJJ that began when he was 15, Ryan has won multiple important world championships. Among his many victories, he has won the ADCC World Championship on 3 separate occasions! Ryan is arguably one of the best no gi BJJ fighters of all the time.

  • Saulo Ribeiro 

    Saulo Ribiero

    Saulo Ribeiro

    Ribeiro began his journey into martial arts with Judo and gained a black belt before beginning his BJJ education. He went on to win the ADCC championship twice. Additionally, he won multiple competitions in other highly respected championships, such as the World Jiu Jitsu Championship. Interestingly, he won the World Jiu Jitsu Championship 5 times, in 4 different weight classes!

  • 3 Memorable Matches

    Thanks to the wonders of technology we are able to re-live some of the greatest ADCC matches. The timeless of a truly exciting match is made evident in our collection, with some bouts being 20+ years old! The ADCC Submission Wrestling Championship is a gift that just keeps on giving.

  • Eddie Bravo vs Royler Gracie

    Eddie Bravo vs Royler Gracie

    Arguably  THE king of all of the greatest ADCC matches. Just as much for the technique as it was shock value.

    The Gracie family not only brought Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to the world, but they have also dominated BJJ competitions throughout the years. There have been times when their dominance was so powerful that the mere idea of them losing was unthought of. This was precisely why it was such a shock when Eddie Bravo, now founder of one of the biggest BJJ schools (10th Planet), submitted Royler Gracie via triangle choke.

    There is no question about it, Royler was causing Eddie all sorts of problems, yet Bravo was able to stay composed, waiting for his opportunity and when it surfaced he gave it his all to finish the job. This was a beautiful reminder that everyone is beatable, everyone is human, even a Gracie.

    The loss was a bitter pill for Royler to swallow, however it served as an important reminder to him not to be complacent even when you’re chaining together dominant positions. The fight isn’t over till it’s over and against crafty technicians like Bravo, you’ve always got to be alert and expecting trouble.

  • Marcelo Garcia vs Rico Rodrigues

    Marcelo Garcia vs Rico Rodrigues

    If there ever was a match that demonstrates the effectiveness of BJJ when fighting a larger opponent, this is the one. Garcia had quite the challenge on his hands facing Rodrigues who was considerably bigger than him. Unlike in sports such as Boxing and MMA, in BJJ there is a division called ‘Absolute’ or ‘Open-weight’ where there is no weight limit for the competitors. 

    This is what led Garcia and Rodrigues to clash at the ADCC championship in 2005. Garcia showed that technique really can trump size when he was able to defeat Rodrigues via a leglock even though he was illegally slammed causing him to break a rib!

  • David Terrell vs Ricardo Almeida

    David Terrell vs Ricardo Almeida

    Aside from this being an enjoyable spectacle to behold, there are lessons that can be learned from this bout. Firstly, the importance and effectiveness of chaining together techniques. This is especially important in no gi BJJ, as the pace is often faster than gi BJJ. David Terrell demonstrated this in the bout when he went from a single leg to a leglock in quick succession gaining the victory over his opponent.

    However, it is also a lesson in knowing when you’ve been caught in ‘checkmate’. Almeida was aware that he had no chance to escape and tapped, his experience allowed him to know when was the time to push through and when was the time to surrender. Unfortunately, even though he did tap, it wasn’t quick enough as he sustained a leg injury due to the submission. Another reminder that although BJJ is fun, the risks are very real.

  • Jean Jacques Machado vs Ricardo Arona

    Jean Jacques Machado vs Ricardo Arona

    Jean Jacques Machado is a legend in the sport of BJJ. Not only for his technical ability but also due to the fact that he was so effective regardless of his disability. Born without the majority of the digits on his left hand, Machado didn’t let this put him off becoming a master in BJJ.

    This bout demonstrates how impressive Machado was, even though he was against someone as powerful and technical as Arona. Although the match ultimately ended in a victory for Arona, the fight that Machado put up was nothing short of legendary. Both offensively and defensively he demonstrated that he was a force to be reckoned with.

  • Kron Gracie vs Gary Tonon

    Kron Gracie vs Gary Tonon

    There is great pressure that comes with being a Gracie. Kron had the luxury of learning BJJ from a young age among some of the best to do it (including his father Rickson). However, with it came the pressure to win. It was when he fought Gary Tonon (considered to be one the greatest to ever do it) that he had to dig deep. With only a few seconds left, in such a competitive bout, he was able to pull off a rear-naked choke! In doing so, he lived up to the Gracie name in front of both his father and the world.

    This performance serves as a reminder to BJJ enthusiasts to remain calm under pressure, never give up and most importantly that mastering yourself is just as important as learning the art of BJJ.

  • Leo Vieria vs Mark Kerr

    Leo Vieria vs Mark Kerr

    These two legends provided us with another opportunity to see how effective BJJ can be against a bigger opponent. Vieria came into this bout the much smaller man, knowing that he would have to incorporate a light footed approach to avoid getting caught into any unrecoverable position by Kerr. 

    On this occasion the size advantage matched with a high skill level proved too much for Vieria to overcome, leading to Kerr winning. However, Vieria most certainly put up a good fight. He showed the kind of attitude you need if you are to take on the challenge of battling a bigger opponent.

  • ADCC Video Archive

    ADCC Video Archive

    Have we stirred up the hunger for more BJJ content? Don’t worry, it’s to be expected! Check out the ADCC official website’s video section for more great content here.

    BJJ isn’t just used in BJJ competitions! Pride, a fighting organisation that has taken on a legendary status in the MMA community was home to some of the best submissions. Check them out here!