They are the most famous fighting family on the planet.
The Gracie clan founded the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and proceeded to spread the art the length and width of the globe using the early Ultimate Fighting Championships events as a commercial for its effectiveness. The family’s aura was such that martial artists travelled to their dojos to try to defeat them in combat, the infamous “Gracie Challenge”, in which fighters from all ranges of disciplines would travel to pit their skills against the mysterious grappling family. Rickson became a vale tudo legend, with two wins over Rei Zulu the notorious undefeated vale tudo fighter, both of which were televised, in 1980 and 1984, and one of which took place on a beach!
This growing fame continued into the 90s, when Rickson’s brother Rorian helped found the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and their younger brother Royce was chosen (as the physically weakest) to represent the art. He did so, winning UFC 1 which included a semi-final victory over catch-wrestler and Japanese MMA champion Ken Shamrock, whose ground-grappling knowledge evidently did not extend to the use of a Gi to both reverse a position, and to choke!
Royce would go on to repeat his success at UFC 2 and UFC 4, before “drawing” a lopsided rematch with Shamrock in a “super-fight” to determine a reigning (non-tournament) champion of the UFC, and retiring from the sport (at the next event, Shamrock would choke out UFC 5 tournament champion Dan Severn to win the belt proper).
Now, the Gracies can probably be best associated in the MMA world with One Fighting Championships, based out of Singapore!
THREE will compete on the One FC: Pride of a Nation card in Manila, the Philippines.
- Rolles Gracie vs. Tony “The Gun” Bonello
- Igor Gracie vs. Jung Hwan Cha
- Gregor Gracie vs. Nicholas “The Apprentice” Mann
All three are talented fighters. Rolles looked to be the first breakout Gracie UFC star since Royce himself, before showing up to his very winnable debut fight with lacklustre cardiovascular endurance and looking – unsurprisingly – sloppy and overhyped.
He has since rebounded with wins in One FC, and is looking to prove that his previous hype train was justified and that the single poor performance was nothing but a regrettable blip.
Igor Gracie is coming up against a knockout puncher – the perfect style-vs-style matchup. He is a 5-2 Bellator and Strikeforce veteran who has fought on the big stage before, and will be undaunted by One FC in Manila in front of 17,000 Filipinos.
Gregor Gracie is said to be the current Gracie with the likeliest chance of flying the flag as an elite contemporary fighter and a top 5 world champion talent. He came acropper against Phuket Top Team’s Adam Kayoom, the Rajadamnern ranked/WPMF world champion Muay Thai fighter and a BJJ black belt in his own right, but regardless, against a man with lesser ground and grappling pedigree than Kayoom in Nicholas Mann, I fully expect Gregor to shine and to take home the win, and prove why exactly he is being referred to as the future standard bearer of the Gracie family in Mixed Martial Arts.
It should be noted that PRIDE veteran Renzo Gracie is also involved with One FC, as a commentator! Gracie tradition is now firmly entrenched with One FC, as it was with the UFC all those years ago.
Information about the events & combatants;
Rolles Gracie was born into the royal family of BJJ and MMA, the legendary Gracie family, and is the grandson of Carlos Gracie Sr., the founder of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). Rolles is physically the largest fighter in the history of the Gracie clan, standing at 193cm tall. On 31 August, Rolles will face his toughest test to date when he squares off against top Australian fighter, Tony “The Gun” Bonello. Bonello is considered one of the top submission specialists in the heavyweight division, with 15 of his 16 victories coming via submission. Bonello will look to notch another submission victory in Manila when he makes his ONE FC debut.
Igor Gracie is a Bellator Fighting Championship and Strikeforce veteran who holds an MMA record of five wins and two losses with four wins coming by way of submission. He is a 3rd degree Black Belt in BJJ and has a list of grappling credentials that is nothing short of extraordinary. Igor is a four-time Rio de Janeiro State Champion, Pan American Championship Silver Medalist and a two time Brazilian National Champion, just to name a few. He knows that a victory over the KO specialist Jung Hwan Cha at ONE FC: Pride of a Nation will get him one step closer to his ultimate goal of becoming a ONE FC champion.
Gregor Gracie is a talented grappler who is both the Pan-American and Brazilian National BJJ Champion. Gregor has chalked up a series of impressive MMA wins since his successful debut in 2007. With the exception of one win by decision, the BJJ black belt has ended all his other fights via submission. Gregor will have to add a few more dimensions to his game when he steps in the ONE FC cage against Nicholas “The Apprentice” Mann. Mann is no stranger to Filipino MMA fans, given that all of his MMA fights have been on Filipino soil. He will look to continue his four fight win streak when he steps up to fight Gregor Gracie on 31 August 2012.
Mixed Martial Arts and BJJ legend Renzo Gracie stated, “Rolles, Igor and Gregor Gracie have never trained so hard for a fight in their lives. All three of my students understand that ONE FC in Manila will be the largest MMA event in the history of the Philippines. They are embracing this experience whole-heartedly and are training exceptionally hard to achieve victory in front of 16,500 fans. The fans in Manila will get the chance to see the next generation of the Gracie family dominate the world of MMA once again.”
Roll With It.