Georges St-Pierre is an MMA legend first and foremost, but all the way back at ADCC 2005 he also tried his hand at professional grappling as well. He was still in the very early days of his MMA career at the time and this was long before he earned his spot in the UFC Hall of Fame. He had only just reached double-digits in his professional MMA record, although he had already challenged for the UFC welterweight title unsuccessfully in the first match of his epic trilogy with Matt Hughes. St-Pierre was still regarded as one of the top welterweights in the sport at the time with a 9-1 record to prove it, but he was very much an underdog in the 77kg division at ADCC 2005.
Or for more of our articles looking into moments throughout BJJ history, visit our throwback archives.
Georges St-Pierre In The 77kg Division At ADCC 2005
Part of the beauty of ADCC is the invite and trials system that allows for surprise entrants and underdog competitors in every single edition. Georges St-Pierre was one of those underdogs at ADCC 2005 and although fans looking back today might have given him decent chances, this was years before he was known as the dominant UFC world champion that he became. He entered one of the most competitive divisions possible too, as he had grappling legends like Marcelo Garcia and Pablo Popovitch waiting for him. He was far from the only elite MMA fighter who entered the bracket that year either, as Shinya Aoki, Diego Sanchez, and Jake Shields also competed at 77kg.
Georges St-Pierre v Otto Olson (Opening Round)
Georges St-Pierre ended up with an incredibly tough match in the opening round of ADCC 2005, as he was matched up against Otto Olson. Not only had Olson previously won ADCC trials, but he was actually the returning silver medalist after a great performance in 2003. Both men were very aggressive in the clinch from the start, and neither one of them was willing to give up an inch. After a few standing exchanges St-Pierre shot in and managed to get under Olson’s hips, driving forward several feet and turning the corner in order to secure the takedown. He kept Olson in half-guard for a moment but Olson used the threat of a guillotine to work his way back to up to a standing position, attempting to control St-Pierre from the front-headlock.
That control only lasted a second, as St-Pierre stood up with him and snatched a single-leg along the way. He switched to a double-leg to finish the takedown and worked hard in order to keep Olson on the mat. Olson tried to use a shoulder-crunch but couldn’t get it to work as St-Pierre drove him back to the ground, although they went out of bounds. They were reset in the center and Olson worked back to full guard for a second, only to find himself back underneath more pressure-passing from Georges St-Pierre in their ADCC 2005 opening round match. He did a good job of using the threat of a guillotine to recover guard again and almost sweep his opponent, but Olson still had to settle for bottom position again.
Once Georges St-Pierre had escaped the guillotine, he completed the pass to side control against one of the favorites to reach the podium at ADCC 2005. He controlled his opponent for a moment, but Olson managed to turn to turtle and stand up. The pair returned to their grueling battle in the clinch and after a minute or so of that, St-Pierre shot in for a flawless double-leg takedown to score the first points of the match. Olson attempted another guillotine and as St-Pierre tried to pass, he turtled and returned to his feet once again. He snatched a Russian 2-on-1 grip and tried to use it to set up a double-leg of his own, but St-Pierre defended comfortably.
Olson tried to set up another takedown but Georges St-Pierre had a clear skill advantage on the feet in his first match at ADCC 2005. St-Pierre shut it down and shot in for one of his own, although he stopped when he drove Olson out of bounds. Olson used a trip to set up another shot soon after the reset but a heavy sprawl by St-Pierre denied him, and they continued working in the clinch after. Olson had another few attempts but each one was shut down before St-Pierre countered with a takedown of his own, although he was met with a good sprawl this time. Olson tried to take his opponent’s back but St-Pierre was able to turn and take half-guard instead, with Olson working on another guillotine from top position.
St-Pierre took advantage and swept his opponent to score once again, although the guillotine was on much tighter this time. It took a little while but he worked his way free, using more of the same heavy pressure to negate any offense Olson was offering off his back. Olson took advantage of some space to stand up, but there was less than a minute left when they clinched up again. He was working at a higher pace and attempted several takedowns before eventually pulling closed guard, although St-Pierre remained heavy on top in the dying seconds. With the only points on the board, Georges St-Pierre had won his opening round match and booked his place in the quarter-final of ADCC 2005.
Georges St-Pierre v Leo Santos (Quarter-Final)
Things didn’t get any easier for Georges St-Pierre in the quarter-final of ADCC 2005, as he came up against one of the top Nova Uniao competitors at the time, Leo Santos. Both men started off quite relaxed on the feet and were fighting for the dominant position in the clinch each time they got close enough. On one particular clash in the clinch, Santos leapt into a beautiful flying armbar that brought St-Pierre down to the ground. St-Pierre defended well at first but it was only a matter of time before Santos was able to break his grips and extend his arm to force him to tap.
Georges St-Pierre went out of ADCC 2005 in his second match, although he gave a fantastic account of himself against grappling specialists in their own game. Santos went on to the semi-final where he lost on points to the eventual champion Marcelo Garcia, before being submitted by Jake Shields in the bronze medal match.