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

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Vagner Rocha

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Vagner Rocha, commonly known as Ceará is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Pablo Popovitch, known for his achievements in grappling and mixed martial arts (MMA) – having competed for the top promotions in both sports, the ADCC (BJJ) and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (MMA). Rocha is also an ADCC medalist and the founder of Vagner Rocha Martial Arts, a well-known association in the South Florida region.

Vagner Rocha Jiu-Jitsu

Full Name: Vagner Rocha

Nickname: ‘Ceará’ is a word often used to reference Vagner, which is the name of a state in Brazil’s Northwest. The natives of this region are often depicted as Brazil’s version of hillbillies – tough country folk, ridiculed for their lack of sophistication and, in Brazil, for the size of their heads. The name was associated with Vagner by Jorge Popovitch when Rocha started training because even though he wasn’t born in Ceará, he fit the description.

Lineage: Carlos Gracie > Crolin Gracie > Jorge Popovitch > Pablo Popovitch > Vagner Rocha

Main Achievements:

  • 1st Place ADCC US East Trials (2015/2010)
  • 1st Place ADCC US West Trials (2017)
  • 1st Place EBI Combat Invitational (2017)
  • 1st Place IBJJF Pans Championship (2007 brown)
  • 1st Place Florida Grappling League (2009**)
  • 1st Place Grapplers Quest Champion (2009**)
  • 2nd Place ADCC World Championship (2019)
  • 2nd Place IBJJF World Championship NOGI (2021)
  • 2nd Place 3CG Kumite III Grand Prix (2020)
  • 2nd Place Eddie Bravo Invitational 13 (2017)
  • 2nd Place Eddie Bravo Invitational 11 (2017)
  • 2nd Place ADCC US West Trials (2013)
  • 3rd Place ADCC World Championship (2017 / 2022)

Main Achievements (Colored Belts):

  • 1st Place IBJJF Pans Championship (2007 brown)

* Absolute
** Weight and absolute

Favorite Position/Technique: 50/50 of the Arms

Weight Division: Peso Médio (82,30 kg /181.5 lbs)

Team/Association: Vagner Rocha Martial Arts

Vagner Rocha Biography

Vagner Rocha was born on June 6, 1982, in Nova Friburgo, a Brazilian mountainous region included in the state of Rio de Janeiro.

At the age of 5, Vagner’s family moved to the United States, settling in Fort Lauderdale – South of Florida. It was there that Rocha spent most of his childhood and formative years, being also the place where he was introduced to martial arts, at the age of 7 through taekwondo.

Vagner practiced TKD for 2 years, losing his connection with the martial art as a brown belt, he would re-engage with combat sports as an 18-year-old – this time through jiu-jitsu. His newfound love for grappling was sparked in his native Brazil 2 years earlier, while on holiday playing around with a cousin who had gained some experience with the sport/martial art. Vagner and this cousin would engage in playful fighting every holiday since they were little and always on even grounds, this changed that Summer when Rocha was totally manhandled, choked, and tapped at will. Vagner soon understood his cousin’s new skills were owed to BJJ. It didn’t take long for Rocha to start contemplating signing with a gym, though it took him 24 months to finally join.

Vagner started training jiu-jitsu in 2001 with Jorge Popovitch. He was forced to slow down his training soon after due to the birth of his first child. He put training on the background to provide for his family, but once he found a steady job at a construction site and finished night school he returned, giving his full dedication to grappling.

The Popovitch family (Jorge and son  Pablo) were an integral part of Vagner’s progression in jiu-jitsu, awarding him all belts – including his black belt, a promotion that took place at the team’s end of the year dinner party in December 2007.

In 2008 Vagner was offered a position as a coach at the BJJ Centre (Popovitch academy). He learned the art of coaching and running a gym there, gradually leaving his construction job behind to focus solely on BJJ. Rocha would later add a career in mixed martial arts to his skill set, a competitive circuit he premiered in, in 2009 and eventually found his way to the sport’s top promotion – the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in 2011.

2011 was also the year when the Popovitch + Rocha partnership ended and Vagner Rocha Martial Arts (VRMA) was born – Vagner’s own association.

Rocha is often associated with Fight Sports, another well-known academy based in Florida. This link between Vagner and FS comes from Roberto ‘Cyborg’ Abreu whom he met in 2007. Vagner had known of Roberto for long, from bumping into him in jiu-jitsu events, but the first time they interacted was that year at a grappling tournament called ‘Copa America’. Both Rocha and Cyborg made it through to the final of CA’s open weight class, and in the process of an epic battle, they gained great mutual respect, which led to a friendship. Training together on a regular basis, in 2009 Rocha and Abreu formed an alliance, and a bigger team was born. It was named The Avengers.

