Arguably the best jiu jitsu lightweight competitor of the mid 2000’s period, Celso Venicius (Vinicius) – also known as “Celsinho” was graduated as a black belt by the legendary Roberto “Gordo”. Originally from the Gracie Barra academy, Celsinho became the head coach at the Ryan Gracie academy in Sao Paulo after the Gracie’s tragic death in 2007. Celso Venicius has also ventured into MMA in the 2010′s decade.
Celso Venicius Jiu Jitsu
Full Name: Celso Venícius Alves Pinho Júnior
Nickname: “Celsinho” means Little Celso.
Main Achievements (Black Belt):
- 3x World Champion (2008, 2006, 2005);
- Pan American Champion (2008);
- South American Champion (2009 – Middleweight Division);
- Ultimate Absolute NYC 2 Champion (2011)
- World Pro Cup Silver Medallist (2011)
- World Bronze Medallist (2007)
Favourite Position/Technique: Half Guard
Weight Division: Peso Leve (Lightweight) 76Kg /167lbs
Association/Team: Gordo JJ/Ryan Gracie JJ/ Gracie-Barra
Celso Venicius Biography
Celso Venicius was born on December 27, 1983 in Rio de Janeiro–Brazil. His interest in jiu jitsu occurred after watching an MMA event on TV where he was amazed to see a BJJ practitioner’s style for the first time, admiring the way the grappler controlled the fight on the ground. He thought the ground game made it look more like it was all about technical ability rather then athleticism and so he decided to start looking for an academy to begin his training in jiu jitsu, he found one in 1998.
Only two years later, Celsinho started making his mark in jiu jitsu and being noticed by jiu jitsu’s media. This happened when he fought on the “Expert Adults Division” of a major grappling tournament being just 16 years old. Celso won his way to the final where he met another fighter that was already considered a prodigy Thiago Fernandes (RIP) from Nova União, the final lasted 20 minutes. The match ended as a draw and the organization awarded both fighters with the first prize.
As the years went by, Celso won more and more competitions solidifying himself as one of the hottest lightweight prospects in the world. In 2004 after he won the World Jiu Jitsu Championships (Mundial) in the brown belt division, Celso Venicius received his black belt while standing on the podium from the hands of his long time master Roberto Correa.
Another big moment in Celso Venicius’s life came about in 2009 after the death of Ryan Gracie (jiu jitsu’s original “enfant terrible”). Ryan Gracie had one of the strongest teams in the São Paulo area (which combined had around 1000 students), with his passing these academies were left without a head coach. Celso Venicius was hired to take Ryan Gracie’s place. In fact, Mr Venicius said in an interview given to Tatame Magazine shortly after the takeover, that Ryan had contacted him previous to his death and asked him to join in as an assistant coach, which made the whole process easier.
At Ryan Gracie’s academy, Celso also started learning MMA. He began competing in smaller shows and his career as an MMA fighter started picking up some steam in 2011.
Celso Venicius vs Orlando Zanetti (Sul Americano 2009)
Celso Venicius vs Mario Reis (Mundial 2006)