Tanner Rice is a jiu jitsu black belt under “Cobrinha”, who became known as the first American born athlete to be promoted by the respected Alliance coach. Rice earned the rank at the age of 19, after winning the 2012 IBJJF world title, being at the time the youngest US native to achieve this deed. Later that year, in his black belt debut, Rice defeated two of the sport’s biggest names cementing his name as one of the most talented athletes in his division.
Jiu Jitsu Middle Weight Division
The middle weight division in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (also known as peso medio) is the sports most significant weight division, it is also one of the most stacked talent wise in BJJ.
Manuel Ribamar, also known as “Riba”, is a black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu under Rodrigo Pinheiro and Cicero Costha, being regarded as one of the top middleweight competitors of his generation in the sport. Born in the state of Amazonas – Brazil, Ribamar has had a few different coaches going up the ranks, but it was at Cicero Costha’s PSLPB academy that his grappling style truly developed, earning him titles at the World and South American Championships.
Yago de Souza is one of the top grappling competitors of his generation as well as a black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu under Cicero Costha. Yago earned his reputation in the lower belt divisions, where he earned the world championship, European Open, Brazilian National Championship as well as the South American Championship.
Jaime Canuto is a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt under Renato Verás and a representative of the prestigious GF Team. A world and pan american champion in the brown belt division (2013) and a Rio Open absolute champion (2014)
Alan Moraes is a one of the coaches at the world famous Carlson Gracie Academy in Rio de Janeiro, from where he has produced several high quality black belts, including world medallist Samir Chantre. Alan Moraes, who was graded as black belt by Carlson Gracie Junior, is also one of the main referees in the IBJJF.
Christian Graugart is a famous BJJ blogger who has become a successful published author through his BJJ Globetrotter book, which tells the story of how in 2011 Christian traveled the world with the purpose of training in as many Jiu Jitsu academies as possible meeting different cultures and personalities, all of which shared one thing in common, Jiu Jitsu.
A spectacular jiu jitsu fighter from Checkmat and one of the most accurate finishers modern day jiu jitsu, Renato Cardoso received his black belt in 2012 by the hands of Rodrigo Cavaca and hit the ground running that year winning both a world title (CBJJE) and a Sao Paulo International Open only a few weeks after receiving the well deserved black belt.
DJ Jackson, is one of Team Lloyd Irvin’s most accomplished grapplers and an important figure in jiu jitsu’s middleweight division, having won the IBJJF world championship in every belt on his way to earning his black belt, a promotion he achieved on July 2012. Originally a wrestler, DJ Jackson became part of Lloyd Irvin’s jiu jitsu team on his off season, and picked up a series of wins from the start, relegating wrestling to the background to focus on BJJ competition.
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.
Fabio Santos is a 7th degree (7º grau) jiu jitsu coral belt and a black belt under Rickson Gracie who was also a pupil of the legendary Rolls Gracie for many years. Fabio Santos was also one of the first BJJ black belts to come to the United States of America to settle a jiu jitsu academy. The Fabio Santos Academy in San Diego – California is one of the most respected BJJ academies in the world, having formed several high class BJJ black belts. Master Fabio Santos is also a veteran competitor with several important titles.
An avid competitor for the Grappling Fight Team academy, Vitor Henrique Oliveira is a jiu jitsu black belt under Master Adilson Lima “Bitta”. Vitor Henrique is also one of the few representatives of the famous Rio de Janeiro based team (GFT) outside Brazilian soild, more precisely in Ohio, United States of America.
The first American black belt awarded by Renzo Gracie, Matt Serra is a former UFC champion and an ADCC silver medallist, considered to be one of the best grapplers produced by Renzo’s academy in New York.
A professional MMA fighter, Jiu Jitsu black belt and Capoeira Master, Delson Heleno, also known as Pe de Chumbo is part of the elite grapplers of the world, having been a former Brazilian Jiu Jitsu World and Pan American champion at the black belt level. He is a student of Adilson Lima from the city of Teresopolis.
James Harbison (often called “Jim” or “Jimmy” Harbison) is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt under Master Lloyd Irvin who gained notoriety in the grappling circuit after he won the 3 major tournaments in the IBJJF circuit in the brown belt division (European Open, Pan American & Mundial) in 2011. Since achieving such an impressive landmark, Harbison has been awarded his black belt and is an avid presence in the main Jiu Jitsu tournaments.
Leandro Lora is a representative of the Brazil 021 Jiu Jitsu team. A former Kioto team member, Leandro has earned his black belt from the prestigious Master Carlos Henrique on July 2010.
David Onuma is a British martial arts expert who holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Ricardo Vieira and Rodrigo Cabral. David is also a certified instructor in martial arts such as Jeet Kune Do, Kick Boxing, Maphilindo Silat and even Combat Submission Wrestling (under Erik Paulson).
Marcus Bello is a Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt, being also one of the most important figures in the GFTeam. Bello is famed for his exquisite top game with which he defeated many big names of the sport, including legends like Tererê and Marcelinho Garcia.
Victor Estima is a prolific Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt who has medalled in some of the world’s most important BJJ tournaments such as the “Mundial”, the European Open and the World Jiu-Jitsu No-Gi Championship. Victor is also the brother of the legendary grappler, Braulio Estima.
Famed for his unique leopard print hairstyle and his fast rise to BJJ stardom where he achieved a BJJ black belt under Master Lloyd Irvin in 3.5 years, Mike Fowler is also a very successful grappler and one of the most famous produce from Team Irvin’s camp, doing justice to the famed “Grappling Blue Print” advertised by Master Lloyd.
Rafael Heck is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt under the legendary coach and competitor Leonardo Vieira. This BJJ practitioner made a name for himself fighting in the State of Sao Paulo, where he achieved numerous podium spots in important competitions such as the World Cup, the Sao Paulo State Championships and many others.