Rodolfo Vieira Brings Elite BJJ Back To The UFC

The UFC started out as a way to prove Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu’s superiority over other martial arts by hand-picking Royce Gracie as the representative for BJJ in the first four events. He made short work of his first ten opponents and brought the martial art, and the family name, to the forefront of combat sports.

Oh, how the times have changed.

In the last decade of UFC events, there’s been a relative scarcity of elite BJJ athletes with Demian Maia and Jacare being the most notable names to compete but neither having managed to wear a UFC belt around their waist. It’s no secret that the UFC likes to cater to the casual fan and the “Stand them up!” crowd, heavily favoring fighters who excel on the feet or have exciting striking styles.

Recent additions to the UFC roster seem to signal a change in the winds however. It was earlier this year that the first big BJJ signing made his debut, with ADCC Champion Kron Gracie carrying on the family tradition and submitting Alex Caceres in the first round. But Kron’s achievements in BJJ pale in comparison to the newest addition to the roster.

Enter Rodolfo Vieira.

Vieira not only has an ADCC championship but also five separate world championship medals in his cabinet. He’s had over a hundred matches at the highest level of the sport and come away with the win over 90% of the time, only being submitted once almost eight years ago now. In short, he’s the most successful BJJ athlete to make his UFC debut since Jacare himself and does so a whole four years younger than he was at the time.

Vieira already owns a 5-0 MMA record with all of them coming by finish, four by submission and four in the first round. His opponent at UFC on ESPN+ 14 is no walk in the park, Oskar Piechota owns a solid 11-1-1 record (2-1 UFC) and is an ADCC veteran in his own right. Regardless of the tough test in his first major league fight, nobody expects anything but another submission win for Vieira as he starts his campaign towards UFC gold.

Alex Lindsey

Alex Lindsey is the managing editor here at Grappling Insider. Originally starting training in MMA in 2008, injuries and university slowed progress until he decided to put on a gi for the first time back in 2015.

Alex Lindsey has 367 posts and counting. See all posts by Alex Lindsey