Eddie Goldman is the host and producer of the No Holds Barred international podcast, the publisher of the No Holds Barred blog, and a senior contributing editor at the ADCC News.

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

No Holds Barred: Renzo Gracie and Mario Mercado on Metamoris 5 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and MMA legend Renzo Gracie, and Mario Mercado, who among many other tasks coaches wrestling at the Renzo Gracie Academy in New York.

Our main topic was the grappling match between Renzo Gracie and Kazushi Sakuraba held Saturday, November 22, at Metamoris 5 in Long Beach, California. This match, in which you could only win by submission and there were no points of judges, went to a 20-minute draw, although most observers felt that Renzo dominated the positions in it.

We spoke with Mario Mercado at the Renzo Gracie Academy in New York right after a viewing party there of Metamoris 5. We discussed what happened in the match, Renzo's game plan, the influence of wrestling on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, plans for a Team Renzo Gracie vs. Team Joe Warren wrestling meet at the 2014 Grapple at the Garden event at Madison Square Garden December 21, and much more.

We spoke with Renzo by phone Sunday, before he returned from California to the East Coast. We discussed this match, in which he said his "knee popped out" early on, hindering him somewhat.

While showing great respect for catch wrestling and wrestlers in general, Renzo did not agree with those who said that this match with Sakuraba was a showdown between Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and catch wrestling.

"The knowledge is out there," he said. "To claim that Sakuraba is a catch-canner -- Sakuraba is a jiu-jitsu man. That's what made him brilliant."

Noting that Sakuraba lasted 20 minutes with him without ever being in serious danger of being submitted, he said, "He was able to survive there, which amazed me. And that shows what kind of jiu-jitsu he has."

We also discussed why he likes the Metamoris format, more on this BJJ vs. catch wrestling rivalry, the growing wrestling program at his academy, his ADCC 2015 superfight with Matt Hughes, his plans to return to fighting next year in UFC, how he feels "better than I was 27," his plans to accompany Roger Gracie at the December 5 ONE FC event in Manila, and much more.

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