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Vagner Rocha
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Vagner Rocha

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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 sophistication 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.

Lineage: Mitsuyo Maeda > 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 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)
  • 3rd Place UAEJJF Abu Dhabi Pro – No-Gi (2011**)

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 he 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 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 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

50 WINS
  • BY POINTS
    17 (34%)
  • BY ADVANTAGES
    0 (0%)
  • BY SUBMISSION
    21 (42%)
  • BY DECISION
    7 (14%)
  • BY PENALTIES
    0 (0%)
  • BY EBI/OT
    5 (10%)

21 SUBMISSIONS WINS

#214eb8
RNC
24
5
#86e620
Short choke
19
4
#5AD3D1
Reverse triangle
10
2
#d1212a
Armbar
10
2
#fad11b
Submission
5
1
#f58822
Heel hook
5
1
#224aba
Wristlock
5
1
#ff9124
Triangle armbar
5
1
#bf1f6c
Triangle
5
1
#22c9a5
Anaconda choke
5
1
#fad223
Choke
5
1
#03861f
Kimura
5
1
21
(100%) SUBMISSIONS
17 LOSSES
  • BY POINTS
    7 (41%)
  • BY ADVANTAGES
    2 (12%)
  • BY SUBMISSION
    3 (18%)
  • BY DECISION
    3 (18%)
  • BY PENALTIES
    1 (6%)
  • BY DQ
    1 (6%)

3 SUBMISSIONS LOSSES

#214eb8
Footlock
33
1
#86e620
RNC
33
1
#5AD3D1
Inside heel hook
33
1
3
(100%) SUBMISSIONS

Vagner Rocha Fight History

ID Opponent W/L Method Competition Weight Stage Year
2408Carlos FerreiraLPointsNoGi Worlds79KG4F2009
2778Matt ArroyoLPointsMMAC GrapplingABSF2011
3213Augusto MendesAugusto MendesLFootlockADCC77KGR12011
4007Diego BorgesDiego BorgesLPointsWorld Champ.82KGR12012
4325G. TononLPointsADCC US Trials77KGF2013
7895Otavio SousaOtavio SousaLReferee DecisionADCC77KG4F2015
7943Joao RochaJoao RochaLPts: 3x0ADCCABS4F2015
10610AJ AgazarmAJ AgazarmLDQF2W Pro 1477KGSPF2016
10685Gordon RyanGordon RyanD---Sapateiro 2ABSSPF2016
11896Gordon RyanGordon RyanLRNCEBI 1177KGF2017
13104DJ JacksonDJ JacksonLPts: 25x8Grappling Pro77KGSPF2017
13750Lucas LepriLucas LepriLReferee DecisionADCC77KGSF2017
14068Garry TononGarry TononLInside heel hookEBI 1370KGF2017
14492Gilson NunesGilson NunesLPts: 0x0, AdvNoGi Worlds73KGR22017
14550Jared DoppJared DoppLPts: 0x0, AdvNoGi WorldsABSR12017
16694Francisco IturraldeFrancisco IturraldeLReferee DecisionW.S.O.G.81KG8F2018
16966Renato CanutoRenato CanutoLPts: 1x1, PenKasai Pro 377KGF2018
17844Renato CanutoRenato CanutoLPts: 3x0Kasai Pro 477KGSPF2018
1836David VieiraWPointsCopa AmericaABSF2008
2776A. AgazarmWTriangle armbarMMAC GrapplingABS4F2011
2777Corey HillWReverse triangleMMAC GrapplingABSSF2011
2791UnknownWRNCFGLABSR12011
2792UnknownWRNCFGLABS4F2011
2793UnknownWReverse triangleFGLABSSF2011
2794Danilo VillefortWPts: 6x0FGLABSF2011
2795Edson DinizEdson DinizWPts: 2x0FGL77KGF2011
3179UnknownWTriangleADCC EC Trials77KGR12011
3180UnknownWAnaconda chokeADCC EC Trials77KGR22011
3181UnknownWArmbarADCC EC Trials77KG4F2011
3182UnknownWChokeADCC EC Trials77KGSF2011
3183Tony TiptonWPointsADCC EC Trials77KGF2011
4312Anton YalchWKimuraCopa AmericaABS4F2013
4313Jeremy YorkWShort chokeCopa AmericaABSSF2013
4314Dan MartinezWPointsCopa AmericaABSF2013
4322Ed CummingsWPointsADCC US Trials77KG4F2013
4324Enrico CoccoEnrico CoccoWReferee DecisionADCC US Trials77KGSF2013
7155UnknownWPointsADCC US Trials77KG8F2015
7158UnknownWPointsADCC US Trials77KG4F2015
7161Jonathan SatavaJonathan SatavaWPointsADCC US Trials77KGSF2015
7162Magid HageWPointsADCC US Trials77KGF2015
7888Milton VieiraWPts: 2x0ADCC77KGR12015
7938Romulo BarralRomulo BarralWPts: 2x0ADCCABSR12015
11887Joe BaizeWEBI/OTEBI 1177KGR12017
11892Sergio ArdilaSergio ArdilaWShort chokeEBI 1177KG4F2017
11894Craig JonesCraig JonesWEBI/OTEBI 1177KGSF2017
12353Edmund KimWPts: 3x0ADCC WC Trials77KGR12017
12368Werther MarcialesWRNCADCC WC Trials77KGR22017
12381Will DurkeeWArmbarADCC WC Trials77KG8F2017
12387Stephen MartinezWSubmissionADCC WC Trials77KG4F2017
12392Jonathan SatavaJonathan SatavaWReferee DecisionADCC WC Trials77KGSF2017
12393AJ AgazarmAJ AgazarmWReferee DecisionADCC WC Trials77KGF2017
13741Tero PyylampiWPts: 3x0ADCC77KGE12017
13747DJ JacksonDJ JacksonWReferee DecisionADCC77KG4F2017
13752Garry TononGarry TononWPts: 2x0ADCC77KG3RD2017
14058Issa AbleWEBI/OTEBI 1370KGR12017
14064PJ BarchPJ BarchWEBI/OTEBI 1370KG4F2017
14067Nathan OrchardWEBI/OTEBI 1370KGSF2017
14487Nicolas ReinerWShort chokeNoGi Worlds73KGR12017
14649Dustin AkbariWReferee DecisionF2W Pro 5882KGSPF2018
15480Bill CooperBill CooperWShort chokeF2W Pro 6877KGSPF2018
16428Dante LeonDante LeonWRNCGrappling Ind.82KGSPF2018
16952Masahiro IwasakiMasahiro IwasakiWHeel hookKasai Pro 377KGRR2018
16958M. LutesD---Kasai Pro 377KGRR2018
16960M. LutesD---Kasai Pro 377KGRR2018
16961Marcin HeldWWristlockKasai Pro 377KGRR2018
17528Augusto MendesAugusto MendesWReferee DecisionF2W Pro 8970KGSPF2018
18151Ben HendersonWRNCPolaris 877KGSPF2018
19085Ross NichollsRoss NichollsWReferee DecisionPolaris 977KGSPF2019
20340E. CrelinstenWPointsThird Coast75KGSPF2019
20446Celso ViniciusCelso ViniciusWPts: 4x2KASAI SS Florida77KGSPF2019

Vagner Rocha vs Eddie Cummings

Guard Passing Instructional by Lucas Lepri

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