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Rafael dos Anjos Torres

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Submission Back Attacks Instructional by John Danaher

Rafael dos Anjos Torres, commonly known as Rafael dos Anjos (not to be confused with same name Rafael dos Anjos, former UFC lightweight champion – for that bio, click here), is a jiu-jitsu black belt under Rubens Charles (Cobrinha) who worked extensively with Alexandre Paiva (Gigi), Elan Santiago, and Rodrigo Conceição (Akilis). Originally a product of Rio de Janeiro’s social project Projeto Sonhos, Rafael gained notoriety in the sport during his colored belt career after his performances in big events of the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) such as the World and Pan Championships.

Rafael dos Anjos Jiu-Jitsu

Full Name: Rafael dos Anjos Torres

Nickname: N/A

Lineage: Carlos Gracie > Helio Gracie > Rolls Gracie > Romero Cavalcanti > Alexandre Paiva > Fernando Terere > Rubens Charles > Rafael dos Anjos

Main Achievements:

  • 1st Place IBJJF European Open (2018 purple)
  • 1st Place IBJJF American Nationals (2020 brown)
  • 1st Place IBJJF American Nationals NOGI (2020 brown)
  • 1st Place IBJJF South American Championship (2015 blue)
  • 1st Place CBJJ Brazilian Nationals NOGI (2017 purple)
  • 2nd Place IBJJF World Championship (2018 purple)
  • 2nd Place IBJJF Pans Championship (2020 brown)
  • 2nd Place IBJJF Pans Championship NOGI (2020 brown)
  • 2nd Place CBJJ Brazilian Nationals (2015/2016 blue, 2018 purple)
  • 2nd Place CBJJ Brazilian Nationals NOGI (2015 blue, 2016 purple)
  • 3rd Place CBJJ Brazilian Nationals (2016* blue, 2017 purple)
  • 3rd Place CBJJ Brazilian Nationals NOGI (2018 brown)
  • 3rd Place IBJJF European Open (2019 brown)
  • 3rd Place IBJJF South American Championship (2019 brown)

* Absolute
** Weight and Absolute

Favorite Position/Technique: Open Guard

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

Team/Association: Alliance

Rafael dos Anjos Biography

Rafael dos Anjos Torres was born on June 21, 1996, in São João de Meriti growing up in Rio de Janeiro’s Baixada Fluminense area, more precisely in Nilópolis – Brazil.

During his infancy, Rafael was an avid capoeira practitioner, a martial art/dance/sport he played for 3 years. As dos Anjos entered his tweens he started gaining undesired weight, this sudden gain in diameter caused his family doctor to advise the Torres family to include young Rafael in a high-intensity sport. At the time, Rafael had a few friends who practiced jiu-jitsu at a local community project and it was this close relationship that led Rafael dos Anjos to Projeto Sonhos. This social project was led by jiu-jitsu black belt Elan Santiago at the Beija Flor Samba School (GRES Beija Flor [Grêmio Recreativo Escola de Samba Beija-Flor]), and was well known for its success among the local community.

Climbing through the junior and juvenile ranks under the guidance of Elan Santiago and Rodrigo Akillis, Rafael dos Anjos quickly made his mark in the juvenile competition scene. His progress also benefited from his access to another legendary Rio de Janeiro instructor – Alexandre Genovesi Paiva (Gigi) – of the Alliance – Leblon Academy. This relationship derived from the close connection between the Beija Flor and Alliance workgroups and the friendship shared between the coaches of both camps who organized inter-team meet-ups once or twice per week.

Once Rafael dos Anjos reached adulthood (18) he was forced to quit jiu-jitsu to accommodate the student-worker lifestyle. With full-time employment at a shoe store, while also finishing his high-school degree, Rafael did not have the availability to train in a standard academy schedule. Instead, he would train with a close friend at an academy in Nova Iguaçú from 11:30 pm to 12:30 am, during the week – the only time slot available for him.

Failing to see Rafael at the aforementioned, regular Alliance-Beija Flor joined training sessions, coach Gigi Paiva asked about Rafael to his instructors, then hearing about the young talent’s circumstances. A believer in dos Anjos’ talent, Paiva reached out to the Nipólis resident and offered him a full scholarship with boarding. Although Rafael’s parents disapproved of the idea – preferring their son to follow a more traditional path in life, the young athlete opted to pursue his dream, then full-heartedly joining the team as a blue belt.

Under the guidance of Alexandre Paiva, Rafael had the chance to represent team Alliance and medal in a few of the sport’s main international tournaments, such as the World, Pan, and European Championships.

In 2019, brown belt, Rafael dos Anjos traveled to the United States to compete at the World No-Gi Championships. His time in the US ended up being extended as he joined another Academy associated with the Alliance franchise (Cobrinha BJJ) in Los Angeles. Guided by coach Rubens Charles at Alliance – Los Angeles, Rafael dos Anjos received his black belt on January 25, 2021, with his former instructors Elan, Rodrigo, and Paiva present through Zoom call due to the COVID19 pandemic, which prevented them from traveling for the event.

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