LOS ANGELES -- The crowd came to UCLA's Pauley Pavilion on Sunday looking to see people tap.
The fans didn't get a submission over the first five of the six fights at the submission-only Metamoris 2 jiu-jitsu supercard.
But Kron Gracie made sure the people went home happy, as he submitted Japanese MMA star Shinya Aoki via gullotine choke in seven minutes in their main-event bout.
"One of the reasons I specifically took a match with Shinya is that he's a fighter," the 25-year old Gracie said at the post-fight press conference. "I know he'd fight me. So many fighters just want to play with the rules and not really fight you. It wasn't just fighting someone for the sake a fight, I knew he was a dangerous opponent."
Gracie pulled guard at about the four-minute mark of the scheduled 20-minute bout, then slowly maneuvered into position from there. The combatants ended up at the very edge of the raised platform, and an official propped the fighters to keep them from falling off right before Aoki submitted. When asked, however, Aoki wouldn't used the positioning as an excuse.
"I don't really think that was an issue," Aoki said through an interpreter. "I lost because I was weaker tonight."
After the bout, promoter Ralek Gracie indicated Kron Gracie's next fight would be to crown a Metamoris championship. He did not name a potential opponent.
Gracie vs. Aoki was the headliner of a card, which aired on internet pay-per-view, that was designed to lure first-time viewers with its superfight format. From a production standpoint, the live event went off without a hitch at Pauley Pavilion, with a first-class lighting setup, a Brazilian band which played between fights but wasn't obtrusive, and an event which ran on time and without glitches.
The biggest name of note in terms of drawing crossover fans was UFC heavyweight Brendan Schaub, who received permission from the company to compete against four-time No Gi world championship gold medalist Roberto "Cyborg" Abreu.
While this wasn't exactly a jiu-jitsu equivalent of Randy Couture vs. James Toney in MMA, this did turn into another example of what would happen when you pull an elite MMA fighter out of MMA in with one of the world's best at a singular discipline under the latter's own rules.
The crowd was vociferously unhappy with Schaub's performance, as he didn't engage Abreu on the ground en route to Abreu's unanimous decision win.
After the event, Schaub was defiant, saying he achieved his goal by making a world-class jiu-jitsu foe go the distance. Schaub noted Abreu went 0-for-7 on takedown attempts and said he wasn't about to let Abreu snap a limb.
"I make my living in the UFC," Schaub said. "If he takes my leg, I'm not going to be able to make a living. I'm not letting the crowd pressure get to me, if I do that, he's taking home a leg. You see. If they hold another event and bring another UFC guy in there, Cyborg's going to submit him in a hurry."
Abreu, for his part, was still angry at what he perceived as Schaub's refusal to engage.
"In order to fight, you have to have two guys want to fight," he said. "If there's someone who wants to fight you, come forward. It happened, if you wanted to shut down my jiu-jitsu down, congratulations."
"Ask Mirko Cro Cop if I don't engage," Schaub retorted. "Ask Gabriel Gonzaga."
After the fight, Ralek Gracie said the bout didn't quite go as he had hoped, and conceded in the future, it may be better to have a UFC fighter fight another UFC fighter in a jiu-jitsu match, rather than a mixed martial artist vs. a pure jiu-jitsu guy.
Rodolfo Vieira took a 2-1 judges' decision over Estima, but Estima took a moral victory of sorts. Estima's ferocious guard work wore Vieira out to the point that Vieira could barely participate in his post-fight interview. Vieira laid on the mat gasping for air while Estima conducted his post-fight interview, and was still on the mat while Estima walked past him on his way back to the dressing room.
"I was happy with the fight," said Estima. "I was happy with my performance, to go in there with one of the best."
The card opened with a pair of draws. In the first Metamoris women's fight, Michelle Nicolini and MacKenzie Dern went the distance.
"It was great being part of the first women's fight at Metamoris," said Dern. I really wanted to come out and represent, and I think we did."
Likewise, the opening bout, a battle of late replacements in Victor Estima and J.T. Torres, also was called a draw. Neither guy would quibble with the outcome.
"I agree with the draw," Torres said. "The mission out there is to submit each other and we both failed in our submissions."
"I went for the submission all the time," Estima said. "For me, it was not clear who got the dominance in there. I'm okay with the draw. I fought to win, but I didn't do what I had to do. "