GFTeam, or Grappling Fight Team, is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) team that was founded in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2004 by Julio Cesar Pereira. GFTeam has since grown to become one of the most respected BJJ teams in the world, with affiliates located in many countries around the globe.
Here is what you need to know about GFTeam. Going from how they originated and became one of the top jiu jitsu affiliations in the world.
The History of GFTeam
GFTeam was established in 2004, but their story goes back even longer than that. Here is the complete history of GFTeam.
Gama Filho Jiu Jitsu
Before GFTeam was established, there was Gama Filho Jiu Jitsu. A project started at Gama Filho University that took over fifteen years to be realized.
At the university, the head of the physical education department was a judo and jiu jitsu practitioner named Fernando “Pinduka” Guimarães. Pinduka was a Cаrlson Gracie black belt that was relentless in his attempts to start a program at the university.
But he was denied every time he tried due to many on the school board being Judo practitioners. They looked down on BJJ and didn’t want it to be part of the university.
Then finally in 1993, university director Pedro Gama Filho approved a jiu jitsu program at the college. It would be called Gama Filho Jiu Jitsu.
Filho would run the program for the first few years until he passed the reins to Julio Cesar. Julio would continue leading the school along with Alexandre Barauna.
But in 2003, Filho would pass away, and the school board did away with Gama Filho Jiu Jitsu. Forcing Julio Cesar to take the group to another location and change the name.
Cesar would take the team and move to the northern section of Rio de Janeiro. Establishing the new school in the neighborhood of Meier.
In just four years, GFTeam would become a full-fledged affiliation in 2007. Even though they were a new affiliation, the team had been building for the last decade.
GFTeam would begin producing some of the top grapplers in the world, which included multiple world champions.
GFTeams’s Top Competitors
GFTeam has produced numerous top grapplers since being established in 2003. Here is a short list of the most known grapplers from the affiliation.
Hands down, the most accomplished grappler in the history of GFTeam is the legendary Rodolfo Vieira. During his grappling career, Vieira won every major title in the sport of grappling.
A 5x IBJJF world champion, 6x UAEJJF World Champion, 2x European Champion, 2x Pan Champion, and ADCC Champion. Making him one of the most accomplished athletes in the history of BJJ.
Vieira has now moved on to MMA and currently fights in the UFC middleweight division with an 8-2 record.
Gutemberg Pereira is currently the top athlete within the GFTeam affiliation. He has won world titles at every rank and is a 2x AJP Pro World Champ. Pereira is a well-rounded grappler that is currently hunting for his first IBJJF world title.
The Canadian grappler Dante Leon has been a standout grappler for the last few years. Being one of the most proficient no-gi grapplers within GFTeam.
During his young career, Leon has won a No-Gi World Championship, and two Pan Championships. He also won the Kasai 170 lb Championship in 2020.
Riardo Evangelista has been one of GFTeam’s top grapplers for the last decade. Winning the Abu Dhabi pro twice, the IBJJF European Open twice, and the IBJJF Pan Championship in 2019. Also, a 2x Brazilian Nationals Champion and Brazilian National No-Gi Champion.
Just like his Vieira, Evangelista has also transitioned to MMA, where he’s currently 3-1.
Along with Rodolfo, Claudio Calasans is, arguably, the second most accomplished GFTeam athlete. Winning the 2015 ADCC Championship and the IBJJF World Championship in the same year.
Calasans has now transitioned to more of a coaching role and has released instructionals on BJJ Fanatics.
Denilson Pimenta was one of the top athletes in the early years of GFTeam. Winning a European Championship and the Rio Open in 2009.
FAQs About GFTeam
Who Founded GFTeam?
Julio Cesar founded GFTeam after running Gama Filho Jiu Jitsu
What Does GFTeam Stand For?
GFTeam stands for “Grappling Fight Team.”
Who is the Current Head of GFTeam?
GFTeam is still led by Julio Cesar, who his students call the general. Alexandre Barauna is also Cesar’s long time friend and right-hand man within the affiliation. Marcus Bello is also one of the head trainers in the affiliation, who helped introduce GFTeam within the United States.
Where is the GFTeam Headquartered?
GFTeam is headquartered at GFTeam Matriz, which is located in the neighborhood of Meier in Rio de Janeiro
How Many GFTeam Schools Are There?
There are now hundreds of GFTeam schools worldwide, with new affiliate schools opening every year.
GFTeam has expanded rapidly, with affiliates established in many other cities and countries, including the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and Asia. There are now hundreds of GFTeam schools worldwide that provide world-class training.
I may be biased since I am a member of a GFTeam school, but they produce incredibly talented athletes. There are numerous young GFTeam students that you’re going to hear about the future that could easily become world champions.