Leandro Lo – One of the greatest BJJ athletes to ever live that was taken from us too soon

Leandro Lo
Birth Name:Leandro Lo Pereira do Nascimento
Date of Birth:May 11th, 1989
Died:7 August 2022 (aged 33) São Paulo, Brazil
Place of Birth:São Paulo, Brazil
Team:Unity Jiu Jitsu, NS Brotherhood, Barbosa JJ, PSLPB Cicero Costha
Affiliation:New School Brotherhood
Division:GI weight classes Lightweight: −76 kg (168 lb) Middleweight: −82.3 kg (181 lb) Middle-Heavy: −88.3 kg (195 lb) Heavyweight: −94.3 kg (208 lb) Super-Heavy: −100.5 kg (222 lb) No-GI weight classes Lightweight: −73.5 kg (162 lb)
Teacher:Cicero Costha
Rank:BJJ black belt
Championships:8x IBJJF World Champion, 8x Pans Champion, 4x Brazilian Nationals Champion

Leandro Lo was one of the most beloved figures in all of BJJ. Everyone within the Jiu Jitsu loved Leandro and were heartbroken by his senseless murder.

Here’s everything you need to know about Leandro Lo. One of the greatest BJJ athletes to ever live that was taken from us too soon.

We’ll detail how Lo got into Jiu Jitsu and became one of the greatest athletes of all time.

Leandro Lo’s Entry Into Jiu Jitsu 

Leandro Lo grew up on the east side of São Paulo. He first discovered Jiu Jitsu when he was around fifteen years old.

Being invited to train for free through a social project called Projeto Social Lutando Pelo Bem. A social project run by local BJJ black belt Cicero Costha.

From the moment Leandro stepped on a Jiu Jitsu mat, he was extremely passionate about training. He would be on the mat all day everyday with Professor Costha absorbing everything about the martial art.

Leandro Lo
Leandro Lo

Leandro Rise Through the Ranks

After just one year of training, Lo would receive his junior blue belt. At this point, he had already established himself as one of the best teen grapplers in the world.

In that first year of training, Leandro Lo would win nearly every BJJ competition he entered. Including winning the 2005 IBJJF World Championship in his first attempt.

Leandro would return the next year as an adult belt and take second before his promotion to purple belt. As a purple belt, Leandro would win the CBJJE World Cup and place second at the Brazilian Nationals in 2008.

Then at brown belt, Lo would win back to back Brazilian National titles before being promoted to black belt. Lo would make his black belt debut in 2011 and take over the BJJ world for the next decade.

Leandro Lo’s Competitive Career 

Leandro is the only BJJ competitor in history to win world championships in 5 different weight classes. Here is a breakdown of his eight world championship title reigns.

Leandro Lo
Leandro Lo

Leandro Lo’s World Title Wins(2012-2013) 

In his IBJJF World Championship debut in 2011, Leandro came up short of earning a medal. But in 2012, Lo would come into his own and set the BJJ world on fire.

He would compete in the light division against some of the best of the era. In the semifinals, Lo would beat current Rizin MMA champion Roberto Satoshi 7-2 to face Lucas Lepri in the finals.

Lepri had previously beaten Lo, but Leandro would hit a sweep to win the match 2-0. Securing the first world title as a black belt.

Lo would return in 2013 to retain his title in the light division. He would edge out Lepri by advantage in the semifinals to meet Michael Langhi.

Until this point, Langhi was unbeaten, but Leandro would win 2-0 to win his second world title.

Leandro Lo’s World Title Wins(2014-2015) 

After winning world titles at the light division, Leandro would move up to the middle division in 2014. The middle division was just as tough as the light division, but Lo was ready for the challenge.

He would beat Sean Roberts in the quarter finals, followed by beating Victor Silverio in the quarter finals. In the semifinals, Lo would face former No-Gi world champion Victor Estima and beat him by points.

That win would set him up against another grappler that would be rival throughout his career in Otavio Sousa. The two would have a back and forth war, but Leandro would come out on top. Winning his third straight world title and his first in the middle division.

In 2015, Leandro would once again move up to the middle-heavy division to try and conquer another division. He would show that he was just as dominant at middle-heavy. Only getting two points scored on him in three matches to win his fourth straight world title.