The Avengers were a merged formation, combining Cyborg, Rocha, Pablo Popovitch, Marcus Almeida, Rodrigo Cavaca, Raphael Chaves, and a few other well-known black belts. The team took the IBJJF No-Gi Worlds by storm in 2010 but eventually fell through – through the union between Rocha and Abreu persisted, someone Vagner has described as both a friend and an inspiration.

Cover photo by Blanca Marisa Garcia @ Combat EBI World Championship

Vagner Rocha Academy Web: vagnerrochamartialarts.com

Vagner Rocha Grappling Record

101 WINS
  • BY POINTS
    29 (29%)
  • BY ADVANTAGES
    2 (2%)
  • BY SUBMISSION
    45 (45%)
  • BY DECISION
    19 (19%)
  • BY PENALTIES
    1 (1%)
  • BY EBI/OT
    5 (5%)

45 SUBMISSIONS WINS

#214eb8
RNC
16
7
#86e620
Armbar
11
5
#5AD3D1
Short choke
11
5
#d1212a
Triangle
9
4
#fad11b
Reverse triangle
7
3
#f58822
Submission
7
3
#224aba
Shoulder lock
4
2
#ff9124
Anaconda choke
4
2
#bf1f6c
Choke
4
2
#22c9a5
Heel hook
4
2
#fad223
Inside heel hook
4
2
#03861f
Cross face
4
2
#039a1f
Toe hold
4
2
#03b41f
Triangle armbar
2
1
#03c61f
Kimura
2
1
#03d61f
Wristlock
2
1
#03f61f
Aoki lock
2
1
45
(100%) SUBMISSIONS
29 LOSSES
  • BY POINTS
    9 (31%)
  • BY ADVANTAGES
    2 (7%)
  • BY SUBMISSION
    5 (17%)
  • BY DECISION
    8 (28%)
  • BY PENALTIES
    1 (3%)
  • BY EBI/OT
    3 (10%)

5 SUBMISSIONS LOSSES

#214eb8
Footlock
20
1
#86e620
RNC
20
1
#5AD3D1
Inside heel hook
20
1
#d1212a
Reverse triangle
20
1
#fad11b
Armbar
20
1
5
(100%) SUBMISSIONS

