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.

Rafael Mendes Fight Stats

1 by sub
15 by Points (37%)
3 by Advantages (7%)
1 by Penalties (2%)
20 by Submission (49%)
2 by Decision (5%)
0 by Disqualified (0%)
3 by Armbar (15%)
1 by Brabo choke (5%)
Brabo choke
3 by Choke (15%)
8 by Choke from back (40%)
Choke from back
1 by Inverted triangle (5%)
Inverted triangle
1 by Kimura (5%)
2 by Mata leao (10%)
Mata leao
1 by Wristlock (5%)
0 by Points (0%)
1 by Advantages (25%)
0 by Penalties (0%)
0 by Submission (0%)
3 by Decision (75%)
0 by Disqualified (0%)

Fight History

ID Opponent W/L Method Competition Weight Stage Year
722Rubens CharlesRubens CharlesLRefree DecisionWorld Champ.U70kgSemi f.2009
861Augusto MendesAugusto MendesLRefree DecisionWorld Pro.U65kgFinal2011
1827Clark GracieClark GracieDN/AMetamoris 3OpenSuperfight2013
2044Augusto MendesAugusto MendesLPts: 2x2, AdvWorld Champ.U70kgFinal2013
2093Rubens CharlesRubens CharlesLRefree DecisionADCCU66kgFinal2013
674Leonardo VieiraLeonardo VieiraWMata leaoADCCU66kgSemi2009
719Carlos LemosCarlos LemosWPts: 4x0World Champ.U70kg1/4 final2009
769Denilson PimentaDenilson PimentaWPts: 2x0WPC SD trialsU65kgSemi f.2010
777Denilson PimentaDenilson PimentaWChoke from backWPC Gr TrialsU65kgSemi f.2010
779Theodoro CanalTheodoro CanalWChoke from backWPC Gr TrialsU65kgFinal2010
804Guilherme MendesGuilherme MendesWPts: 4x2World Pro.U65kgFinal2010
813Rubens CharlesRubens CharlesWPts: 4x2BrasileiroU70kgFinal2010
822Rubens CharlesRubens CharlesWPts: 4x4, AdvWorld Champ.U70kgFinal2010
854Marcelino FreitasMarcelino FreitasWChokeWorld Pro.U65kgRd 12011
857Gustavo FalciroliWChoke from backWorld Pro.U65kg1/4 final2011
859Bruno MalfacineBruno MalfacineWPts: 7x0World Pro.U65kgSemi f.2011
932Daisuke NakamuraDaisuke NakamuraWChokeWorld Champ.U70kg2nd2011
944Justin RaderJustin RaderWChokeWorld Champ.U70kg3rd2011
1029Leonardo SaggioroWInverted triangleWorld Champ.U701/4 Final2011
1057Mario ReisMario ReisWPts: 4x2World Champ.U70Semi f.2011
1070Augusto MendesAugusto MendesWPts: 4x4, AdvWorld Champ.U70kgFinal2011
1096Bruno FrazattoBruno FrazattoWPts: 6x0ADCCU66kg1st2011
1136Justin RaderJustin RaderWMata leaoADCCU661/4 Finals2011
1157Robson MouraRobson MouraWPointsADCCU66Semi Finals2011
1171Rubens CharlesRubens CharlesWPenADCCU66Final2011
1330Justin RaderJustin RaderWN/APan AmericanU70kg1/4 final2012
1334Mario ReisMario ReisWWristlockPan AmericanU70kgSemi f.2012
1336Rubens CharlesRubens CharlesWArmbarPan AmericanU70kgFinal2012
1589Sandro “Batata”WBrabo chokeWorld Champ.U70kgRd 22012
1601Cristiano RenatoWKimuraWorld Champ.U70kgRd 32012
1608Takayuki KoyamaWChoke from backWorld Champ.U70kg1/4 final2012
1612Mario ReisMario ReisWPts: 2x0World Champ.U70kgSemi f.2012
1614Rubens CharlesRubens CharlesWRefree DecisionWorld Champ.U70kgFinal2012
1877Renato VieiraWArmbarPan AmericanU70kg1/4 final2013
1879Mario ReisMario ReisWPts: 2x0Pan AmericanU70kgSemi f.2013
1880Rubens CharlesRubens CharlesWRefree DecisionPan AmericanU70kgFinal2013
2041Mayko BorgesWArmbarWorld Champ.U70kg1/4 Final2013
2042Mario ReisMario ReisWAdvWorld Champ.U70kgSemi Final2013
2090Joao MiyaoJoao MiyaoWPts: 2x0ADCCU66kgSemi final2013
2132Gianni GrippoGianni GrippoWPts: 3x0EuropeanU70kgSemi f.2014
2134Paulo MiyaoPaulo MiyaoWPts: 3x0EuropeanU70kgFinal2014
2402Tumas KristenWChoke from backWorld Champ.U70kgRounds2014
2405Nicollas AraujoWChoke from backWorld Champ.U70kgRounds2014
2415Gianni GrippoGianni GrippoWChoke from backWorld Champ.U70kg1/4 Final2014
2418Mario ReisMario ReisWChoke from backWorld Champ.U70kgSemi f.2014
2420Rubens CharlesRubens CharlesWPts: 10x8World Champ.U70kgFinal2014
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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