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The Superfight was originally scheduled to be Dean Lister (ADCC Absolute champion of 2003 and Superfight Winner over Jean Jacques Machado 2005) against Roger Gracie (ADCC Absolute Champion 2005). Dean was forced to withdraw because of an injury however (torn bicep, not fun), and the organizers scrambled to find a replacement in Ricardo Arona, ADCC 2001 Absolute Champion. Unfortunately, Ricardo Arona apparently fell ill with Dengue Fever (not just a DVD from OTM) which he held responsible for a recent lackluster performance at Pride and also withdrew.
The organizers came down to a few strong candidates to face Roger in the superfight and eventually boiled down to two names: Jeff Monson and Jon Olav Einemo. By a tally of 5-1, the council selected Jon Olav Einemo to face Roger Gracie in the 2007 ADCC superfight.
This may be a match that Roger would be most interested in. After all, it was Einemo who handed Roger his lone ADCC loss in the semifinals of the 99k and under division of ADCC 2003. The match actually went to overtime, and in that overtime Einemo was actually able to take Roger down, pass his guard, and held a standing back mount for a few minutes! After defeating Roger Einemo went on to win the category, while Roger went on to take third place.
Name: Jon Olav Einemo
Style: Purple Belt BJJ (?)
ADCC Record 8-4 (2003 Champion)
Hailing from Norway, Jon Olav Einemo may stand out as one of the most powerful competitors in the 99K and under division, but this doesn’t overshadow his technique and heart. Although he has good takedowns, he is not afraid to pull guard either, and his bear hugs are lethal.
Einemo made his debut on the international scene at the 2001 ADCC, where he served notice to his abilities by defeating Rigan Machado and Rolles Gracie Jr. before losing to Ricardo Arona in the semi-fiinals and Cacareco in the third place match. In 2002 he won the Mundials in the BLUE belt division, submitting five of six opponents.
2003 was a breakout year for Einemo as he returned to ADCC and conquered the division completely, defeating Brandon Vera, Larry Papadopoulos, Roger Gracie and getting a revenge match against Cacerco in the finals. Injuries sustained or aggravated during this run kept him out of the Absolute hunt however.
Einemo entered ADCC 2005 with some niggling injuries, and wound up taking a disappointing (for someone of his caliber anyway) fourth place. Having made a run of 2-2.
Since ADCC Einemo has had two MMA fights, a decision loss to Fabricio Werdum at Pride and a submission victory over James “the Colossus” Thompson at 2 Hot 2 Handle. He has not been active on the grappling or Jiu Jitsu scene.
Name: Roger Gracie
Style: Black Belt BJJ, Gracie Barra
ADCC Record 11-1 (2003 Third Place, 2005 Brazilian Trials Winner)
Roger Gracie Gomes is the son of Reyla Gracie (daughter of Carlos Gracie Sr.) and Mauricio Motta Gomes (one of the 6 BJJ Black Belts of the legendary Rolls Gracie) and part of the legendary Gracie Family . Roger is known for always go for the submission style of grappling, in some cases this has cost him championships, but he would always prefer to win a match by submission. He is also known for his outstanding defense, it’s extremely difficult to put Roger in a bad situation, it’s even harder to keep him there.
Roger entered the ADCC Championships in 2003 and took third place that year, defeating legends like former superfight champion Mario Sperry and Rigan Machado. It was Einemo that ended Roger’s chances at the title, but Roger rebounded by defeating Xande Ribeiro for third place.
Roger came back to not only win the 99K and under division in 2005, but he also won the Absolute division as well, and even more impressively managed to submit everyone of his opponents. An 8-0 run, no match going to the scorecard must certainly be considered among the greatest feats in combat sports of all time.
Since ADCC 2005 Roger has won his division and taken second at absolute in the subsequent Mundial BJJ championships, and made an impressive MMA debut armbarring a much larger Ron Waterman at Bodog fights.
The Match Up:
A few things have changed since the last match up between Einemo and Gracie in 2003. Firstly, ADCC has enacted new rules designed to push the pace of the competition, although this will not likely matter as neither fighter is known for stalling. Secondly, the match will be under superfight time limits, which is either 20 or 30 minutes.
It can be argued that Roger has been far more successful and active since their last encounter as well, winning the ADCC championships, Mundials, and his MMA debut. For Einemo’s part he has been plagued with injuries over the last few years (including his championship run), and the word is that he is 100% ready for this match up. This match will answer some intriguing “What if?” questions.
In terms of size, this may be one of the most evenly matched superfights ADCC has ever had (including Absolute Finals). Both fighters are of a similar build; towering figures and relatively lanky builds for light-heavyweights/heavyweights. Both have had to shed some weight to make the under 99K division, but in the superfight this obviously won’t be a factor.
You could argue that Roger probably has the superior submission skills although Einemo is very high level in this regard as well, Roger just happens to be the best active right now. Neither man is very easy to submit either, as a matter of fact it hasn’t happened yet in competition. Again, Roger may have the slight edge in defense, it is very underrated because so few people are even capable of putting him on the defensive.
One category that Einemo is a clear favorite in is takedowns and wrestling. He is very good at dictating the actual pace of the match and the superfight will go to the mat when he is ready for it to go to the mat, not the other way around. Roger’s relatively poor takedown skills (as compared to the rest of his overall game) have cost him several championships throughout his career.
However, as said before, this is a superfight, with longer time limits, and once the match gets to the ground, Einemo is no staller, he will be looking for the submission as well. Whatever situation Roger finds himself in, he has always been able to work his way out and come back on the offensive. Even in their first match, being down on points in overtime, Roger came back on top and was looking to pass Einemo’s guard as time expired.
Gumby’s Pick: Hey, I love this match up, but the favorite here has to be Roger Gracie. Yes Einemo does have a win over Roger right now, but Roger has been far more active since that match up, and furthermore the longer time limit will favor Roger.
Watch the superfight from home! OTM and ProElite.com present a LIVE internet PPV or the ADCC Championships! Check out http://www.proelite.com/home to order right now!