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Vinny Magalhaes
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Vinny Magalhaes

Heel Hook Instructional by John Danaher

Vinny Magalhaes, also known as Pezão, is one of the top Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitors of his generation, being also a retired mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter, and former The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season 8 finalist. Vinny worked with instructors such as Royler Gracie, Vini Aieta and Eddie Bravo, becoming well known for his submission orientated grappling style, a style he has used to submit great competitors such as Marcio Cruz, Rodrigo Cavaca, Roberto Cyborg, Bruno Bastos and many others in Grappling competitions.

Vinny Magalhaes Jiu Jitsu

Full Name: Vinicius de Magalhães

Lineage: Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie > Helio Gracie > Royler Gracie > Vini Aieta > Vinny Magalhaes

Nickname: “Vinny” is a name that first came about in 2004 when Magalhães moved to America. He started being called that by Cesar Gracie and he embraced it as it was an easy solution for the frequent miss spelling of his first name by the locals.

“Pezao” means Big Foot in Portuguese, the name was given by Bernardo Treco from the Gracie Tijuca academy (where Vinny trained). Magalhaes was only 14 years old at the time and his feet were disproportionate when compared to his still developing body frame, thus the name

Main Achievements/Record:

  • ADCC Champion (2011)
  • IBJJF World No-Gi Champion (2007 black belt)
  • IBJJF World Champion (2005** brown, 2002 blue belt)
  • World Masters Champion (2016 Master 1)
  • Pan American Champion (2002 blue belt)
  • Brazilian National Champion (2005* brown belt)
  • Pan American Championship Runner-up (2005 brown belt)
  • Brazilian National Championship Runner-up (2003 purple belt)
  • ADCC 3rd Place (2011*, 2009**)

* Absolute
** Weight and absolute

Favourite Position/Technique: Closed Guard, 50/50 Guard

Weight Division: Peso Pesado (94kg-207lbs) or Super Pesado (100kg-221lbs)

Association/Team: Was linked in with Gracie Tijuca and Gracie Humaitá, in the US he has fought for Team Quest and Cesar Gracie.

Vinny Magalhaes Biography

Vinicius Magalhaes was born on the 2nd of July 1984 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Vinny lived the life of a normal kid in Rio de Janeiro often playing football or shooting some hoops, but it was only in 1998 (when he was 14) that he started practicing the sport that would change his life, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He started training at a small gym in his neighbourhood (Bairro de Olaria) with Jair Reis but shortly after he moved to train with Professor Germano Junior from the Strauch Academy with whom he stayed until the end of 1999 when he got his blue belt.

Shortly after getting his blue belt Vinicius moved clubs to meet the man that would become his true master, Professor Vinicius Aieta from Gracie Tijuca – where Saulo Ribeiro also taught. Under Aieta’s supervision Magalhaes Jiu Jitsu evolved tremendously and there he started developing his unique fighting style, always seeking the submission at all cost.

Odly enough, though he proved more then often his worth on the mats, his black belt was earned due to a lost bet between his master Vinicius Aieta and Royler Gracie at the Mundial in 2005. After an amazing performance at the brown belt Super Pesado weight division, where he submitted every single one of his opponents (including Rodrigo Cavaca in the final), Vinny Magalhaes went on to have a total of 7 fights in the absolute division reaching the final with just two fighters surviving his submission onslaught (one of whom was Romulo Barral to whom Vinny won by 7×0). Royler told Aieta he was “sandbagging” and Aieta believed Vinny was not yet ready for the black belt as he had only been a brown belt for 10 months. It was agreed between the two masters that if Vinny submitted his oponent in the final he would get his black belt, if he didn’t he would stay a brown belt for a while longer. Turns out Vinny destroyed his opponent Gabriel Kitobert in one minute via armbar receiving the black belt on the podium from his master and Royler Gracie.

In 2004 Vinny Magalhaes took a big chance and moved to the United States. He was dating Cesar Gracie’s cousin at the time, and she told Vinny of a vacant coaching spot at the Gracie’s academy. Vinny applied for the spot immediately and got it even though he did not speak a word of English.

