Eddie Bravo’s 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu
Today, Eddie Bravo and his 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu system are a staple of BJJ culture. We attach the name “10th Planet” to world class competitors such as Geo Martinez and Tony Ferguson, or to the Eddie Bravo Invitational (EBI), whose innovative ruleset guarantees action and submissions. And the 10th Planet system itself? While some traditionalists will nitpick it’s flaws, all of them will eventually concede that yes, it has produced results at the highest levels.
But it wasn’t always that way.
There was a time when Eddie Bravo and his motley crew of nogi outcasts struggled to get respect in the grappling world. Eddie was criticized for bastardizing the noble traditions of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. There were even whispers that his career defining victory over Royler Gracie had been a fluke, and nine times out of ten, Royler wins that rematch.
That all changed on March 29th, 2014, the night of Bravo vs Gracie 2. If the first match was career defining, the second was career validating. Eddie showcased his dynamic system in a match for the ages. And while he failed to tap Royler, he cemented his victory in the court of public opinion.
You could pick from a number of storylines going into this fight, which is what made it so captivating. It was the upstart Americans against Brazilian Royalty. It was Carlos Gracie’s lineage verses Helio Gracie’s. New school verses old school. Stoners verses strait edge.
What was notably absent was any real animosity between Bravo and Gracie. The two men went out of their way to be respectful during the build up. But it almost didn’t matter. Behind each man was hundreds of followers and decades of history. Not to mention a marketing campaign that leaned heavily into every possible angle that would sell pay per views.
What’s fantastic about the 20 minute match length in Metamoris is that it allows enough time for a real narrative to take shape, and one did.
Very quickly we saw Eddie take the initiative, intent on working from the lockdown. Similarly, Royler countered with his knee slice. But while Royler failed to learn from his mistakes (he was swept three times with an electric chair), Eddie took a new approach with each attempt. In the first, he swept to side control briefly before attacking with a “hundred percent” sweep. It failed and he was returned to the bottom. The second time, he tried to set up a “vaporizer” and was framed and rolled.
The third time proved to be the charm as Eddie pulled the sweep yet again. This time, he cleverly put maximum pressure on Royler, even though he actually wanted space to initiate a roll. The ruse worked, and Royler framed him away. Eddie immediately rolled into the “vaporizer” submission that he would hold until the match ended. Royler was saved by smart grip-work and good old fashion grit, as many speculated that his knee took serious damage (something he refuted).
Overall, it was a match that lived up to it’s own hype. With everyone watching sharing some understanding that they were watching an all-time great battle as it happened.
Why It Mattered
Bravo vs Gracie 2 legitimately changed the sport. Most notably, Eddie Bravo went on the Joe Rogan podcast the following evening, where he casually mentioned that he had been working on his own ruleset after studying Metamoris. This would ultimately become the Eddie Bravo Invitational, which would get Eddie into the promotion game and ultimately create a small empire with EBI, Combat Jiu-Jitsu, and the Quintet formats. A number of other formats implementing overtime rules have also popped up.
It would also lead to a huge influx of athletes into 10th Planet, seeking a new competitive edge. Five years later, 10th Planet has over one hundred schools worldwide, a subscription based online academy, and is partnered with the UFC on Fight Pass.
And sitting here now, in 2019, I’m struggling to think of any other match that had the far reaching consequences of Bravo vs Gracie 2.