Leandro Lo’s World Title Wins(2016, 2018)

At the 2016 IBJJF World Championship, Leandro would move up to the heavy division. This time, he would face even tougher competition than the previous year. He would meet Matheus Diniz in the quarter finals and Keenan Cornelius in the semifinals.

Leandro would beat both of those tough opponents to meet multi time world champion Romulo Barral in the finals. This would be one of the only times in Barral’s career that he would be dominated in a match.

From the start of their match, Leandro controlled the pace and beat Romulo 5-0. Winning his fifth world title in three divisions.

Unfortunately, Lo’s world title streak would get snapped in 2017, but he would come back stronger in 2018. This time in the ultra-heavy division.

It looked like Lo would win his sixth world title, but he would severely injure his shoulder in the division finals. But even with an injured shoulder, Leandro would still compete in the absolute division.

He would put on an epic performance beating some of the world’s best athletes while injured. In the finals, his friend Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida would bow out and give Leandro the win. Earning his sixth world title and his only win in the absolute division.

Leandro Lo’s 2019 World Title Win

After rehabbing his shoulder, Leandro would come back to compete in the super-heavy division. Lo would win his first three matches to meet the young Kayan Duarte in the finals.

The young Duarte would be just a bit quicker than Lo and edge him out to win 5-3. But Duarte would fail the post tournament drug test and was stripped of the world title.

Lo would be awarded the title, which would be the fifth division that he would be a world champion in. The only BJJ athlete that has ever accomplished this feat in the history of the sport.

Leandro Lo’s Last World Championship Win

In 2022, many had begun writing off Leandro Lo as one of the best BJJ athletes in the world. Citing that the many injuries that Lo had suffered over the years had slowed him down.

Many thought the 88 kg division was stacked with talent and Lo would not perform well. Leandro would prove all of his doubters wrong and show he was still one of the best in the world.

He would have one of the most dominant runs of his long and storied career. Lo would blow past his first three opponents, shutting them down with ease.

In the finals, he would meet division favorite Isaque Bahiense, who was the favorite to win in 2022. Lo would shock the world and beat Bahiense 2-0 to win his eight and final world championship.

The crowd went crazy and embraced Lo after the championship win.

Leandro Lo’s Grappling Game 

Leandro Lo had one of the most innovative styles within the modern era of Gi Jiu Jitsu. He was a complete grappler that was as good off his back as he was passing.

What many know Lo for was his highly effective use of a DLR guard blended together with the spider guard. His use of this guard would be the set up for his patented lumberjack sweep variation. People began calling this technique “the Lo sweep.”

Then from playing on top, Leandro Lo had one of the best Torando passes in all of Jiu Jitsu. Being able to cut angles off the push and pass his opponent’s guards with ease.

The way he used the Toreando pass has been studied by numerous top grapplers, who implemented it into their games.

Leandro Lo’s Tragic Death 

On August 7th, 2022, Leandro Lo was senselessly murdered in a São Paulo nightclub by an off duty police officer. Before the murder, Officer Henrique Otavio Oliveira Velozo took a bottle of liquor from Lo’s VIP table.

When confronted for stealing the bottle, Velozo tried to attack Lo’s party, but Lo subdued him. After being let up, Velozo then pulled out his gun and shot Lo directly in the forehead.

Lo was rushed to the hospital, but was pronounced brain dead at the hospital. The BJJ community was heart broken by the senseless killing of one of their most beloved figures.

As of now, Velozo has not been prosecuted, but Lo’s family is currently asking for an audience with a judge. The whole BJJ community is behind Leandro Lo’s family as they’re currently fighting for justice. We’re all behind his family and want to see Velozo punished for his crimes.

Leandro Lo
Leandro Lo

The Legacy of Leandro Lo

Leandro Lo was a hero to many in the BJJ community and revered as one of the best ever. He was taken from us far too soon and is incredibly missed.

But Leandro’s legacy lives on by those who knew and loved him. Anybody that met Lo was one of the friendliest people in the world that was universally liked in Jiu Jitu. We miss him dearly, but his legacy and action will be remembered forever.