Marcelo Garcia owns the under 77kg division. That’s just one of the statements than can be made about his achievements in the ADCC, since 2003, when he shocked the Ibirapuera gymnasium with a series of armdrags and the title. On his patch, he submitted Kiuma Kunioku, beat two-time champion Renzo Gracie [to this day Marcelo’s idol] and stunned the gymnasium by finishing Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro in just 30 seconds, in one of the most remembered scenes in the history of the event. In the final, Otto Olsen did try to hold out, but the Brazilian was quickly on his back, squeezing his neck. And thus the one eliminated in the tryouts became champion.
Two years on, they doubted the Fabio Gurgel student could repeat the feat in Los Angeles, but he did. Just like Renzo in 2003, only Leonardo Santos didn’t tap at the hands of Marcelo. In the final, he submitted Pablo Popovitch. And he thus became two-time champion.
Two more years went by before people would again doubt Garcia. The Brazilian from the town of Formiga had moved to the United States and new setting could hinder his performance in New Jersey. But Marcelinho was right at home. In the final against Popovitch, another submission and a new name for the under 77kg division: “Marcelinho’s division”, wrote Luca Atalla, in GRACIEMAG 123.
Another coincidence in Marcelo Garcia’s three appearances in the ADCC is in the Brazilian’s participation in the absolute. He has not yet found success there. In 2003 he lost to Pe de Pano; in 2005 he lost to Ronaldo Jacare and beat Xande Ribeiro in the bronze-medal dispute; in 2007 he was runner-up, caught off guard by Robert Drysdale’s arm triangle. Even so, according to him, winning the open weight category is not an obligation. On that and much more, Marcelo spoke with the GRACIEMAG.com ADCC 2009 Blog.
Blog: How have your preparations been going? Who have you been training with?
Marcelo Garcia: As with the previous years, since I moved to the USA, I’ve been doing my prep work at my academy, training with my students. For this year, I trained half in Florida and the final stretch here in New York, where I know live and where I opened a new academy in October. For this final stretch I put together a group of friends who came from other states and old students who are helping me a lot.
Blog: Does much change in regards to your preparations for Jiu-Jitsu championships?
Marcelinho: To me, preparation doesn’t depend on rules or style of championship. Preparations are all the same: lots of training!
Blog: If you win the under 77kg division you will be the first four-time champion of a category in the history of the event. Is that pressure to you?
Marcelo: I don’t even think about it, in 2003 the pressure was even greater for being the first time I competed without a gi. In 2005, the pressure was that my armdrags would no longer surprise people. In 2007 they questioned me because I had moved to the USA and wouldn’t perform the same. And now, the pressure is on becoming four-time champion. So, I think I deal with the anxiousness well.
Blog: Taking a look at your category, who will be the greatest obstacle on your way to your fourth?
Marcelo: Ah, that we’ll only know come September 26.
Blog: Is winning the absolute your greater goal?
Marcelo: To me, the ones who should have the absolute as their main objectives are the over 90kg guys. My goal is to perfect my technique till it’s effective enough for me to win the absolute.
Blog: What moment in your past in the ADCC do you hold dearest to you?
Marcelo: My best memory is of when I was invited to compete in 2003. I remember heading to Ibirapuera and thinking of how I would be in the event and no one could take that from me.
Blog: And the most painful?
Marcelo: I’ll never forget losing to Daniel Moraes, at the 2003 qualifiers. The most painful was to lose the final for a penalty point for having pulled guard.
Blog: Who is your pick for the best of all times in the ADCC?
Marcelo: My opinion is that it is Renzo, for him having participated in all the events since 1998.
Who can stop Marcelo Garcia in the under 77kg category? And will he finally win the absolute? Leave your comment.