From Cesar Gracie’s gym, Vinny Magalhaes went on to coach grappling/BJJ at one of the greatest Mixed Martial Arts teams in the world, Team Quest, a team led by two MMA legends, Dan Henderson and Mat Lindland. Being in a big team like Quest, many opportunities presented themselves to a gifted athlete like Magalhaes, the was biggest probably his chance to be a part of The Ultimate Fighter reality show, a TV show in which you fight your way into a contract with a major fighting organisation (the UFC). In Vinny’s case, he managed to get in the show without even going to the series of trials. What happened was that at the time “Pezão” heard that the UFC was doing a series on light heavyweights, he asked Dan Henderson to give UFC president – Dana White a call and put in a good word for the Brazilian ace, which worked out perfectly. Magalhaes went to the house and put on good performances that allowed him a spot in the final against Ryan Bader, a fight Vinny lost by TKO.

Coming to a big show like TUF was a mixed bag, in one hand there was the exposure of being in a main stream show, but on the other hand Vinny was still very new to the sport and had very basic knowledge of the stand up aspect of the game. Continuing his bad luck streak, Vinny left Team Quest when he returned from the Show, there were certain issues with the team’s management and Magalhaes slammed the door on the academy. Making the mistake of not having a stand up coach and only doing grappling sparring consistently his career with the UFC also came to an abrupt end after his loss to another TUF competitor, Eliot Marshal (this time by decision).

Vinny was in need of a reboot, and that he did, by moving to Las Vegas where he found new training partners and coaches that have helped him recreate his MMA career. He is still relatively active in Submission Grappling events, namely Grapplers Quest and ADCC.

Vinny Magalhaes Grappling Record

    8 (24%)
    1 (3%)
    21 (64%)
    1 (3%)
    1 (3%)
    1 (3%)


Heel hook
Toe hold
Flying armbar
Triangle armbar
Banana split
Inside heel hook
    8 (40%)
    3 (15%)
    1 (5%)
    6 (30%)
    1 (5%)
    1 (5%)


