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

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.

Lineage: Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie > Carlson Gracie > Andre Pederneiras > Ramon Lemos > Rafael Mendes

Main Achievements:

  • World Champion (2014, 2012, 2011, 2010)
  • ADCC Champion (2009, 2011)
  • Pan American Champion (2012, 2011)
  • European Champion (2014, 2010, 2009)
  • 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 Biography

Rafael was born on the 20th of June, 1989 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).

Banner picture taken by Ross Finlayson.

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.

Opponent W/L Method Tournament Weight Stage Year
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)

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