Rafaela Guedes is a jiu-jitsu black belt under André Galvão and Angelica Galvão, who also worked extensively with coach Daílson Pinheiro. Guedes became widely recognized as one of the rising prospects in the sport while representing the Atos Team, during her colored belt career, where she earned important titles in the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) and the United Arab Emirates Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF), two of the most prestigious leagues in the sport.
Rafaela Guedes Jiu-Jitsu
Full Name: Rafaela Ribeiro Guedes
- 1st Place IBJJF World Championship (2019 brown)
- 1st Place UAFJJF Grand Slam, MIA (2020 brown + black)
- 1st Place UAFJJF Grand Slam, LA (2017 purple)
- 2nd Place IBJJF World Championship No-Gi (2019 brown)
- 2nd Place UAFJJF Grand Slam, RJ (2017 purple)
- 3rd Place IBJJF World Championship (2016 purple, 2019* brown)
- 3rd Place IBJJF World Championship No-Gi (2019* brown)
- 3rd Place CBJJ Brazilian Nationals (2016** / 2017 / 2018 purple)
- 3rd Place UAFJJF Grand Slam, LA (2019 brown + black)
** Weight and Absolute
Favorite Position/Technique: Lasso Guard & Closed Guard
Weight Division: Pesado (79.3 kg / 175.0 lbs)
Rafaela Guedes Biography
Rafaela Guedes was born on May 23, 1992, in Manaus, a city located on the banks of the Negro River in northwestern Brazil, and the capital of the state of Amazonas.
While growing up, Rafaela practiced a number of sports, with handball being the one she took most seriously, playing it at a competitive level from the age of 10. Although embedded in this sport for an extended period, a serious injury threw her out from the handball tournament scene for good at the age of 15.
During her teens, Rafaela became a regular face at local jiu-jitsu tournament stands, being there in support for her cousins, who practiced the gentle art. Her admiration for her cousins would be behind Guedes’ decision of starting jiu-jitsu at the age of 17, after struggling with depression and her weight since leaving her handball life.
Rafaela’s first experience in jiu-jitsu took place at a local social project where she earned her blue belt. After that, Guedes wanted to place more effort into her tournament experience, then joining coach Daílson Pinheiro’s school – also in Manaus, for that purpose. It was while training with Pinheiro that Guedes’ love for competition developed, leading her to leave her hometown at the age of 22, to live in São Paulo, where she had access to Brazil’s strongest jiu-jitsu circuit.
Rafaela spent a few years at the New School Brotherhood academy, one of the leading grappling gyms of that time, where she became good friends with one of the team’s top athletes, Luiza Monteiro, who moved to the United States in 2017 to join the Atos Academy Headquarters, in San Diego.
By the start of 2018, Rafaela was at a crossroads, unhappy with the way things were going with her sporting career in São Paulo, she questioned herself on whether she should quit her jiu-jitsu aspirations and lead a more standardized lifestyle. While debating this in her head, Guedes went to a tournament in Abu Dhabi, where she was able to spend time with her friend, Luiza, and speak her mind. After listening to Rafaela’s predicament, Monteiro posed the possibility of Guedes coming to California to train with her and the Atos team. That same year, Guedes visited the headquarters in San Diego and felt truly welcome and supported by the team leaders André and Angelica Galvão, deciding to stay.
Her decision to continue her competitive career in jiu-jitsu, and the added benefit of training in one of the top grappling gyms in the world, coincided with much-improved results on the mats, which earned her, her brown and black belts from coach André Galvão. The latter, awarded in September 2020.