On Nov. 23, 2018, Grappling Fight Team, usually referred to as GFTeam, completed ten years of existence. The academy, based out of the Rio de Janeiro neighborhood of Méier, was born in the defunct Gama Filho College and is currently one of Brazil’s biggest teams.
Many victories were factors in the building of this decade of success, but few were as big as one that came in the year 2011 by the hands of an athlete known the world over — Rodolfo Vieira.
After rocking the international scene as a brown-belt, defeating well-known opponents, Rodolfo was made a black-belt and set out to fulfill his dream of becoming an IBJJF world champion.
In the heavyweight division, he beat names like Rafael Lovato and Bernardo Faria to bag the gold, and it was no different in the absolute. After getting past Cláudio Calasans and Serginho Moraes, Rodolfo was faced, for the first time ever, with the man who would become his biggest rival on the mats: Marcus Buchecha.
The duel was marked by Rodolfo’s pressure from the top, with pass attempts and powerful takedown shots. Marcus seemed unbeatable, but one powerful armbar attack guaranteed Rodolfo’s win in their semifinal match. Rodolfo then beat Bernardo Faria 9-0 in the final, meaning GFTeam now had an absolute world champion in its ranks.
Watch here the duel between Rodolfo Vieira and Marcus Buchecha at the 2011 Worlds: