Rodolfo Vieira – BJJ Athlete

Rodolfo Vieira
Date of Birth:September 25th, 1989
Place of Birth:Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Nickname: The Black Belt Hunter
Team:GF Team
Height:5 ft 11 in (180 cm)
Weight:185 lb (84 kg; 13 st 3 lb)
Weight Class:Middleweight
Martial Arts Record: 8-1(MMA) 97-12(BJJ)
Notable Championships:5x IBJJF World Champion. ADCC World Champion, 5x UAEJJF Champion

Rodolfo Vieira’s entry into Jiu Jitsu

Rodolfo Vieira first started Jiu Jitsu when he was 13 years old. As a teen, he was a little overweight and was looking for a way to slim down.

He first began training under Arlans Maia and Bruno Souza as a white belt. After Rodolfo Vieira got a blue belt, he switched gyms to Universidade Gama Filho with Julio Cesar Pereira. 

Universidade Gama Filho was then renamed to GF Fight Team and became an affiliation. Under Julio Cesar, Vieira showed incredible potential to do big things in Jiu Jitsu.

Rodolfo Vieira crushes in the low ranks

Once Rodolfo Vieira switched academies, he began seriously competing in Jiu Jitsu. Immediately becoming one of the best colored belts in Brazil.

As a teen, Vieira won just about every competition he entered. After turning 18, he received his adult blue belt and was ready to take over the adult blue belt level.

Rodolfo Vieira would enter the Brazilian Nationals in 2007 and win both his division and the absolute division. Then he would receive his purple belt and in 2008, he would repeat winning both championships again.

This would lead to Rodolfo Vieira earning his brown belt just a year later and making his international debut. He would sweep the UAEJJF tournaments in Brazil to qualify for the Abu Dhabi World Pro Championship.

At his first major international tournament, Veira made his presence felt. Going on to be a Braulio Estima, who at the time was a 2x world champion. By beating Estima as a brown belt, he would earn the nickname “The Black Belt Hunter.”

Then as he was entering the plane to go back to Brazil, Julio Cesar gave him his black belt.

Rodolfo Vieira

Rodolfo Vieira takes over Jiu Jitsu

After getting his black belt, Rodolfo Vieira would take a year off from competition due to an injury. He would come back in 2011 ready to take over the Jiu Jitsu world.

The first tournament he would compete in is the 2011 Pan Championship. Taking off where he left off before his injury and winning both his division and the absolute division.

The Black Belt Hunter would continue his winning streak again winning double gold at the Abu Dhabi cup again. He would then complete the triple crown and win the 2011 IBJJF World Championship. Beating Bernardo Faria, who he faced in both previous competitions that he won.

Rodolfo came up just short of winning his 4th major championship of the year at the 2011 ADCC Championship. Losing to Dea Lister by heel hook in the semi finals, which was only his 2nd loss of the year.

Most of the major Jiu Jitsu publications considered Vieira as the BJJ athlete of the year in 2011.

Rodolfo Viera dominates again 2012-2014

The Black Belt Hunter would continue his path of destruction in 2012. He started his 2012 campaign by competing at the IBJJF European Championship for the first time.

His European championship debut would be a successful one. Winning both the 94 kg division and the absolute division to wrap up his debut.

Rodolfo Vieira would make his 3rd return to the Abu Dhabi World Cup and earn double gold again.(94 kg and absolute division.)

Then in the IBJJF World Champion, he would repeat as the world champion in the 94 kg division. Unfortunately he wouldn’t repeat as the absolute champion, losing to Marcus Buchecha by just 1 point.

In 2013, Rodolfo Vieira would stay active and compete in both the Abu Dhabi World Cup and IBJJF World Championship.

At the World Cup, he would repeat for the 3rd year in a row as the 94 kg champion. Then again losing another close battle in the absolute division to Buchecha.

Rodolfo Vieira would then end 2013 at the IBJJF World Championship earning another gold and silver medal. Coming up short again to his rival Buchecha.

Then in 2014, Vieira slowed down in competing, making appearances at the UAEJJF and IBJJF Championships. Again, Rodolfo would repeat with gold medals in the 94 kg divisions and silvers in the absolute division. 

Rodolfo Vieira wins at ADCC 2015

In 2015, Rodolfo Vieira would take a year off from Gi competitions to focus on the ADCC championship. This was the only major championship that had been evading him throughout his Jiu Jitsu career.

2015 would be Rodolfo Vieira’s year as he came in ready to take on the 99 kg division. In regular Rodolfo fashion, would dominate his competition.

Beating big names in the 99 kg division like Alexandre Ribeiro and Felipe Pena to win the ADCC title. He would also compete in the absolute division beating Benson Henderson and Rafael Lovato Jr.

In the semi-finals, he would come up short of getting to the finals, losing to Joao Rocha.

Rodolfo Vieira enters MMA

Rodolfo Vieira would take a year off from training and competition after his win at ADCC. He had accomplished everything he could in BJJ and would decide to make the transition to MMA.

Throughout 2016, The Black Belt Hunter would begin his MMA training and get back in shape. Rodolfo would make his MMA debut in the light heavyweight division at an event in São Paulo.

His MMA debut would be successful with a submission win in the first round. Six months later, Rodolfo Vieira would have his 2nd fight at Shooto Brazil in Rio de Janeiro. Earning another 1st round submission win in front of a hometown crowd.

Rodolfo would then sign a 3 fight deal with the promotion Absolute Championship Berkut. He would make his middleweight debut in this promotion and earn the first TKO win of his career.

The Black Belt Hunter would make a trip to Australia for his 4th fight and then Poland in his 5th fight. Both fights were wins by RNC in the first round to boost his record to 5-0.

Rodolfo Vieira
Rodolfo Vieira

Rodolfo Vieira signs with the UFC

After going 5-0 in smaller promotions, Rodolfo Vieira was signed to the UFC in June of 2019. He would make his UFC debut 2 months later on a fight night card in Uruguay 

Vieira’s debut would be a successful one submitting Polish fighter Oskar Piechota by RNC in the 2nd round.

His second fight would take place in March of 2020 on the UFC 248 undercard. Rodolfo would get his 2nd UFC win and 7th overall submitting Saparbek Safarov by arm triangle in the 1st round.

Unfortunately for The Black Hunter would suffer his first MMA loss of his career. Suffering a massive upset loss to Anthony Hernandez by submission.

Rodolfo Vieira chalked up the loss to him basically being a white belt at MMA and that he’s still learning.

He would bounce back from his first loss with another submission win against Dustin Stoltzfus. Boosting his record to 8-1 with all 8 wins by submission or TKO.

Rodolfo Vieira’s return to pro grappling

In 2018, after making his successful MMA debut, The Black Belt Hunter would return to pro grappling. His returning match was a successful one submitting Kit Dale with a violin armlock.

As of 2021, Viera has gone 3-2 in pro grappling since coming back to grappling. He will most likely continue only doing grappling matches on occasion as MMA is now his priority.

Rodolfo Vieira’s legacy

Rodolfo “The Black Belt Hunter” Vieira has had one of the most storied grappling careers of any BJJ athlete ever. He has won every single major grappling competition and has won many of them multiple times.

Now that he has accomplished everything in Jiu Jitsu, Vieira has set his sights on being an MMA champion. So far in his MMA career, Rodolfo Vieirahas an impressive 8-1 record. Three of which have been in the UFC and all of his wins have been finishes.

At 32, Rodolfo Vieira has a lot of work to do in MMA, but soon he will develop into a complete fighter. Then he will try his luck at adding UFC Middleweight Champion to his impressive resume.