Ilir Latifi

Ilir LatifiBorn in 1982
Home: Sweden
Style: wrestling
Team: Pancrase Gym
Division: under 98.9 Kg

Wrestling/ADCC record:
- Swedish national team wrestler
- ADCC 2005 European Trails winner

MMA record: 3 – 0 – 1

Ilir Latifi wins

Ilir Latifi wins

Ilir Latifi is a powerful swedish wrestler. He trains in Pancrase Gym and nowadays he devotes himself to MMA. He became known in the world of martial arts after destroying the ring in his fight against sambo fighter Blagoi Ivanov last year. The fight was declared no-contest. After that Ilir fought and won Roman Mihocka, Luis Silva and Darko Krbanjevi.

Tomasz Szczerek

Tomasz S

Home: Poland

Style: submission fighting

Division: under 87.9 Kg

ADCC record:

2009 European Trials – 2nd place (lost to Radek Turek)

Watch the finals of the ADCC 2009 European Trials here.

Tomasz Szcerek recently won the most prestigious grappling tournament in Poland: Grappling Arena. Check the finals:

Yoshiyuki Nakanishi

Yoshiyuki NakanishiHome: Japan
Team: PRB
Division: under 98.9 Kg

MMA record: 5 – 1 – 0

Yoshiyuki Nakanishi x Shunsuke Inoue
Yoshiyuki Nakanishi x Shunsuke Inoue

Yoshiyuki Nakanishi is a mixed martial artist. He debuted in DEEP two years ago with a nice victory against Mamoru Nakamura. Nakanishi’s last fight was in M-1 Challenge against Akim Assenine. He won with a beautiful achilles lock in the first round.

Joel Tudor

joel-tudorBorn in 1976
Home: California, USA
Style: brazilian jiu-jitsu
Team: Revolution
Division: under 65.9 Kg

joel-tudor-jiu-jitsuJoel Tudor is also a brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under former world champion Rodrigo Medeiros. He has won numerous brazilian jiu-jitsu titles such as the Pan Ams and US Nationals. Due to his skill on both longboards and shortboards, on big waves and small, Tudor is widely considered to be one of the best surfers alive, and is also known for being unusually open-minded with regard to the diverse equipment that can be used for wave riding. For the past six years Joel switched his focus in surfing and has been training BJJ at Rodrigo Medeiro’s studio in Pacific Beach. Tudor regularly spars with members of Medeiros’ BJJ Revolution Team and has won numerous tournaments on his way to earning a black belt in a freakishly short period of time.

“I basically won at every level of a belt. I won almost every time I competed.”

Ronaldo Souza

Ronaldo “Jacare” SouzaNickname: “Jacaré” (alligator)
Born in 1979
Home: Manaus – Brasil
Style: brazilian jiu-jitsu
Team: Black House
Division: superfighter

BJJ/ADCC record:
2005 – ADCC (77 – 87 Kg) Champion
2005 – ADCC (absolute) 2nd place (lost to Roger Gracie)
2005 – World Jiu-Jitsu (absolute) Champion
2004 – World Jiu-Jitsu (absolute) Champion

MMA record: 10 – 2 – 0 (90% wins by submission!)

Some people say that, at the exact moment he was conceived by his parents, Jacaré already had one of the most important virtues for becoming the greatest name in jiu-jitsu: high quality genetics. ronuOwner of contusion-proof muscles, elastic strings, cat-like reflexes, a lumbar that resembles hydraulic suspension mechanisms, ankles as thick as his calves, forearms strong as a jeep, Ronaldo is no lab champion. He was born with all these potential resources, which have been lapidated in training all these years. That which gym-addicts try to achieve with anabolism, nature gave this descendant of blacks and Indians. The talent came as the tip. But besides body and ability, a jiu-jitsu exponent must have true warrior spirit, which life has inserted in Jacaré’s life in strange ways, especially during the athlete’s childhood and adolescence: Fighting and living have always been synonyms for Ronaldo. Conditioned for bearing adverse situation since birth, he lived in poor areas of Espírito Santo until the age of 14, when he had to abandon his parents and run away to Northern Brazil:ronaldo l

“I got into some heavy shit, crime and stuff, and went to live with my brother in Manaus” Jacaré told Gracie Magazine in 2003.

The stranger Jacaré got around as he could in Manaus. He worked even as a car watcher before getting acquainted with martial arts at 16, when he began training the judo-like jiu-jitsu of master Henrique Machado. Dedicating to a sport in order to overcome the difficulties of a tempestuous youth turned Jacaré into a man with an obstinate soul. He learned in practice the need to have willpower in life, of struggling for one’s desires, among other teachings that many fighters know but in theory. He knows exactly what to do at the moments of difficulty, has the instinct conditioned to react immediately, knows how to fight under pressure… Actually, he not only can, he loves doing it!ronaluta

“I get stimulated when fighting under pressure. I love when somebody tells me I am going to lose. It gets me energized. Gets me motivated”

There’s a triple foundation, composed of genetics, talent and warrior spirit, of current two-time world jiu-jitsu champion. Jacaré loves jiu-jitsu and, above all, he loves the way he practises it. He goes to trainings and tournaments just as happily as a surfer attending a tournament in Hawaii. This is his final hint:ron

“Find in Jiu-Jitsu whatever makes you happy and invest in it.”

font: Gracie Magazine

pictures from Sherdog

Rodrigo Henriques Cavaca

rodrigo cavacaBorn in 1981
Home: Santos – Brasil
Division: under 98.9 Kg
Style: brazilian jiu jitsu
Team: Check Matt

BJJ ADCC record:
2009 european champion
2008 brazilian champion
2005 World Jiu Jitsu Cup
2005 brazilian champion
2004 World Jiu Jitsu Champion
2004 brazilian champion

Bio Rodrigo Henriques started training jiu jitsu in 1999. Since then he earned many great competitions including three times Brazilian Championship and the Mundials in 2004. Cavaca became famous this year after defeating Lucio Lagarto at the finals of the European Championship.

Gabriel Gonzaga

Gabriel Napao GonzagaNickname: Napão (big nose)
Born in 1979
Home: Rio de Janeiro – Brasil
Style: brazilian jiu-jitsu
Team: Team Link
Division: over 99 Kg

BJJ record:
- 2006 CBJJO World Cup Black Belt – heavyweight champion
- 2005 CBJJO World Cup Black Belt – 2nd place (heavyweight)
- 2005 CBJJO World Cup Black Belt – 3rd place (absolute)
- 2004 World Jiu-Jitsu Championship – heavyweight champion
- 2003 CBJJO World Cup Black Belt – 2nd place (heavyweight)
- 2003 CBJJO World Cup Black Belt – 2nd place (absolute)
- 2000 World Jiu-Jitsu Championship – 3rd place (heavyweight)

ADCC record:
- 2005 2nd place (over 99 Kg division)

Record of ADCC opponents:
Won: Mustapha al-Turk, Ricco Rodriguez, Marcio Cruz, Eduardo Telles
Lost: Jeff Monson, Xande Ribeiro

MMA record: 11 – 4 – 0 (55% wins by submission)

Gabriel Napao Gonzaga
Gabriel Napao Gonzaga

Gabriel “Napão” Gonzaga holds his black belt in brazilian jiu-jitsu under Wander Braga. He is a former member of the famous Chute Boxe Academy. In 2004 Gonzaga won the Mundials which is considered to be the top BJJ competition in the world. He currently trains with Team Link in Massachusetts. Napão stunned the world on 2007 when he knocked Mirko “Cro Cop” out with a devastating head kick late in the first round after dominating him from the start. This victory earned Gonzaga a UFC Heavyweight Championship fight against the champion Randy Couture. Recently Napão delivered a beating to Chris Tuchscherer which led to a first round referee stoppage at UFC 102. He continues his quest for the top of the UFC heavyweight division!

James Brasco

_jamesbrascoHome: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida USA
Style: wrestling/brazilian jiu-jitsu
Division: under 87.9 Kg

MMA Record: 5 – 2 – 0

Bjj/Submission fighting record:

2007 World Jiu-Jitsu Brown Belt Champion

5 Times N.A.G.A Champion

USA Wrestling Grappling qualifier Champion

Planet Submission Absolute Champion

2nd  Place The “Good Fight” Pro-tournament(Delaware)

2nd in the BUD CUP Absolute Division

James Brasco – Wrestling Instructor and PIAA state runner-up (127-10 HS record). Other highlights of Jimmy’s career includes: Pennsylvania State Freestyle Champion, Cadet National Freestyle Champion, 100+ wins in College (div. 1), 3 times NCAA Eastern Regional Champion, Ranked #6 by Amateur Wrestling News at 167lbs., Olympic Trial Qualifier in FS, AAU Grand National Champion(freestyle, folk style), 5 times N.A.G.A Champion, Atlantic Cup Champion and USA Trials Grappling Competitor.

“I have always had an interest in styles versus styles type fights. I always felt the wrestler had the advantage due to our toughness and strength. I started doing BJJ to see what it was about. It was interesting to learn grappling from a different perspective. So I would enter tournaments when I lived In Pennsylvania and would do really well. Actually, my first grappling tournament was the Arnold Worlds in 2001. I entered the pro division and didn’t even know what a triangle was. I won my first match against some tough judo guy from Orlando, then I was winning against this brown belt and with a minute left he put me in a triangle. I went to pick him up to slam him and the referee told me not to slam him and I had to tap. I was sooo mad [laughs]. source : www.bloodyelbow.com


  • 2007 World Jiu-Jitsu Brown Belt Champion
  • 5 Times N.A.G.A Champion
  • USA Wrestling Grappling qualifier Champion
  • Planet Submission Absolute Champion
  • 2nd  Place The “Good Fight” Pro-tournament(Delaware)
  • 2nd in the BUD CUP Absolute Division

Jorge Santiago

Jorge SantiagoBorn in 1980
Home: Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Style: brazilian jiu-jitsu
Team: American Top Team
Division: under 87.9 Kg

MMA record: 22 – 7 – 0 (60% wins by submission)

Jorge Santiago

Jorge Santiago

Jorge Santiago is a brazilian mixed martial arts fighter from American Top Team, based in Coconut Creek – Florida. He is the current Sengoku middleweight champion. Santiago holds notables wins over Jeremy Horn, Trevor Prangley, and Kazuo Misaki. Currently on a nine fight winning streak, he is ranked #7 in the world at middleweight according to Sherdog.com’s rankings.

Tom Lawlor

tom lawlorNickname: Filthy
Born in 1982
Home: Florida, USA
Style: Wrestling
Team: The Jungle MMA
Division: under 87.9 Kg

Wrestling record:
3x National Collegiate Wrestling Association National Champion

MMA record: 6 – 1 – 1 (50% of victories by submission)

Tom Lawlor chokes
Tom Lawlor chokes

A Massachusetts native now making his home in Orlando, Tom Lawlor was a three-time National Collegiate Wrestling Association National Champion for the University of Central Florida. After taking jiu-jitsu classes back home in Fall River, he began in MMA. His favourite grappling technique is the d’arce choke. Tom turned pro in 2007. After winning four of his next five fights, he earned a spot in the house for the 8th season of The Ultimate Fighter. He currently have a BS in Social Studies Education from the University of Central Florida. Lawlor have also taken classes towards a MA in Sports & Fitness. He used his college degree as a High School History teacher for almost 2 years.

Karol Bedorf

karol bedorfNickname: Coco
Born in 1983
Home: Szczecin, Poland
Style: submission fighting
Team: Szczecin Top Team
Division: over 99 Kg

MMA record: 5 – 1 – 0

karol bedorf x francis carmont
karol bedorf x francis carmont

Karol “Coco” Bedorf is a polish heavy weight mixed martial artist. He is following a four straight victories in MMA against very good fighters like Slavomir Molnar. Karol is a choke specialist and it’s not easy to handle his 112 Kg on the ground. He started in Konfrontacja Sztuk Walki and he fought in Pro Fight, having an important victory against Mindaugas Maskvytis by rear-naked-choke.

Ricco Rodriguez

ricco rodriguezNickname: Suave (smooth)
Born in 1977
Home: California, USA
Style: BJJ/Wrestling
Team: Machado JJ / American Fight Club
Division: over 99 Kg

ADCC record: 16 – 9 – 0

MMA record: 37 – 11 – 0 (60% of victories by submission)

Rodriguez is born in San José, California. He wrestled in high school while living in New York. He later moved to California and began training in the art of brazilian jiu-jitsu with Rigan Machado and Jean Jacques Machado. He competed and won many jiu-jitsu and submission fighting tournaments before moving on to MMA. In 1997, Ricco Rodriguez became the first american to win a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Championship. He won the ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship in the absolute (open weight) division in 1998. He fought many BJJ and submission fighting stars like Vitor Belfort, Murilo Bustamante and Marcelo Garcia.