Vagner Rocha Fight History

ID Opponent W/L Method Competition Weight Stage Year
2422Carlos FerreiraLPointsNoGi Worlds79KG4F2009
2798Matt ArroyoLPointsMMAC GrapplingABSF2011
3233Augusto MendesAugusto MendesLFootlockADCC77KGR12011
4028Diego BorgesDiego BorgesLPointsWorld Champ.82KGR12012
4348G. TononLPointsADCC US Trials77KGF2013
7948Otavio SousaOtavio SousaLReferee DecisionADCC77KG4F2015
7996Joao RochaJoao RochaLPts: 3x0ADCCABS4F2015
10686AJ AgazarmAJ AgazarmLDQF2W 1477KGSPF2016
10763Gordon RyanGordon RyanD---Sapateiro 2ABSSPF2016
12019Gordon RyanGordon RyanLRNCEBI 1177KGF2017
13248DJ JacksonDJ JacksonLPts: 25x8Grappling Pro77KGSPF2017
13904Lucas LepriLucas LepriLReferee DecisionADCC77KGSF2017
14235Garry TononGarry TononLInside heel hookEBI 1370KGF2017
14672Gilson NunesGilson NunesLPts: 0x0, AdvNoGi Worlds73KGR22017
14730Jared DoppJared DoppLPts: 0x0, AdvNoGi WorldsABSR12017
16960Francisco IturraldeFrancisco IturraldeLReferee DecisionW.S.O.G.81KG8F2018
17249Renato CanutoRenato CanutoLPts: 1x1, PenKasai Pro 377KGF2018
18200Renato CanutoRenato CanutoLPts: 3x0Kasai Pro 477KGSPF2018
21262JT TorresJT TorresLReferee DecisionF2W 11977KGSPF2019
21908JT TorresJT TorresLPts: 3x0ADCC77KGF2019
22427Tye RuotoloTye RuotoloLReferee DecisionF2W 13177KGSPF2019
23750Craig JonesCraig JonesLEBI/OTSUG 1488KGSPF2020
23820Roberto JimenezRoberto JimenezLReferee Decision3CG Kumite III81KGF2020
23934Alexandre RibeiroAlexandre RibeiroD---BJJ Bet95KGSPF2020
25409Gordon RyanGordon RyanLReverse triangleWNO 793KGSPF2021
28332Pedro MarinhoPedro MarinhoLPts: 4x2NoGi Worlds91KGF2021
33536Felipe PenaFelipe PenaLEBI/OTHonor ChallengeABSF2022
35073Lucas BarbosaLucas BarbosaLReferee DecisionADCC88KGSF2022
40869Nick RodriguezNick RodriguezLEBI/OTUFC FPI 4ABSSF2023
44572Abraham MontagneLReferee DecisionADCC Florida91KGSF2023
49544Nicholas MeregaliNicholas MeregaliLArmbarWNO 23O93KGSPF2024
1845David VieiraWPointsCopa AmericaABSF2008
2789G. GeigerWPointsADCC US Trials77KGR12010
2790Brian BeauryBrian BeauryWAnaconda chokeADCC US Trials77KGR22010
2791B. McLaughWArmbarADCC US Trials77KG4F2010
2792Peter RunezWChokeADCC US Trials77KGSF2010
2793Tony TiptonWPointsADCC US Trials77KGF2010
2796A. AgazarmWTriangle armbarMMAC GrapplingABS4F2011
2797Corey HillWReverse triangleMMAC GrapplingABSSF2011
2811UnknownWRNCFGLABSR12011
2812UnknownWRNCFGLABS4F2011
2813UnknownWReverse triangleFGLABSSF2011
2814Danilo VillefortWPts: 6x0FGLABSF2011
2815Edson DinizEdson DinizWPts: 2x0FGL77KGF2011
3199UnknownWTriangleADCC EC Trials77KGR12011
3200UnknownWAnaconda chokeADCC EC Trials77KGR22011
3201UnknownWArmbarADCC EC Trials77KG4F2011
3202UnknownWChokeADCC EC Trials77KGSF2011
3203Tony TiptonWPointsADCC EC Trials77KGF2011
4333Anton YalchWKimuraCopa AmericaABS4F2013
4334Jeremy YorkWShort chokeCopa AmericaABSSF2013
4335Dan MartinezWPointsCopa AmericaABSF2013
4343N/AWArmbarADCC US Trials77KGR12013
4344N/AWTriangleADCC US Trials77KGR22013
4345Ed CummingsWPointsADCC US Trials77KG4F2013
4347Enrico CoccoEnrico CoccoWReferee DecisionADCC US Trials77KGSF2013
7208UnknownWPointsADCC US Trials77KG8F2015
7211UnknownWPointsADCC US Trials77KG4F2015
7214Jonathan SatavaJonathan SatavaWPointsADCC US Trials77KGSF2015
7215Magid HageWPointsADCC US Trials77KGF2015
7941Milton VieiraWPts: 2x0ADCC77KGR12015
7991Romulo BarralRomulo BarralWPts: 2x0ADCCABSR12015
12010Joe BaizeWEBI/OTEBI 1177KGR12017
12015Sergio ArdilaSergio ArdilaWShort chokeEBI 1177KG4F2017
12017Craig JonesCraig JonesWEBI/OTEBI 1177KGSF2017
12483Edmund KimWPts: 3x0ADCC WC Trials77KGR12017
12499Werther MarcialesWRNCADCC WC Trials77KGR22017
12512Will DurkeeWArmbarADCC WC Trials77KG8F2017
12518Stephen MartinezWSubmissionADCC WC Trials77KG4F2017
12523Jonathan SatavaJonathan SatavaWReferee DecisionADCC WC Trials77KGSF2017
