Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Team History, Fighter Stats, Biographies and News

Leonardo Vieira, also known as Leozinho or simply Leo Vieira, is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt under Romero Cavalcanti, being famous for combining one of the most eye pleasing games in BJJ with an amazing track record. Leo Vieira was also the co-founder of important teams such as Brasa Clube de Jiu Jitsu and Checkmat BJJ, becoming in the process one of grappling’s most important coaches having helped athletes such as Marcus Almeida ‘Buchecha’Lucas Leite, João Assis and many others. He is also mentioned in the Top 10 BJJ Competitors athletes of All Time list by BJJ Heroes.

Leo Vieira Jiu Jitsu

Full Name: Leonardo Alcantara Vieira

Nickname: “Leozinho” which means little Leonardo, or just Leo.

Lineage: Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie > Helio Gracie > Rolls Gracie > Romero Cavalcanti > Leonardo Vieira

Main Achievements:

  • ADCC Champion (2003, 2005)
  • World Champion (1996 brown, 1999)
  • Pan American Champion (2002, 2004)
  • Brazilian National Champion (1998)
  • ADCC Silver Medallist (2011, 2007)
  • World Silver Medallist (1997)
  • World Bronze Medallist (2000)

Weight Division: Peso Leve & Pena (76Kg/167lbs & 70kg/154lbs)

Favourite Position/Technique: Guard Passing.

Association/Team: Checkmat BJJ

Leonardo Vieira DVD Instructionals and Merchandise

Leozinho Vieira Biography

Leonardo Vieira was born on the 23rd of March 1976, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He is the eldest of 3 brothers, all of them accomplished black belts in Jiu Jitsu (Ricardo Vieira and Leandro Vieira). Leonardo or ‘Leo’ as he is named within the Jiu Jitsu community started training when he was just 6 years of age at the “Academia Master” with the legendary coach Romero Cavalcanti.

In 1993 his Master Cavalcanti merged the “Master” academy with some of his former students from the Academia Strike to formed Team Alliance, Leo competed for this new team for many years, receiving his black belt under the Alliance banner when he was 21 years old, by the hands of his master, after winning the historic first World Championships event as a Brown Belt (1996), in a final fought against Mauricio Mariano from Gracie Barra.

The following year, his first as a black belt, Leo fought his way to the final against Marcio Feitosa in the first of many historical duels between the two. This first fight went to the Gracie Barra fighter, Feitosa, but in 1998 when the two met once again in the final, Leonardo was the victor in one of the hardest fights of the event. 1998 was the last time Leonardo won the World Championship, although he did make the final again in 1999 (losing to Royler Gracie) and placed 3rd in 2000.

His career’s highest point had not been reached however, that came in 2003 when Leonardo won the World’s most prestigious Submission Grappling title, the ADCC (Abu Dhabi Combat Club), a gold medal achieved again in 2005.

In between this period, Leozinho moved to Sao Paulo and was training under Fabio Gurgel at the Team Alliance HQ there until 2002 when a group of competitors joined up against the head coach Gurgel. Leonardo left the team together with most of the black belts that trained there. The argument (in broad strokes) was over the ‘Mundial‘ (World Championships by IBJJF federation) which occurred a week after the Copa do Mundo (World Cup). As the Copa do Mundo offered a good prize money to its competitors and the Mundial didn’t, Leonardo and his team mates felt they should support this organization (CBJJO – Confederação de Jiu Jitsu Olimpico) and compete in it, Gurgel however decided against it for reasons that were never made public. The fighters went on to fight at the ‘Copa’ and Gurgel banned them from the gym, and so Leozinho and the others formed another team, ‘Master Team’ to honor the gym where this group had started training in the 1980′s. The Master Team later became Brasa Clube de Jiu Jitsu.

The Brasa Team went on for years and still exists today, but in 2008 Leo and his brothers decided to open another team in which they had more autonomy, this team they called Checkmat.

In 2011 Leozinho came out of competitive retirement after he was invited to compete at the prestigious ADCC once again, the invitation was for the vacant slot was for the ‘below 77kg’ weight division, a class above what he fought throughout his career, and arguably, the hardest divisions in the tournament. Many did not give Leonardo a fighters chance, labeling him too old to be competitive, but the veteran raised quite a few eyebrows once again in the 7th ADCC of his career by defeating the cream of the crop of the new generation and placing 2nd in the competition.

