Leonardo Santos is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt from the Nova Uniao team, being one of the most important fighters for BJJ in the early 2000′s. With numerous titles in his grappling career, Leo Santos was regarded by many as the best lightweight fighter of his generation, having victories over several great fighters such as Leo Vieira and Tiago Alves amongst many others. in 2006 Leo Santos ended his career with the kimono to follow his brother’s footsteps (Wagnney Fabiano) towards MMA fighter, and in 2013 Leonardo Santos was part of the cast of the TUF Brazil 2 reality show, a program produced by the UFC with the intention of seeking high end Mixed Martial Arts talent in the South American country.
Leo Santos Jiu Jitsu
Full Name: Leonardo Silva dos Santos
Nickname: Leonardo is often mentioned as Leo which is short for Leonardo.
Main Achievements/Record (BJJ):
- 4x World Cup Champion (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005),
- Silver World Medalist (2001 Black Belt Division);
- Bronze World Medalist (2000 Black Belt Division);
- ADCC Brazilian Trial Champion (2005)
- 4th Place in the ADCC Finals (2005)
Favourite Technique: Butterfly Guard Sweep
Weight Division: Peso Leve (76Kg/167lbs)
Association/Team: Nova Uniao
Leonardo Santos Biography
Leonardo Santos was born on the 5th of February 1980 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He started training jiu jitsu when he was 4 years old under the legendary trainer Wendell Alexander (Co-Founder of Nova Uniao) in Sao Joao de Merití (Rio de Janeiro) at the Mello Tenis Club. Although Leo as a kid had other interests (mainly soccer) and didn’t enjoy training all that much, he felt obliged to train as his older cousin and brother (MMA fighter Wagnney Fabiano) were avid Jiu Jitsu practitioners. With time Leo Santos started enjoying the benefits of jiu jitsu and also started enjoying the BJJ routine, success in BJJ Comps came with this new found love for the gentle art.
In 1995 Mr Alexander (Leo’s Coach) joined arms with Dedé Pederneiras to make Nova Uniao, a team that quickly would become one of the strongest BJJ teams in the world, at the time of the merge, Leo Santos was already seen as a star in the making.
In 2002 Leo stopped competing at the Mundial (CBJJ World Championships) as this competition did not offer prize money to it’s competitors. This was something that a lot of fighters pressed for and which catapulted the rise of CBJJO (more explained on the BJJ Mundials Page), Leo Santos started competing in CBJJO’s tournaments only (with Gi) and was undefeated for over 5 years in that organization becoming widely considered by the media and the followers of the sport as one of the top 3 lightweights in BJJ at the time.
In 2006 after a short spell helping his brother Wagnney with his academy in Canada, Leonardo decided to dedicate himself fully to MMA. This shift would not be as smooth as he wished for, with several set backs, namely in finding big names to fight against and some problems with promoters and MMA organizations such as BAMMA. In 2013, 7 years after Leonardo began his MMA career, Leo Santos was part of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 2 (Nogueira vs Wersum), a reality TV program produced by the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) which was Leo Santos’ first step in the big league of Mixed Martial Arts.
Leonardo Santos vs Mitsuyoshi Hayakawa (Superfight)
Leonardo Santos vs Roberto Werneck (World Cup 2003)
Leonardo Santos vs Jackson Moura (World Cup 2004)
Leonardo Santos vs Tiago Alves (World Cup 2005)
Leo Santos vs Paulo Pinheiro