Rafael Mendes is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt world champion under the illustrious coach Ramon Lemos. Considered a BJJ phenom since his late teens and acclaimed as “the king of the featherweight division” by many BJJ enthusiasts, Rafael was also one of the competitors that brought recognition to the 50-50 Guard and the berimbolo, a style he used to de-throne the former 5x world champion Rubens Charles. Rafael Mendes is also the brother of another Jiu Jitsu World Champion Guilherme Mendes.
Rafael Mendes Jiu Jitsu
Rafael Mendes: Rafael Mendes Godoy
Nickname: Rafa which is short for Rafael.
- 6x World Champion (2012, 2011, 2010 black, 2008 brown, 2007 purple; 2006 blue);
- 2x ADCC Champion (2009, 2011);
- 2x Pan American Champion (2012, 2011);
- 3x European Champion (2014, 2010, 2009);
- 2x Jiu Jitsu World Pro Cup Champion (2010, 2009);
- Brazilian National Champion (2010)
Favorite technique: Leg-Drag Guad Pass, Berimbolo & 50-50 Guard
Weight Division: Peso Pena (70kg – 154lbs)
Affiliation/Team: Atos Jiu Jitsu.
Rafael Mendes Merchandise:
Rafael Mendes Biography
Rafael was born in Rio Claro, a city in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Rafael and Guilherme Mendes, his brother, started their jiu jitsu training through an older cousin named Thiago Mendes, who was a purple belt under Leonardo Santos. After only a few months of training with Thiago, their cousin immediately spotted great potential for the youngsters and took them to come and train at the main academy with Santos, as they would progress a lot quicker. This main gym was led by Leonardo and Ramon Lemos – the man who would later become the Atos Team leader. Being just 13 years old, but already incredibly gifted Rafael and his brother picked up all the techniques with amazing ease, and started dedicating himself to BJJ almost full time, training at least two times per day.
It was also around this time that the Mendes’s parents split, leaving both brothers without a fatherly figure. Guilherme and Rafael have reported to the media several times of how their coach Ramon Lemos filled most of that void, teaching them not only BJJ but the moral values with which they built their character. Rafael was an amazing BJJ student winning all World Championships from blue belt all the way to brown in consecutive years, achieving the bronze medal in his first year as a black belt (2009) and winning his first world gold medal as a black belt in 2010.
Rafael’s amazing rise to BJJ stardom came overnight, when he was just 17. Having never competed without a gi (kimono) before, Ramon Lemos enlisted the teenager Rafael in the ADCC Brazilian Trials, arguably the hardest trial event in the world for its biggest Submission Wrestling tournament (the ADCC). Rafael made it to the final of the trials losing a hard fight against Bruno Frazatto (who would later become his friend and team mate at Atos).
Ramon Lemos awarded Rafael his black belt in late 2008, the young Mendes was not scared with the task at hand, and almost immediately started paving his road with success. Rafael won the Jiu Jitsu World Pro Abu Dhabi Cup, one of the best and hardest competitions in the world, winning a gold medal also at the ADCC finals, placing 3rd in the Mundial… medaling on all 3 competitions and fighting against Rubens Charles “Cobrinha” (Considered the best fighter of 2009 by the Brazilian Press).
Rafael Mendes Grappling Fight Record
Below is an account of Rafael Mendes’ jiu jitsu fight record in the most important tournaments of the jiu jitsu calendar.
|Wellington Dias||W||Armbar||Euro Open||Pena||½ Final||2010|
|Renan Borges||W||Points (2×0)||Euro Open||Pena||Final||2010|
|G. Mendes||W||Points (4×2)||WJJPC||-64kg||Final||2010|
|D. Nakamura||W||Armbar||World Champ.||Pena||Rd. 1||2010|
|Ryan Hall||W||Points (5×2)||World Champ.||Pena||Rd. 2||2010|
|Gustavo Caprio||W||Choke f/ Back||World Champ.||Pena||¼ Final||2010|
|Denilson Pimenta||W||Choke f/ Back||World Champ.||Pena||½ Final||2010|
|Rubens Charles||W||2 Adantages||World Champ.||Pena||Final||2010|
|Renan Borges||W||Choke||Euro Open||Pena||¼ Final*||2011|
|Marcelino Freitas||W||Brabo Choke||WJJPC||-64kg||Rd. 1||2011|
|Gustavo Falciroli||W||Choke f/ Back||WJJPC||-64kg||¼ Final||2011|
|Bruno Malfacine||W||Points (7×0)||WJJPC||-64kg||½ Final||2011|
|Augusto Mendes||W||Ref. Decision||WJJPC||-64kg||Final||2011|
|D. Nakamura||W||Choke||World Champ.||Pena||Rd. 1||2011|
|Justin Rader||W||Choke||World Champ.||Pena||Rd. 2||2011|
|Leo Saggioro||W||Invert. Triangle||World Champ.||Pena||¼ Final||2011|
|Mario Reis||W||Points (4×2)||World Champ.||Pena||½ Final||2011|
|Augusto Mendes||W||Advant. (3×1)||World Champ.||Pena||Final||2011|
|Bruno Frazatto||W||Points (6×0)||ADCC||-66kg||Rd. 1||2011|
|Justin Rader||W||Mata Leao||ADCC||-66kg||¼ Finals||2011|
|Robson Moura||W||Points||ADCC||-66kg||½ Finals||2011|
|Rubens Charles||W||Points (0x-1)||ADCC||-66kg||Final||2011|
|Andre Monteiro||W||Brabo Choke||HoustonOpen||Pena||½ Final**||2012|
|Justin Rader||W||Triangle||Pan American||Pena||¼ Final||2012|
|Mario Reis||W||Wristlock||Pan American||Pena||½ Final||2012|
|Rubens Charles||W||Armbar||Pan American||Pena||Final||2012|
|Sandro “Batata”||W||Brabo Choke||World Champ.||Pena||Rd 2||2012|
|Cristiano Renato||W||Kimura||World Champ.||Pena||Rd 3||2012|
|Takayuki Koyama||W||Choke f/ Back||World Champ.||Pena||¼ Final||2012|
|Mario Reis||W||Points (2×0)||World Champ.||Pena||Semi||2012|
|Rubens Charles||W||Ref. Decision||World Champ.||Pena||Final||2012|
|Gustavo Caprio||W||Wristlock||Houston Open||Pena||Semi||2013|
|Geoffrey Villareal||W||Armbar||San Fran. Open||Pena||Semi||2013|
|Renato Vieira||W||Armbar||Pan American||Pena||¼ Final||2013|
|Mario Reis||W||Points (2×0)||Pan American||Pena||Semi||2013|
|Rubens Charles||W||Ref. Decision||Pan American||Pena||Final||2013|
|Mayko Borges||W||Armbar||World Champ.||Pena||¼ Final||2013|
|Mario Reis||W||Penalties (0×1)||World Champ.||Pena||Semi||2013|
|Tanquinho||L||Advant. (2×1)||World Champ.||Pena||Final||2013|
* Rafael Mendes’s team (Atos) closed all last 4 places in the tournament.
** Closed final with team mate.
Rafael Mendes Fight Videos
Rafael Mendes vs Cobrinha
Rafael Mendes vs Justin Rader
Rafael Mendes vs Gustavo Falciroli
Rafael Mendes Berimbolo Highlight by the Jiu Jitsu Lab
Rafael Mendes Highlight
This post is also available in: Portuguese (Brazil)