Rodriguez x Bustamante

Rodriguez x Bustamante

In 1999 Rodriguez began his MMA career with a nice victory against Rocky Batastini. He later fought in the PRIDE Fighting Championship before moving on to the UFC – Ultimate Fighting Championship. In his huge MMA record, you can find victories against Gary Goodridge, Andrei Arlovski and Randy Couture. So respect him!

Bruno Bastos

bruno bastosBorn in 1980
Home: Rio de Janeiro – Brasil
Style: brazilian jiu-jitsu
Team: Nova União
Division: under 87.9 Kg

BJJ record:
2004 World Cup – 3rd place light-heavyweight
2004 Copa do Brasil – light heavyweight champion
2002 World Cup – 3rd place heavyweight
2002 World Cup – 3rd place absolute
2002 Copa do Brasil CBJJO – Heavyweight Champion
Five times Brazilian Champion
Five times Rio de Janeiro State Champion

Submission record:
2005 Copa Cyclone – Champion
2003 ADCC Brazilian Trials – silver
2003 Submission Wrestling de Campos – Champion
2002 Interestadual de Belo Horizonte, Brasil – Absolute Champion
2002 Super Copa de Submission Niterói – Champion
2002 Desafio Duelo de Titãs – Champion
Desafio Stone – Champion
São João da Barra Submission Wrestling – Champion

MMA record: 0 – 2 – 0 (both by decision)

Bruno Bastos teaching in Finland

Bruno Bastos teaching in Finland

Bio: Bruno Bastos started jiu-jitsu as a child, in 1990, inspired by Aurelio Miguel‘s gold medal in 1988 Judo Olympics. He’s a Wendell Alexander black-belt, but studied with many good teachers, like Neury Gomes and André Pederneiras. Bastos became famous after winning Xande Ribeiro in the absolute finals of 2005 Rio de Janeiro State Championship. It was his tenth fight that day, but he won by 4×3. Bruno could have had a beautiful performance in ADCC 2005 California, but though he was specially invited by ADCC producers, USA embassy blocked his entrance.

Bruno is a Georges St. Pierre fan and use to train muay-thai to relax. He fought two times in MMA, loosing the last time to Rousimar “Toquinho” Palhares by decision. Other idols of him are the F1 pilot Ayrton Senna and Nova União BJJ fighter Leonardo Santos.

“I focus my training on physical conditioning because fights at ADCC can end in draws and then go into overtime. There have been 20, 30 minute fights! Cachorrão and Jacaré once fought for 40 minutes! That’s why I focus on that part”


Leo Santos

leosantos.gHome: Brasil
Style: brazilian jiu-jitsu/submission fighting
Team: Nova União
Division: under 76.9 Kg

MMA Record: 6 – 3 – 0 (67% of victories by submission)

Leo Santos is one of the most important light-weight fighters in the history of brazilian jiu-jitsu. He won everything and everyone in BJJ tournaments before he starts fighting MMA.

Leo is famous for his butterfly guard and for his really nice sweeps, but all professional fighters have to be complete on their game and have to adapt depending on who you are fighting. A good example is the fight he did against Zulu, the best brazilian wrestler at that time, at the ADCC trials 2005:

Zulu knew that Leo was better on the ground and was waiting the first five minutes.  After that he took Leo down, making the 2 points, and then tried to hold him down to the end of fight-time. Leo realised Zulu was just waiting and did a surprise attack, concluding with the best take-down of the tournament, winning the 2005 trials.

At the 2005 ADCC World Championship, Leo Santos faced great fighters, but the most commented fight was the beautifully flying armbar he did on GSP as you can see below:

Gregor Gracie

gregor gracie_2Born in 1986
Home: Brasil
Style: BJJ/submission fighting
Team: Renzo Gracie
Division: under 76.9 Kg

MMA record: 2 – 1 – 0

The Gracie family is still the reference when you talk about brazilian jiu-jitsu. First because they’ve developed the style to the higher level which conquered the world in the beginnings of the 90′s. Now Roger Gracie is dominating all BJJ tournaments in a way never seen before. Gracies, as everybody knows, are a huge family and their business is fighting. So they will always have big names at BJJ and MMA scene.