Leo Vieira Grappling Record

List of Leonardo Vieira’s fighting record in the most important touraments in Jiu Jitsu, both with the Gi (Kimono) and without it (No Gi/Submission Wrestling).

Vitor ShaolinWPts: 20x4Copa Pelen/an/a1997
R. VerrissimoWPts: 4x0MundialU76kgSemi final1997
Marcio FeitosaLAdv: 0x1MundialU76kgFinal1997
Paulo GuilhobelWn/aBrasileiroU82kgFinal1998
Marcio FeitosaWPointsMundialU76kgFinal1998
Royler GracieLReferee dec.MundialU70kgFinal1999
Vitor ShaolinLPts: 2x0MundialU76kgSemi final2000
Vitor ShaolinWPts: 6x4LPJJU75kgSemi final2000
Marcio FeitosaWPointsLPJJU75kgFinal2000
Bob SchirmerWn/aADCCU77kgRd12000
Vitor ShaolinWn/aADCCU77kg¼ Final2000
JJ MachadoLPointsADCCU77kgSemi final2000
Marcio FeitosaLAdvantageADCCU77kg3/4 place2000
Mark KerrLPts: 0x-1ADCCAbsoluteRd12000
Scott ScultzWCopacabana ckPro AmU77kgn/a2000
Matt SerraWPts: 8x2Pro AmU77kgFinal2000
Morris ClifoniWArm triangleADCCU77kgRd12001
Leo SantosLPointsADCCU77kg¼ Final2001
Fredson AlvesWn/aPan AmericanU70kgFinal2002
Gabriel WilcoxWBrabo chokeCopa do MundoU70kgn/a2002
Jair LorencoWChoke f backCopa do MundoU70kgSemi final2002
R. RibeiroWn/aCopa do MundoU70kgFinal2002
Yuki NakaiWBrabo choken/aU70kgn/an/a
Allan TeoWn/aADCCU66kgRd12003
Rany YahyaWPts: 9x0ADCCU66kg¼ Final2003
Eddie BravoWPts: 16x0ADCCU66kgSemi final2003
Baret YoshidaW0x-1ADCCU66kgFinal2003
Fredson AlvesWPts: 4x2Pan AmericanU70kgFinal2004
S. FukuzumiWX choke f mountBrazil v Japann/aSuperfight2004
T. SuzukiWPointsADCCU66kgRd12005
Joey GilbertWGuillotineADCCU66kg¼ Final2005
Rob DiCensoWNorth/South ckADCCU66kgSemi final2005
Rany YahyaWPts: 6x0ADCCU66kgFinal2005
Baret YoshidaW19x-4Budo Challengen/aSuperfight2005
Naoya UematsuWMata LeaoLA Sub Xn/aSuperfight2006
Sim GoWn/aADCCU66kgRd12007
Jeff GloverWPointsADCCU66kg¼ Final2007
T. SuzukiWPts: 8x0ADCCU66kgSemi final2007
Rany YahyaLMata LeaoADCCU66kgFinal2007
D. MarinakisWn/aADCCU66kgRd12009
Ryan HallWGuillotineADCCU66kg¼ Final2009
Rafa MendesLMata LeaoADCCU66kgSemi final2009
Enricco CocoWPts: 6x0ADCCU77kgRd12011
JT TorresWPts: 2x0ADCCU77kg¼ Final2011
C. CalasansWPts: 3x0ADCCU77kgSemi final2011
Marcelo GarciaLTriangleADCCU77kgFinal2011
S YamadaWPointsADCCU77kgRd12013
AJ AgazarmWPointsADCCU77kg¼ Final2013
Otavio SousaLPointsADCCU77kgSemi final2013
JT TorresLn/aADCCU77kg3/4 place2013

Leo Vieira vs Baret Yoshida

Leo Vieira vs Eddie Bravo

Leo Vieira vs Yuki Nakai

Leo Vieira vs Renato Verissimo “Charuto”

This post is also available in: Portuguese (Brazil)