Choke from back

Vinny Magalhaes Fight History

ID Opponent W/L Method Competition Weight Stage Year
1385Roger GracieRoger GracieLChoke from backPan AmericanABS4F2006
2265Alexandre RibeiroAlexandre RibeiroLPointsADCC99KGSF2009
2292Braulio EstimaBraulio EstimaLPointsADCCABSSF2009
2366Daniel ValverdeDaniel ValverdeLPts: 0x0, AdvUFC ExpoABSSPF2009
3156Andre GalvaoAndre GalvaoLPts: 4x0Ultimate Abs.ABSSF2011
3292Murilo SantanaMurilo SantanaLReferee DecisionADCCABS4F2011
5017Jared DoppJared DoppLPenADCCO99KG4F2013
5831Keenan CorneliusKeenan CorneliusD---Metamoris 4ABSSPF2014
7260Erberth SantosErberth SantosLPts: 6x4Copa Podio95KGGP2015
7266Tim SpriggsTim SpriggsLAdvCopa Podio95KGGP2015
7852Orlando SanchezOrlando SanchezLReferee DecisionADCCO99KGSF2015
7941Claudio CalasansClaudio CalasansLReferee DecisionADCCABS4F2015
10722Garry TononGarry TononLEBI/OTEBI 993KGF2016
11212Jared DoppJared DoppLPts: 12x9Grappling Pro 2120KG4F2016
11592Lucas BarbosaLucas BarbosaLPts: 2x2, AdvSan Jose OpenABSF2017
11845Carlos FariasCarlos FariasLReferee DecisionMexico City OpenO100KGF2017
12439Roberto AbreuRoberto AbreuLPts: 3x0ADCC WC TrialsO99KGSPF2017
12762Adam WardzinskiAdam WardzinskiLPointsACBJJ 595KG4F2017
13698Jared DoppJared DoppLReferee DecisionADCC99+KG4F2017
15094Joseph MokuLReferee DecisionACBJJ 11O95KGSPF2018
15613Gabriel LucasGabriel LucasLPointsACBJJ 12O95KGSPF2018
1382Carlos FrancisWToe holdPan AmericanABSR12006
1477Robert DrysdaleRobert DrysdaleWPts: 1x0LA Sub-XABSSPF2006
2258Rodrigo CavacaRodrigo CavacaWHeel hookADCC99KGR12009
2262Marcio CruzMarcio CruzWFlying armbarADCC99KG4F2009
2268Glover TeixeiraWTriangle armbarADCC99KG3RD2009
2282Dean ListerDean ListerWPointsADCCABSR12009
2288Chris WidemanWFlying armbarADCCABS4F2009
2295Gunnar NelsonGunnar NelsonWPts: 3x0ADCCABS3RD2009
3149Daniel SimoesDaniel SimoesWBanana splitUltimate Abs.ABSR12011
3154Marcus AlmeidaMarcus AlmeidaWHeel hookUltimate Abs.ABS4F2011
3236Luke CostelloWPts: 2x0ADCCO99KGR12011
3258Jose JuniorJose JuniorWFootlockADCCO99KG4F2011
3268Gerardi RinaldiGerardi RinaldiWPts: 3x0ADCCO99KGSF2011
3279Fabricio WerdumFabricio WerdumWPts: 2x0ADCCO99KGF2011
3286Bruno BastosBruno BastosWHeel hookADCCABSR12011
5009Wang Yan BoWHeel hookADCCO99KGR12013
6175Matheus DinizMatheus DinizD---Metamoris 5ABSSPF2014
6606Jackson SousaJackson SousaWReferee DecisionBerkut OpenABSSPF2015
6612Jackson SousaJackson SousaWToe holdBerkut Open NoGiABSSPF2015
7252F. ReisWPts: 2x2, AdvCopa Podio95KGGP2015
7268Nelton PontesNelton PontesWPts: 4x2Copa Podio95KGGP2015
7840P. ArdillaWHeel hookADCCO99KGR12015
7848Rodrigo ArtilheiroWTwisterADCCO99KG4F2015
7854Joao RochaJoao RochaWHeel hookADCCO99KG3RD2015
7933Garry TononGarry TononWPts: 0x0, PenADCCABSR12015
10263Ronny MarkesWHeel hookSub UndergroundABSSPF2016
10521Ronny MarquesWHeel hookSUG 3ABSSPF2016
10712Tom BreeseWInside heel hookEBI 993KGR12016
10718Eliot KellyEliot KellyWEBI/OTEBI 993KG4F2016
10721Matt KirchwehmWKimuraEBI 993KGSF2016
11745Frederico SilvaWToe holdHouston OpenABS4F2017
11748Thiago MacedoThiago MacedoWKneebarHouston OpenABSSF2017
13692Bruno BastosBruno BastosWToe holdADCC99+KGE12017
16100Gordon RyanGordon RyanWPointsACBJJ 13O95KGSPF2018

Vinny Magalhaes vs Daniel Gracie
inny Magalhaes vs Marcus Almeida

Vinny Magalhaes Highlight

John Danaher BJJ Escapes


  • Gabriel says:

    Vinny now teaches at Xtreme Couture. please mention this

  • Michael says:

    Should add it in there that he has a black belt under Eddie Bravo, and uses 10th planet JJ in matches such as the Daniel Gracie match.

  • Eric says:

    Vinny is no longer at Xtreme Couture. He now teaches at Syndicate Mixed Martial Arts in Las Vegas. He was also at Tapout Research and Development in Las Vegas, though I THINK, that was before Xtreme Couture.

    just because he use part of the 10th planet system doesn't mean he's a Black Belt under Eddie Bravo, he was a black belt already, i believe now a 2nd degree black belt.

  • Matvey says:

    I think he submitted Buchecha with a toe hold, not a heel hook.

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