Marcelo Garcia is one of the biggest legends of the sport and he recently got together with one of the most exciting young elite competitors, Tye Ruotolo, for a rolling session. Garcia is undoubtedly one of the biggest icons in the BJJ world and he skyrocketed to the top of the sport with an incredible debut performance at ADCC 2003 that’s still regarded as one of the best in the event’s history. Garcia not only won a gold medal in the 77kg division that year but he returned to win the division a record-setting three more times, and added a silver and bronze medal in the absolute division to his collection.
This incredible ADCC career is what led to Garcia being included as part of the inaugural class of the ADCC Hall of Fame. His incredible wins in the absolute division epitomised what Jiu-Jitsu meant to so many people, as Garcia was the smaller man at 77kg defeating opponents who significantly outweighed him. In fact Garcia is still regarded as one of the greatest giant-killers in BJJ history to this day, despite the fact that he retired from professional grappling competition back in 2011.
Tye Ruotolo on the other hand is at completely the opposite end of his career, as he was a relatively unknown eight year-old rolling with his brother Kade when Marcelo Garcia last stepped on the competition mats. Since then, both Ruotolo brothers have developed into phenomenal young grapplers and reached the very highest levels of the sport. Tye made his first ADCC appearance in 2019 as a sixteen year-old in the 66kg division taking fourth place and returned at ADCC 2022 in the 88kg division. Although he went out in the opening round at ADCC 2022, he came back with a vengeance in the absolute division just like Garcia would have.
Tye Ruotolo took it to every single one of his opponents in the absolute division despite being smaller than each one, submitting Pedro Marinho and outworking Felipe Pena to make it to the medal rounds. His toughest match came in the semifinals against Nicholas Meregali and he came within inches of submitting him at one point, before losing an incredibly close decision. Tye Ruotolo came away with a bronze medal in the absolute division after Roberto ‘Cyborg’ Abreu was unable to compete, after a string of performances that Marcelo Garcia himself would no doubt have been proud of.
The footage of Marcelo Garcia and Tye Ruotolo rolling together in a training session was uploaded to the official Instagram account of Peter King: