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 the founder of Vagner Rocha Martial Arts, a well known association in the South of 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. Those native of this area are often depicted as Brazil’s ‘hillbillies’ – tough country folk, though also ridiculed by their lack of sofistication and for the size of their heads. The name was associated to Vagner by Jorge Popovitch when Rocha started training because even though he wasn’t born in Ceará, he fit the description.
- ADCC US East Trials Champion (2015/2010)
- ADCC US West Trials Champion (2017)
- EBI Combat Champion (2017)
- IBJJF Pans Champion (2007 brown)
- Florida Grappling League Champion (2009**)
- Grapplers Quest Champion (2009**)
- EBI 13 2nd Place (2017)
- EBI 11 2nd Place (2017)
- ADCC US West Trials 2nd Place (2013)
- ADCC 3rd Place (2017)
- UAEJJF Abu Dhabi Pro – No-Gi 3rd Place (2011**)
** 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 bet, 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 he due to the birth of his first child. He put training on he 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 year dinner party on 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 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 – though 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
17 SUBMISSIONS WINS
3 SUBMISSIONS LOSSES
Vagner Rocha Fight History
|2408||Carlos Ferreira||L||Points||NoGi Worlds||79KG||4F||2009|
|2766||Matt Arroyo||L||Points||MMAC Grappling||ABS||F||2011|
|3193||Augusto MendesAugusto Mendes||L||Footlock||ADCC||77KG||R1||2011|
|3987||Diego BorgesDiego Borges||L||Points||World Champ.||82KG||R1||2012|
|4300||G. Tonon||L||Points||ADCC US Trials||77KG||F||2013|
|7822||Otavio SousaOtavio Sousa||L||Referee Decision||ADCC||77KG||4F||2015|
|7870||Joao RochaJoao Rocha||L||Pts: 3x0||ADCC||ABS||4F||2015|
|10488||AJ AgazarmAJ Agazarm||L||DQ||F2W Pro 14||77KG||SPF||2016|
|10563||Gordon RyanGordon Ryan||D||N/A||Sapateiro 2||ABS||SPF||2016|
|11716||Gordon RyanGordon Ryan||L||RNC||EBI 11||77KG||F||2017|
|12899||DJ JacksonDJ Jackson||L||Pts: 25x8||Grappling Pro||77KG||SPF||2017|
|13502||Lucas LepriLucas Lepri||L||Referee Decision||ADCC||77KG||SF||2017|
|13795||Garry TononGarry Tonon||L||Inside heel hook||EBI 13||70KG||F||2017|
|14189||Gilson NunesGilson Nunes||L||Pts: 0x0, Adv||NoGi Worlds||73KG||R2||2017|
|14247||Jared DoppJared Dopp||L||Pts: 0x0, Adv||NoGi Worlds||ABS||R1||2017|
|1836||David Vieira||W||Points||Copa America||ABS||F||2008|
|2764||A. Agazarm||W||Triangle armbar||MMAC Grappling||ABS||4F||2011|
|2765||Corey Hill||W||Reverse triangle||MMAC Grappling||ABS||SF||2011|
|2782||Danilo Villefort||W||Pts: 6x0||FGL||ABS||F||2011|
|2783||Edson Diniz||W||Pts: 2x0||FGL||77KG||F||2011|
|3159||Unknown||W||Triangle||ADCC EC Trials||77KG||R1||2011|
|3160||Unknown||W||Anaconda choke||ADCC EC Trials||77KG||R2||2011|
|3161||Unknown||W||Armbar||ADCC EC Trials||77KG||4F||2011|
|3162||Unknown||W||Choke||ADCC EC Trials||77KG||SF||2011|
|3163||Tony Tipton||W||Points||ADCC EC Trials||77KG||F||2011|
|4287||Anton Yalch||W||Kimura||Copa America||ABS||4F||2013|
|4288||Jeremy York||W||Short choke||Copa America||ABS||SF||2013|
|4289||Dan Martinez||W||Points||Copa America||ABS||F||2013|
|4297||Ed Cummings||W||Points||ADCC US Trials||77KG||4F||2013|
|4299||Enrico CoccoEnrico Cocco||W||Referee Decision||ADCC US Trials||77KG||SF||2013|
|7095||Unknown||W||Points||ADCC US Trials||77KG||8F||2015|
|7098||Unknown||W||Points||ADCC US Trials||77KG||4F||2015|
|7101||Jonathan SatavaJonathan Satava||W||Points||ADCC US Trials||77KG||SF||2015|
|7102||Magid Hage||W||Points||ADCC US Trials||77KG||F||2015|
|7815||Milton Vieira||W||Pts: 2x0||ADCC||77KG||R1||2015|
|7865||Romulo BarralRomulo Barral||W||Pts: 2x0||ADCC||ABS||R1||2015|
|11707||Joe Baize||W||Points||EBI 11||77KG||R1||2017|
|11712||Sergio ArdilaSergio Ardila||W||Short choke||EBI 11||77KG||4F||2017|
|11714||Craig JonesCraig Jones||W||Points||EBI 11||77KG||SF||2017|
|12162||Edmund Kim||W||Pts: 3x0||ADCC WC Trials||77KG||R1||2017|
|12177||Werther Marciales||W||RNC||ADCC WC Trials||77KG||R2||2017|
|12190||Will Durkee||W||Armbar||ADCC WC Trials||77KG||8F||2017|
|12196||Stephen Martinez||W||Submission||ADCC WC Trials||77KG||4F||2017|
|12201||Jonathan SatavaJonathan Satava||W||Referee Decision||ADCC WC Trials||77KG||SF||2017|
|12202||AJ AgazarmAJ Agazarm||W||Referee Decision||ADCC WC Trials||77KG||F||2017|
|13493||Tero Pyylampi||W||Pts: 3x0||ADCC||77KG||E1||2017|
|13499||DJ JacksonDJ Jackson||W||Referee Decision||ADCC||77KG||4F||2017|
|13504||Garry TononGarry Tonon||W||Pts: 2x0||ADCC||77KG||3RD||2017|
|13785||Issa Able||W||Points||EBI 13||70KG||R1||2017|
|13791||PJ Barch||W||Points||EBI 13||70KG||4F||2017|
|13794||Nathan Orchard||W||Points||EBI 13||70KG||SF||2017|
|14184||Nicolas Reiner||W||Short choke||NoGi Worlds||73KG||R1||2017|
|14316||Dustin Akbari||W||Referee Decision||F2W Pro 58||82KG||SPF||2018|
|15080||Bill CooperBill Cooper||W||Short choke||F2W Pro 68||77KG||SPF||2018|
Vagner Rocha vs Eddie Cummings