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

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Vagner Rocha

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Submission Back Attacks Instructional by John Danaher

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 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)

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

69 WINS
  • BY POINTS
    21 (30%)
  • BY ADVANTAGES
    0 (0%)
  • BY SUBMISSION
    29 (42%)
  • BY DECISION
    14 (20%)
  • BY PENALTIES
    0 (0%)
  • BY EBI/OT
    5 (7%)

29 SUBMISSIONS WINS

#214eb8
Armbar
17
5
#86e620
RNC
17
5
#5AD3D1
Short choke
14
4
#d1212a
Triangle
10
3
#fad11b
Anaconda choke
7
2
#f58822
Choke
7
2
#224aba
Reverse triangle
7
2
#ff9124
Inside heel hook
3
1
#bf1f6c
Triangle armbar
3
1
#22c9a5
Kimura
3
1
#fad223
Submission
3
1
#03861f
Heel hook
3
1
#039a1f
Wristlock
3
1
29
(100%) SUBMISSIONS
23 LOSSES
  • BY POINTS
    8 (35%)
  • BY ADVANTAGES
    2 (9%)
  • BY SUBMISSION
    4 (17%)
  • BY DECISION
    6 (26%)
  • BY PENALTIES
    1 (4%)
  • BY EBI/OT
    1 (4%)

4 SUBMISSIONS LOSSES

#214eb8
Footlock
25
1
#86e620
RNC
25
1
#5AD3D1
Inside heel hook
25
1
#d1212a
Reverse triangle
25
1
4
(100%) SUBMISSIONS

