Manuel António Pontes, commonly known as “Nelton” Pontes is a Portuguese grappler and a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt under Alex Machado of Gracie Barra – Lisbon. One of the top competitors in Europe, Nelton has conquered titles in important jiu jitsu events such as the Abu Dhabi World Pro and the European International Open, having also podium placed at the prestigious Copa Pódio’s Heavyweight Grand Prix.
One of the most recognized academies in the Jiu Jitsu world, the Gracie Barra franchise is also one of the oldest teams in BJJ. This is a gathering of some of the biggest names in it’s history, amongst them the inevitable Carlinhos Gracie and Marcio Feitosa.
Ryan Gracie was a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt under Carlos Gracie Junior, and one of the main representatives of the Gracie family in both sport jiu jitsu and no-holds-barred/mixed martial arts during the 1990s and 2000s decades, having also been an important catalyst in the expansion of jiu jitsu in to the São Paulo region of Brazil, where he developed a highly successful team. One of the most bipolar figures in jiu jitsu’s history, Ryan was known as much for his fights on the ring as he was for his street altercations and run-ins with the law, which ultimately led to his death on December 2007.
Gabriel Arges is a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt under Romulo Barral and Felipe “Preguiça”, who also trained extensively with Marcelo “Uirapuru”, competing for the Gracie Barra Academy. Arges made a name for himself in the lower belt divisions of the sport, particularly during his purple and brown belt campaigns (2013-2015) where he conquered important titles such as IBJJF World Champion (Gi/No-Gi), European Open Champion, as well as Pan America and American National Champion.
Gustavo Pires, commonly known as “Siri”, is a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt under Carlos Gracie Junior, and one of the top Gracie Barra competitors in the sport’s super-heavyweight division with medals at the Pan American, No Gi World, World Masters and Brazilian National Championships. Founder of the Gracie Barra Fullerton academy, Gustavo Siri is also known for his coaching abilities, having been crucial in the development of important grapplers such as André Campos and Bruno Rocha.
Joaquina Bonfim is a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt under the illustrious coach “Zé Radiola”, leader of Gracie Barra – Pernambuco, an academy that has produced a long list of talented grapplers, such as Lucas Rocha, Otávio Sousa or Victor Estima. One of the main female black belt competitors to have come out of her state, Joaquina has cinched important titles on a national and international level, such as Brazilian National Champion (CBJJ/IBJJF), National Pro Champion (UAEJJ) or World Champion (CBJJE).
Edwin Najmi is a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt under Romulo Barral of the Gracie Barra academy (Northridge branch), a gym that has produced many talented grapplers, including Beneil Dariush, Pedro Araújo, Gabriel Larges, to name a few. One of the most talented grapplers of his generation, with a crowd pleasing submission orientated jiu jitsu style, Edwin Najmi climbed the belt ranks, stacking wins at the sport’s most revered tournaments, such as the World Championship, European Open and Pan American Championship.
One of the greatest super heavyweight competitors in jiu jitsu’s sporting history, Alexandre “Café”, became known as a Gracie Barra representative during the 2000’s decade, where he accumulated victories over some top competitors such as Fabricio Werdum, Marcelo Garcia, Fernando “Terere” or Demian Maia to name a few. Café also had a short spell as a mixed martial arts fighter, competing in the UFC.
Budo Jake is a black belt as well as a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt under the illustrious Carlos Gracie Junior of the Gracie Barra academy. Jake is also the co-founder of BudoVideos, one of martial arts’ largest instructional producers, as well as being a respected host of a number of jiu jitsu related programs
One of the founders of Gracie Barra and Gracie Gym, Crolin Gracie is the son of Gracie Jiu Jitsu founder, Carlos Gracie (Senior). Crolin was revered as the successor to Rolls Gracie’s throne as the family’s champion in the 1970’s, though a health problem prevented him from following his older brother’s footsteps.
Cristiano Lazzarini, commonly known in the fight world as “Titi” is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt under Vinicius Draculino, who has had a tremendous career in BJJ with medals at the World Jiu Jitsu Championships, the Pan American and Brazilian Nationals.
Alberto Crane is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt under Vinicius Magalhães being also the first American citizen to become a black belt under the Gracie Barra Academy banner. Alberto Crane stacked a series of accolades as a BJJ and MMA competitor as well as from a coaching stance.
Francisco Fernandes Júnior, commonly known by his nickname: “Chiquinho de Cuiaba”, is a former Brazilian Jiu Jitsu world champion of the famed Gracie Barra academy. Being from a family with strong connections to Jiu Jitsu (his father trained with Rolls Gracie and his sister is the also world champion Luzia Fernandes) Chiquinho de Cuiaba became one of the top grapplers of his generation.
Orlando Sanchez, also known as “The Cuban Tree Stump”, is an American born Jiu Jitsu black belt under Jose Olimpio (AKA Ze Radiola) who competes at ultra heavyweight for Gracie Barra in BJJ competitions. Orlando Sanchez is also known for his drug dependence which he overcame through practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, becoming in the process one of the fastest Americans to have reached the degree of black belt in the sport (4 years).
Felipe “Preguiça” Pena is a BJJ black belt from the famous Gracie Barra academy affiliate in Belo Horizonte, a camp that has brought us fighters such as Romulo Barral, Marcelo Azevedo, Pablo Silva and many others. Felipe Pena was regarded as one of the biggest prospects in the jiu jitsu world while he was still a brown belt, after his amazing performances in tournaments such as the World Championships and the Copa Podio.
Brandon Mullins, is one of the most accomplished American born BJJ black belts, being the second American to win two world titles in the adult black belt division of the sport. Brandon Mullins made a name for himself as one of the top jiu jitsu competitors in the rooster weight division after he won his first Pan American title in 2009 (no gi). He has since become one of the most successful American born BJJ black belts in the world through his recurring success at the world no gi championships.
One of the top female jiu jitsu fighters at the turn of the century, Ana Laura Cordeiro became a star fighting for the Gracie Barra camp where she won 4 consecutive world BJJ titles. She was regarded as the top grappler of her generation before Ana Laura Cordeiro suffered a terrible back injury that prevented her from competing at the highest level ever since.
Nicolas Gregoriades is a South African grappler who was the first jiu jitsu practitioner to have received a black belt from the renowned Roger Gracie. Gregoriades is also an accomplished competitor and one of the founders of the “Jiu Jitsu Brotherhood”, a BJJ community with affiliates all over the world.
Nelson Monteiro is a jiu jitsu black belt under Carlos Gracie Junior and one of the coaches in the illustrious Gracie Barra academy. One of the first BJJ black belts from Gracie Barra to open a school in the United States, Monteiro was also connected with the birth of the ADCC, the world’s most established biggest submission wrestling tournament (Abu Dhabi Combat Club).
José Leão Teixeira or “Zé Beleza”, as he is often named within the BJJ community, is one of the founding members of the Gracie Barra academy and an important figure in jiu jitsu’s history. A former member of the epic grappling team built by Rolls Gracie, José Leão Teixeira founded the Leão Teixeira Jiu Jitsu School, one of the top kids BJJ academies in Brazil. Jose Teixeira was also involved in creation of CBJJ/IBJJF.
Otavio Sousa is a Gracie Barra representative and one of the top fighters in jiu jitsu’s middleweight division. A BJJ black belt under Carlos Gracie Junior, Otavio Sousa spent most of his jiu jitsu education with coach “Zé Radiola” at the Gracie Academy in Recife.