One of the brightest rising stars in the sport today is Pedro Machado, an athlete whose career and lifestyle is reminiscent of the past by many accounts.
That resemblance starts with where Pedro was born and where his jiu-jitsu was developed, Rio de Janeiro, the former Mecca of Jiu-Jitsu. Machado is also a product of the team R1NG, a group founded by former members of Gracie Barra’s world-famous Barra da Tijuca’s headquarters, the team that dominated the sport during the 1990s and early 2000s decades. In addition, Pedro Henrique is also an avid surfer, an activity very much in tune with the jiu-jitsu of the past and the whole Zona Sul lifestyle from which our sport was developed.
The relationship with the past does not stop there, the 21-year-old brown belt is a classic guard player, with a strong lasso game and omoplatas galore, an old school game with which he has beaten some of the best athletes in his division over the past 3 years. Among his many accolades are titles in the Abu Dhabi World Pro, the Pan American Championship (twice), European Open (twice), South American Championship, and medals in the Brasileiro and World Championships.
Pedro’s bond with jiu-jitsu started during his early childhood, though that didn’t last as he quit in favor of his surfing career, a sport he has competed in extensively. During his early teens, Machado revised his decision, as explained by the young grappling prodigy in an interview to BJJ Heroes in August 2020: “My whole family grapples.” said Pedro, “I was enjoying surfing, but my father, who is a black belt, really wanted me to come back, as did my mother and my brother, so I returned, albeit still very focussed on surfing at the start.”
The young athlete’s return to jiu-jitsu was made in the academy of coach Paulo Perrota (Rabicó), a member of the Gordo Jiu-Jitsu school affiliation, a team that later became R1NG once Gordo merged with the teams of Nino Schembri, Pé de Pano, and a few others. Rabicó has been an integral part of Machado’s development thus far, grading him in every belt.
As soon as he started competing in the international circuit, as a juvenile, Pedro Machado decided to push for professionalism, being 100 percent focused on his grappling career. The decision brought him great success in the tournament scene, where Pedro has beaten some of the finest athletes of his generation, fighters such as Jansen Gomes, Adam Bradley, Conner DeAngelis to name a few.
More recently Machado competed at the Iron Brown Belt tournament, an event set by the promotors of the Copa Podio Grand Prix as a brown belt gateway to the main show. In a very competitive bracket, Machado was able to prevail once again, further cementing his claim to one of the best brown belts in Brazil, by beating a very tough student of Felipe Pena, Mr. João Cizeski, a fight that was originally set for a no time limit, submission only result.
“It was a very tough match. At one point we had to stop for nearly 25 mins due to a streaming problem, so they asked us to change it to standard points rules. 6 minutes instead and I came out the victor.”
The win has granted Machado a place in the upcoming Copa Podio middleweight event (date to be appointed) where his crowd-pleasing grappling style will surely make way for a larger fanbase. As fans of the sport ourselves, we surely hope that day comes sooner rather than later.
– 1st Place European – brown medium-heavy
– 2nd Place Worlds – purple medium-heavy
– 3rd Place Worlds – purple absolute
– 1st Place Pans – purple medium-heavy
– 2nd Place Pans – purple absolute
– 1st Place European – purple medium-heavy
– 2nd Place Brasileiro – purple medium-heavy
– 2nd Place Brasileiro – purple absolute
– 1st Place World Series of Grappling – purple
– 1st Place Abu Dhabi World Pro – purple 85KG
– 1st Place Pans – purple medium-heavy
– 1st Place Sul Americano – purple medium-heavy