Originally Posted by IronMan @ MMAOpinion
Ricardo Arona (13-5 MMA) is probably one of the scariest grapplers in the world. For those who only remember him as the guy Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (6-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC) knocked out after he KO’d Little Nog, or the guy that that Rampage TKO’d with the crazy powerbomb at Critical Countdown in 2004, it needs to be made clear how good Arona is on the ground.
In 2000, Arona made his first appearance at Abu Dhabi Combat Club, already an accomplished grappler (which you sort of have to be in order to get invited, though there are certainly levels of respect among elite grapplers). He took home the 88-98kg weight class. That same year he finished second at mudials in the blackbelt division, losing to Fabio Gurgel (3-2 MMA), perhaps one of the most respected grapplers in the world. Returning to ADCC in 2001, Arona again won his 88-98kg weightclass, and also took home the Open Weight division, which he had not competed in previously.
Arona is the only fighter in the history of the Abu Dhabi Combat Club to have an undefeated record at the tournament and have a championship, an incredible honor. His MMA career, however, has been rockier, and he has struggled to translate his jiu-jitsu into solid victories over top lightheavyweights, though his losses have all been to high profile fighters.
With Arona reportedly set to return at an event called Bitetti Combat IV in Rio De Janiero later this year, it’s worth acknowledging the man’s skill as a grappler, and his career as an MMA fighter.