Orlando Sanchez, commonly known as The Cuban Tree Stump or as The Big O, was an American-born jiu-jitsu black belt under José “Zé Radiola” Olímpio who first gained notoriety while competing in the lower belt ranks of the sport and. He would conquer an ADCC World title at a later stage (2015), further cementing his status as one of the top ultra-heavyweights in grappling at the time. Orlando Sanchez was also praised for his life experience, particularly for overcoming his drug dependence through jiu-jitsu, a martial art in which he earned the rank of black belt in 4 years, one of the fastest promotions in American history.
Orlando Sanchez Jiu-Jitsu
Full Name: Orlando Mario Sanchez
Nickname: “The Cuban Tree Stump” is a direct result of Orlando’s Cuban heritage and his stature (1,79cm/5’9” and an ultra-heavyweight), the nickname was given by his former coach, Alberto Crane.
Lineage: Carlos Gracie > Helio Gracie > Carlos Gracie Junior > Jose Olimpio > Orlando Sanchez
- 1st Place ADCC World Championship (2015)
- 2nd Place ADCC World Championship (2017)
Main Achievements (Colored Belts):
- 1st Place IBJJF World Championship (2010 blue)
- 1st Place IBJJF Pans Championship (2012 brown)
- 1st Place CBJJ Brazilian Nationals (2012** brown)
- 2nd Place IBJJF World Championship (2010/2009 blue)
** Weight and absolute
Favorite Position/Technique: Guard Passing
Weight Division: Peso Pesadíssimo (over 100kg/221lbs)
Team/Association: Gracie Barra
Orlando Sanchez Biography
Orlando Sanchez was born in La Cañada, California in 1982.
Growing up, Orlando played a variety of sports, being particularly successful in football. A sport he played at a collegiate level. After he finished college, Sanchez’s life took a turn and partying became his main focus. The excesses of this lifestyle drove Orlando to alcohol, drug abuse, and depression. By the age of 26, Sanchez had reached 360 pounds of weight and felt the urge to change his life’s trajectory.
Through the incentive of a good friend, Orlando Sanchez tried to shift his mindset towards martial arts, then joining a Muay Thai club. Thai Boxing led Orlando to Alberto Crane, a well-established Gracie Barra athlete who became his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu coach.
Sanchez soon discovered he had a natural ability for grappling and started competing regularly, reaching the rank of brown belt in an astounding 3 years of training. This while winning tournaments such as Gracie Nationals, Grapplers Quest, and the IBJJF Pan-American Championship.
Through his training with Alberto Crane, Orlando Sanchez had many opportunities to train with Gracie Barra’s network of exquisite coaches and competitors such as Romulo Barral, Draculino, and José Olímpio, commonly known as Ze Radiola.
Olímpio became a close friend of Orlando Sanchez, and it was Radiola who awarded Sanchez his black belt in September 2012, after a great competitive year as a brown belt where Sanchez won important tournaments such as the Pan American Championships and the Brazilian Nationals in both his weight class and the open weight divisions.
Being a relentless competitor, Orlando Sanchez also picked up MMA, training with Rafael Cordeiro at Kings MMA and becoming one of the main partners of Fabricio Werdum. Orlando also competed in MMA from 2010 to 2015, in which he achieved an unbeaten record of 5-0-1.
Sanchez passed away on December 16, 2022. He was 40 years of age.
Orlando Sanchez Grappling Record
- BY DQ
2 SUBMISSIONS WINS
- BY DQ
2 SUBMISSIONS LOSSES
Orlando Sanchez Fight History
|4528||Andre GalvaoAndre Galvao||L||Referee Decision||Pan American||ABS||4F||2013|
|4751||Leandro LoLeandro Lo||L||Pts: 6x0||World Champ.||ABS||RDS||2013|
|4822||Abraham MarteAbraham Marte||L||Pts: 8x0||World Champ.||O100KG||R1||2013|
|5048||Roberto AbreuRoberto Abreu||L||Pen||ADCC||O99KG||4F||2013|
|13859||Marcus AlmeidaMarcus Almeida||L||Pts: 3x0||ADCC||O99KG||F||2017|
|21822||Nick RodriguezNick Rodriguez||L||Pts: 0x0, Pen||ADCC||O99KG||4F||2019|
|27889||Tex JohnsonTex Johnson||L||DQ||WNO Champ.||ABS||4F||2021|
|27924||Rida HaisamRida Haisam||L||Short choke||WNO Champ.||ABS||RPC||2021|
|35063||Max GimenisMax Gimenis||L||Verbal tap||ADCC||O99KG||R1||2022|
|4512||James PuopoloJames Puopolo||W||Adv||Pan American||ABS||R1||2013|
|4520||Leandro LoLeandro Lo||W||Referee Decision||Pan American||ABS||R2||2013|
|4718||Fernando Nara||W||Pts: 2x2, Adv||World Champ.||ABS||RDS||2013|
|4738||Pedro MelloPedro Mello||W||Points||World Champ.||ABS||RDS||2013|
|7895||Janne-Pekka||W||Armlock f/ crucifix||ADCC||O99KG||R1||2015|
|7902||Dean ListerDean Lister||W||Referee Decision||ADCC||O99KG||4F||2015|
|7905||Vinny MagalhaesVinny Magalhaes||W||Referee Decision||ADCC||O99KG||SF||2015|
|7908||Jared DoppJared Dopp||W||Referee Decision||ADCC||O99KG||F||2015|
|13845||H. Sekine||W||Pts: 2x0||ADCC||O99KG||E1||2017|
|13854||Tom DeBlassTom DeBlass||W||Referee Decision||ADCC||O99KG||4F||2017|
|13856||Jared DoppJared Dopp||W||Referee Decision||ADCC||O99KG||SF||2017|
|21817||Mateusz Juskowiak||W||Pts: 2x0||ADCC||O99KG||R1||2019|
Orlando Sanchez vs William Wheeler (MMA)
Good write up. I didn't even know he got his black belt six months ago.
He got his black belt on August 19, 2012 as the day before, Ze Radiola awarded Lucas Rocha his black belt http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMufkNCct7E&fe…
Jiu Jitsu Saves.
Nice story but definitely one of the most boring jiu-jitsu players of all time.
This is amazing, I can't wait to see him tonight for my jiu jitsu seminar!!!