Vagner Rocha Fight History

ID Opponent W/L Method Competition Weight Stage Year
2418Carlos FerreiraLPointsNoGi Worlds79KG4F2009
2794Matt ArroyoLPointsMMAC GrapplingABSF2011
3229Augusto MendesAugusto MendesLFootlockADCC77KGR12011
4023Diego BorgesDiego BorgesLPointsWorld Champ.82KGR12012
4343G. TononLPointsADCC US Trials77KGF2013
7930Otavio SousaOtavio SousaLReferee DecisionADCC77KG4F2015
7978Joao RochaJoao RochaLPts: 3x0ADCCABS4F2015
10668AJ AgazarmAJ AgazarmLDQF2W 1477KGSPF2016
10745Gordon RyanGordon RyanD---Sapateiro 2ABSSPF2016
11996Gordon RyanGordon RyanLRNCEBI 1177KGF2017
13224DJ JacksonDJ JacksonLPts: 25x8Grappling Pro77KGSPF2017
13877Lucas LepriLucas LepriLReferee DecisionADCC77KGSF2017
14203Garry TononGarry TononLInside heel hookEBI 1370KGF2017
14639Gilson NunesGilson NunesLPts: 0x0, AdvNoGi Worlds73KGR22017
14697Jared DoppJared DoppLPts: 0x0, AdvNoGi WorldsABSR12017
16905Francisco IturraldeFrancisco IturraldeLReferee DecisionW.S.O.G.81KG8F2018
17186Renato CanutoRenato CanutoLPts: 1x1, PenKasai Pro 377KGF2018
18114Renato CanutoRenato CanutoLPts: 3x0Kasai Pro 477KGSPF2018
21136JT TorresJT TorresLReferee DecisionF2W 11977KGSPF2019
21765JT TorresJT TorresLPts: 3x0ADCC77KGF2019
22269Tye RuotoloTye RuotoloLReferee DecisionF2W 13177KGSPF2019
23546Craig JonesCraig JonesLEBI/OTSUG 1488KGSPF2020
23616Roberto JimenezRoberto JimenezLReferee Decision3CG Kumite III81KGF2020
23724Alexandre RibeiroAlexandre RibeiroD---BJJ Bet95KGSPF2020
25150Gordon RyanGordon RyanLReverse triangleWNO 793KGSPF2021
1840David VieiraWPointsCopa AmericaABSF2008
2785G. GeigerWPointsADCC US Trials77KGR12010
2786Brian BeauryBrian BeauryWAnaconda chokeADCC US Trials77KGR22010
2787B. McLaughWArmbarADCC US Trials77KG4F2010
2788Peter RunezWChokeADCC US Trials77KGSF2010
2789Tony TiptonWPointsADCC US Trials77KGF2010
2792A. AgazarmWTriangle armbarMMAC GrapplingABS4F2011
2793Corey HillWReverse triangleMMAC GrapplingABSSF2011
2807UnknownWRNCFGLABSR12011
2808UnknownWRNCFGLABS4F2011
2809UnknownWReverse triangleFGLABSSF2011
2810Danilo VillefortWPts: 6x0FGLABSF2011
2811Edson DinizEdson DinizWPts: 2x0FGL77KGF2011
3195UnknownWTriangleADCC EC Trials77KGR12011
3196UnknownWAnaconda chokeADCC EC Trials77KGR22011
3197UnknownWArmbarADCC EC Trials77KG4F2011
3198UnknownWChokeADCC EC Trials77KGSF2011
3199Tony TiptonWPointsADCC EC Trials77KGF2011
4328Anton YalchWKimuraCopa AmericaABS4F2013
4329Jeremy YorkWShort chokeCopa AmericaABSSF2013
4330Dan MartinezWPointsCopa AmericaABSF2013
4338N/AWArmbarADCC US Trials77KGR12013
4339N/AWTriangleADCC US Trials77KGR22013
4340Ed CummingsWPointsADCC US Trials77KG4F2013
4342Enrico CoccoEnrico CoccoWReferee DecisionADCC US Trials77KGSF2013
7190UnknownWPointsADCC US Trials77KG8F2015
7193UnknownWPointsADCC US Trials77KG4F2015
7196Jonathan SatavaJonathan SatavaWPointsADCC US Trials77KGSF2015
7197Magid HageWPointsADCC US Trials77KGF2015
7923Milton VieiraWPts: 2x0ADCC77KGR12015
7973Romulo BarralRomulo BarralWPts: 2x0ADCCABSR12015
11987Joe BaizeWEBI/OTEBI 1177KGR12017
11992Sergio ArdilaSergio ArdilaWShort chokeEBI 1177KG4F2017
11994Craig JonesCraig JonesWEBI/OTEBI 1177KGSF2017
12460Edmund KimWPts: 3x0ADCC WC Trials77KGR12017
12475Werther MarcialesWRNCADCC WC Trials77KGR22017
12488Will DurkeeWArmbarADCC WC Trials77KG8F2017
12494Stephen MartinezWSubmissionADCC WC Trials77KG4F2017
12499Jonathan SatavaJonathan SatavaWReferee DecisionADCC WC Trials77KGSF2017
12500AJ AgazarmAJ AgazarmWReferee DecisionADCC WC Trials77KGF2017
13868Tero PyylampiWPts: 3x0ADCC77KGE12017
13874DJ JacksonDJ JacksonWReferee DecisionADCC77KG4F2017
13879Garry TononGarry TononWPts: 2x0ADCC77KG3RD2017
14193Issa AbleWEBI/OTEBI 1370KGR12017
14199PJ BarchPJ BarchWEBI/OTEBI 1370KG4F2017
14202Nathan OrchardWEBI/OTEBI 1370KGSF2017
14634Nicolas ReinerWShort chokeNoGi Worlds73KGR12017
14819Dustin AkbariWReferee DecisionF2W 5882KGSPF2018
15663Bill CooperBill CooperWShort chokeF2W 6877KGSPF2018
16630Dante LeonDante LeonWRNCGrappling Ind.82KGSPF2018
17172Masahiro IwasakiMasahiro IwasakiWHeel hookKasai Pro 377KGRR2018
17178M. LutesD---Kasai Pro 377KGRR2018
17180M. LutesD---Kasai Pro 377KGRR2018
17181Marcin HeldWWristlockKasai Pro 377KGRR2018
17778Augusto MendesAugusto MendesWReferee DecisionF2W 8970KGSPF2018
18430Ben HendersonWRNCPolaris 877KGSPF2018
19439Ross NichollsRoss NichollsWReferee DecisionPolaris 977KGSPF2019
20746Ethan CrelinstenEthan CrelinstenWPointsThird Coast75KGSPF2019
20857Celso ViniciusCelso ViniciusWPts: 4x2KASAI SS Florida77KGSPF2019
21726Servio TulioServio TulioWArmbarADCC77KGR12019
21731Celso ViniciusCelso ViniciusWReferee DecisionADCC77KG4F2019
21763Dante LeonDante LeonWReferee DecisionADCC77KGSF2019
23263Thiago MoisesWPointsSub StarsN/ASPF2020
23612Kody SteeleKody SteeleWPoints3CG Kumite III81KG4F2020
23615Pedro MarinhoPedro MarinhoWPoints3CG Kumite III81KGSF2020
23659Ronaldo JuniorRonaldo JuniorWReferee DecisionWNO86KGSPF2020
24192Gabriel AlmeidaGabriel AlmeidaWInside heel hookF2W 15783KGSPF2020
24635Jon BlankJon BlankWReferee DecisionWNO 5SPF88KG2020
24908Yuri SimoesYuri SimoesWReferee DecisionF2W 164ABSSPF2021
25690William TackettWilliam TackettWReferee DecisionF2W 17184KGSPF2021
26036Josh HingerJosh HingerWReferee DecisionWNO 983KGSPF2021

Vagner Rocha vs Eddie Cummings

Bernardo Faria BJJ Foundations

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