Gregor is one of the Gracie names we will hear a lot. He already have a successful career at BJJ and that starts to pop up at  MMA: With only 23 years old he has three MMA fights (2 – 1 – 0). Gregor is two times World champion, Brazilian champion, Pan-Am champion and two times National Teams champion. He basically won every major competition he has been!

This year Gregor is going to compete at under 77 Kg division at ADCC Barcelona 2009. This is the same division as Kron Gracie. It would be interesting to see two Gracie competing against each other… But for that to happen we can’t forget that they will, depending on the brackets, have to pass through names like Marcelo Garcia, Ben Askren and Pablo Popovich, which is a very difficult task for any fighter in the world.

gregor gracie3

Gunnar Nelson

Gunnar_about2Nickname: Gunni
Born in 1988
Home: Iceland
Style: BJJ/Submission Figthing
Team: Mjölnir – SBG International/ Renzo Gracie Academy
Division: under 87.9 Kg

MMA Record: 5 – 0 – 1

BJJ/Submission Fighting record:

2009

2nd Place in Men’s Brown Belt Middle Weight at the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2009 (Mundials).

1st Place in Men’s Brown Belt Middle Weight at the New York International Open Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2009.

3rd Place in Men’s Brown Belt Open Weight at the New York International Open Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2009.

1st Place in Men’s Brown Belt Middle Weight at the Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2009 in Carson, California.

2008

1st Place in Men’s No-Gi Expert Middle Weight at the North American Grappling Championship in New Jersey.

2nd Place in Men’s Gi Brown & Black Cruiser Weight at the North American Grappling Championship in New Jersey.

1st Place in three categories at the Icelandic Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Championship; i.e. men’s Open weight, -88 kg and the team tournament.

1stPlace – 2008 Great Britain Grappling Open National Championship, men advance No-Gi, – 80 kg weight.

1st Place – Hawaiian Open Championship of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, men advance No-Gi -176 pound (ca. -80 kg) weight.

2007

1st Place – Irish BJJ Open, men absolute.
1st Place – Irish BJJ Open, men purple belt.

1st Place – Mjölnir Open Mat 2007, men open weight.
1st Place – Mjölnir Open Mat 2007, men -81 kg weight.

2006

1st Place – Mjölnir BJJ Gi tournament, men open weight.
1st Place – Mjölnir BJJ Gi tournament, men -88 kg weight.

Gunnar has been offered to compete at the ADCC (Abu Dhabi Combat Club) World Submission Fighting Championship that will be held in Barcelona, Spain, on the 26-27th of September. This is of course a great honor for Gunnar but as many people know ADCC is a competition held every two years involving professional athletes who have been successful at the highest levels of Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling, Judo, Sambo, Shooto and Mixed Martial Arts. The rules of the event disallow strikes while promoting grappling and submissions. However Gunnar’s normal weight class (-77kg) is completely full so Gunnar has been offered a place in the -88kg weight class. This will of course be a great challenge for the young Icelander who will not only be the least experienced fighter in the tournament but also undoubtedly the lightest in his weight class.

Originally from a Karate background, Icelandic youngster Gunnar Nelson has been setting the mats on fire since focusing on BJJ three years ago. The John Kavanagh brown belt has trained extensively with B.J. Penn and Renzo Gracie in the past. His big breakthrough came when he took gold at this year’s Pan-American BJJ Championship and silver at the World Championship. Next to that, his perfect MMA record seems just a side note, but it is further evidence of his excellence. source: www.gunnarnelson.info/

Originally from a Karate background, Icelandic youngster Gunnar Nelson has been setting the mats on fire since focusing on BJJ three years ago. The John Kavanagh brown belt has trained extensively with B.J. Penn and Renzo Gracie in the past. His big breakthrough came when he took gold at this year’s Pan-American BJJ Championship and silver at the World Championship. Next to that, his perfect MMA record seems just a side note, but it is further evidence of his excellence.