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Royce Gracie vs. Wallid Ismael in a Jiu Jitsu Classic

Wallid Ismael, the original Gracie Hunter
Wallid Ismael, the original Gracie Hunter

Today we wrap up our look at Brazil's odd MMA history with something a bit different. Because while it's fun to watch the riots, beach fights, and groin attacks, I don't want to give anyone the impression that this is all there is to Brazil's rich history. There's also amazing technique practiced by some of the world's absolute best. And while they sometimes showed that technique on a beach, they more typically showed it on the Jiu Jitsu mat.

Royce Gracie vs. Wallid Ismael
Rio Oscars of Jiu Jitsu
December 17, 1998

Here we have a Jiu Jitsu contest between two masters, with an ending that doesn't get nearly the attention it deserves.

By 1998, Royce Gracie was essentially retired from MMA, having walked away from the UFC over three years ago. Because of his status in the UFC, he had grown in stature to the point that he rivaled Rickson as the Gracie scalp most desired by challengers. 

Here, a tough challenger is after that scalp. Wallid Ismael was on a personal quest to dethrone the Gracies, and he was doing it all with a Gracie in his corner. Ismael was the top student of Royce's cousin, Carlson Gracie, who had split from the family years before and been locked in a bitter family rivalry ever since. Ismael set out to prove that his master had the superior style, and the only way to do that, was to take down Royce Gracie.

As was often the case with Royce, the UFC legend demanded special rules for this contest. So what you have here is a Jiu Jitsu match with no time limit, no points, and no judges - the only way to win is by submission. Which was just fine by Ismael.

Video of the fight in the full entry.


In less than 5 minutes, Ismael managed to do what no man had done before - he defeated Royce Gracie, submitting him with a technique known as a clock choke. Legend has it Royce lost consciousness here to the point that he lost control of his bowels, adding further insult to injury.

Though it's often forgotten, this is a major moment in the history of the Gracie family, and, in turn, Brazil. Two years before Kazushi Sakuraba would wear down Royce over 90 minutes to hand him his first MMA loss, here we see the legend choked out. And by a man representing his cousin no less. 

Sadly, Ismael's legend has never shined as brightly as that of Royce or even Sakuraba, but here you see his true skills and his rightful position as the original Gracie Hunter.

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