12524AJ AgazarmAJ AgazarmWReferee DecisionADCC WC Trials77KGF2017
13895Tero PyylampiWPts: 3x0ADCC77KGE12017
13901DJ JacksonDJ JacksonWReferee DecisionADCC77KG4F2017
13906Garry TononGarry TononWPts: 2x0ADCC77KG3RD2017
14225Issa AbleWEBI/OTEBI 1370KGR12017
14231PJ BarchPJ BarchWEBI/OTEBI 1370KG4F2017
14234Nathan OrchardWEBI/OTEBI 1370KGSF2017
14667Nicolas ReinerWShort chokeNoGi Worlds73KGR12017
14858Dustin AkbariWReferee DecisionF2W 5882KGSPF2018
15711Bill CooperBill CooperWShort chokeF2W 6877KGSPF2018
16680Dante LeonDante LeonWRNCGrappling Ind.82KGSPF2018
17235Masahiro IwasakiMasahiro IwasakiWHeel hookKasai Pro 377KGRR2018
17241M. LutesD---Kasai Pro 377KGRR2018
17243M. LutesD---Kasai Pro 377KGRR2018
17244Marcin HeldWWristlockKasai Pro 377KGRR2018
17848Augusto MendesAugusto MendesWReferee DecisionF2W 8970KGSPF2018
18520Ben HendersonWRNCPolaris 877KGSPF2018
19551Ross NichollsRoss NichollsWReferee DecisionPolaris 977KGSPF2019
20870Ethan CrelinstenEthan CrelinstenWPointsThird Coast75KGSPF2019
20981Celso ViniciusCelso ViniciusWPts: 4x2KASAI SS Florida77KGSPF2019
21868Servio TulioServio TulioWArmbarADCC77KGR12019
21873Celso ViniciusCelso ViniciusWReferee DecisionADCC77KG4F2019
21906Dante LeonDante LeonWReferee DecisionADCC77KGSF2019
23459Thiago MoisesWPointsSub StarsN/ASPF2020
23816Kody SteeleKody SteeleWPoints3CG Kumite III81KG4F2020
23819Pedro MarinhoPedro MarinhoWPoints3CG Kumite III81KGSF2020
23864Ronaldo JuniorRonaldo JuniorWReferee DecisionWNO86KGSPF2020
24418Gabriel AlmeidaGabriel AlmeidaWInside heel hookF2W 15783KGSPF2020
24866Jon BlankJon BlankWReferee DecisionWNO 5SPF88KG2020
25163Yuri SimoesYuri SimoesWReferee DecisionF2W 164ABSSPF2021
25962William TackettWilliam TackettWReferee DecisionF2W 17184KGSPF2021
26312Josh HingerJosh HingerWReferee DecisionWNO 983KGSPF2021
28323Giancarlo BodoniGiancarlo BodoniWReferee DecisionNoGi Worlds91KG8F2021
28331Diego RamalhoDiego RamalhoWReferee DecisionNoGi Worlds91KGSF2021
31283Francisco CuneoFrancisco CuneoWRNCCharleston NGOABSSF2022
31284Estevan MartinezEstevan MartinezWRNCCharleston NGOABSF2022
32501Thiago CesarWSubmissionSD NGO91KGSF2022
32502Jorge FarfanWTriangleSD NGO91KGF2022
32504Rafael AnjosRafael AnjosWHeel hookSD NGOABS4F2022
32506Elliot KellyWSubmissionSD NGOABSSF2022
32508Johnny TamaJohnny TamaWAoki lockSD NGOABSF2022
33535Hugo BorimWCross faceHonor ChallengeABSSF2022
33839Angelo ClaiborneAngelo ClaiborneWCross faceOrlando SMNGO91KGSF2022
33840Juan RomeroWReverse triangleOrlando SMNGO91KGF2022
33843Francisco CuneoFrancisco CuneoWPointsOrlando SMNGOABS4F2022
33845Johanan VielmaWN/AOrlando SMNGOABSSF2022
33847Jeferson GuaresiJeferson GuaresiWAdvOrlando SMNGOABSF2022
35063Izaak MichellIzaak MichellWReferee DecisionADCC88KGR12022
35071Pedro MarinhoPedro MarinhoWReferee DecisionADCC88KG4F2022
35075Eoghan OFlanaganWToe holdADCC88KG3RD2022
36934Shawn HoehneWShoulder lockNoGi Worlds91KGR12022
36942Bryan PetersonWToe holdNoGi Worlds91KG4F2022
36945C. NegromonteC. NegromonteWPts: 0x0, AdvNoGi Worlds91KGSF2022
40866Fellipe AndrewFellipe AndrewWInside heel hookUFC FPI 4ABS4F2023
41791Uros CilicWPointsTough RollNASPF2023
44562T. VinesWPts: 2x0ADCC Florida91KGR12023
44565E. BirchWPts: 2x0ADCC Florida91KG8F2023
44569B. WagenaarWShoulder lockADCC Florida91KG4F2023
45925Victor SilverioVictor SilverioWShort chokeUFC FPI 584KGSPF2023
46575Luke GriffithLuke GriffithWReferee DecisionBattle OT PromoABSSPF2024
46909T. BoWPts: 3x0ADCC ACity91KGR12024
46911J. AlbarelloWPts: 2x0ADCC ACity91KG4F2024
46913S. KilmerWPenADCC ACity91KGSF2024
46914Dylan MeltonWPts: 3x0ADCC ACity91KGF2024

Vagner Rocha vs Eddie Cummings

John Danaher BJJ Escapes

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