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Gabriel Vella

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Gabriel Vella is a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt under Ryan Gracie who was one of the top competitors of his generation. Vella became a well known representative of the state of Sao Paulo (Brazil) during the late 1990’s, a decade when the sport was dominated by Rio de Janeiro. Gabriel Vella was linked to a few different BJJ academies, but particularly Ryan Gracie Academy and Alliance.


Gabriel Vella Jiu Jitsu

Full Name: Gabriel Vella de Freitas

Nickname: n/a

Lineage: Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie > Carlos Gracie Jr > Ryan Gracie > Gabriel Vella

Main Titles:

  • World Champion (2009, 2002)
  • Pan American Champion (2010, 2004, 2000 – brown belt division, 1998 – purple belt division)
  • World No-Gi Champion (2008)
  • Brazilian National Champion (1998 – purple belt division)
  • World Pro Cup Champion (2010)

Weight Category: Pesadíssimo (Over 221lbs)

Favourite Position/Technique: Guard Passing, Baseball Choke

Team/Association: Gracie Elite/Ryan Gracie

Gabriel Vella Biography

Gabriel Vella de Freitas was born on the 30th of April 1981 in Sao Paulo. Gabriel came from a sporting family (his father Luiz Otavio Batista de Freitas was a South American Swimming Champion) and it did not come as a surprise that him and his brother Thiago were sports fanatics as well from an early age, practicing several sports such as Water Polo, Team Handball, Football (soccer), Karate and Judo.

When Gabriel was 14 years old he found Jiu Jitsu (BJJ). He was training Judo at the time while his brother had started training BJJ at Ryan Gracie’s gym in Sao Paulo (the Gracie’s first in that state). Gabriel came over to check his brother’s (Thiago) training. Ryan saw the young Vella standing at the side of the mat and invited him to train. Gabriel took the invite and liked the training so much he joined the gym.

Gabriel and his brother were hooked to BJJ from the get go, they started training two times per day and were terrorizing the lower belt divisions by 1997 with their aggressive style always looking for the finish. This success did not pass unnoticed by the media who soon started requesting interviews with the wiz kid from Sao Paulo. At the time Sao Paulo had very few fighters that got close to competing with the elite of Rio de Janeiro, the exceptions were Godoi and Patino “Macaco”, but this new breed of fighters led by the Vella brothers would bring a little of the attention to Sao Paulo.

In 2000 after sweeping pretty much every important trophy there was to win in the lower belt divisions, Gabriel Vella was awarded his Black Belt from the hands of Ryan Gracie. In 2003 after winning the World Title in 2002 he decided to test BJJ’s efficiency by shifting to MMA. Straight off the bat he found himself competing with Yuki Kondo, the king of pancrase, a fight that ended in a draw.

Gabriel Vella spent the new few years away from the main stream competitive Jiu Jitsu. having difficulties in finding the drive to fight at the Ryan Gracie academy. He ended taking drastic measures to ensure the progression of his BJJ career by shifting to their Sao Paulo rivals, the Alliance, who at the time had a more professional team that provided a coverage impossible to obtain at the Gracie Academy. Though criticized by the BJJ community he left and found his competitive edge again winning the Nogi World tournament and reaching the finals of many important tournaments.

Though Gabriel Vella found success at Alliance, his ideas clashed with those of the Alliance management leading him to eventually leave the group and return to RGA, then led by Celso Vinicius (who took over after the death of Ryan Gracie).

Gabriel Vella Grappling Record

    10 (53%)
    3 (16%)
    4 (21%)
    2 (11%)
    0 (0%)
  • BY DQ
    0 (0%)


Baseball choke
Cross choke
    6 (86%)
    1 (14%)
    0 (0%)
    0 (0%)
    0 (0%)
  • BY DQ
    0 (0%)


Gabriel Vella Fight History

ID Opponent W/L Method Competition Weight Stage Year
1817Andre GalvaoAndre GalvaoLPointsSuper ChallengeABS4F2007
1983Alexandre RibeiroAlexandre RibeiroLPointsWorld Champ.ABSSF2008
2025Braga NetoBraga NetoLPts: 2x2, AdvNoGi WorldsABSF2008
2580Bernardo FariaBernardo FariaLPts: 2x0Pan AmericanABS4F2010
2639Ricardo AbreuRicardo AbreuLPts: 2x0World Pro.O92KGF2010
2891Antonio PeinadoAntonio PeinadoLPointsPan AmericanO100KGSF2011
4509DJ JacksonDJ JacksonLPts: 2x0Pan AmericanABSR22013
680Hugo CarioniWBaseball chokeWorld Champ.100KGR12002
681Lucio LinharesWCross chokeWorld Champ.100KG4F2002
684Roberto ToziRoberto ToziWBaseball chokeWorld Champ.100KGSF2002
973Adriano MacielWPts: 2x0BB Challenge 3100KGSPF2004
1005Eduardo TellesEduardo TellesWPts: 0x0, AdvPan American94KGSF2004
1812Eduardo TellesEduardo TellesWReferee DecisionSuper ChallengeABSR12007
1964Eduardo PaulistaWPointsWorld Champ.O100KGR12008
1971Daniel AguilarWArmbarWorld Champ.ABSR12008
2021Andre FreitasWPts: 7x0NoGi WorldsO100KG4F2008
2022Bruno PaulistaBruno PaulistaWReferee DecisionNoGi WorldsO100KGSF2008
2024Rodrigo CavacaRodrigo CavacaWPts: 2x0NoGi WorldsO100KGF2008
2044Fabricio WerdumFabricio WerdumWPointsCapital ChallengeO99KGSF2008
2046Charles CachoeiraWPointsCapital ChallengeO99KGF2008
2117Charles CachoeiraWPointsBrasileiroABSSF2009
2365Marcel FortunaMarcel FortunaWPts: 2x0World Champ.O100KG4F2009
2367Andre FreitasWPts: 8x0World Champ.O100KGSF2009
2368Rodrigo CavacaRodrigo CavacaWPts: 0x0, AdvWorld Champ.O100KGF2009
2568Luiz TheodoroWAdvPan AmericanO100KGF2010
4503Matt JuberaWN/APan AmericanABSR12013

Gabriel Vella vs Tererê

Submission Back Attacks Instructional by John Danaher


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