As the world’s most elite MMA promotion enters its final set of events for 2021, a long list of UFC roster members that possess a highly reputable BJJ background are scheduled to compete. From UFC in Vegas 43 to the final pay-per-view of the calendar year, UFC 269, join us in previewing the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners who have the potential to walk away with another submission victory notched on to their resume.
UFC in Vegas 43, Fight Night: Vieira vs. Tate, Nov.20
Pro MMA Record: 11-2
Submission Victories in MMA: 4
Rank: BJJ Black Belt under Andre Pederneiras
The number 6 ranked position within the UFC’s women’s bantamweight is currently held by Ketlen Vieira, a Brazilian native scheduled to face a former champion and UFC legend in Miesha Tate.
30-year-old Vieira will be making her 8th walk into a UFC octagon since signing with the promotion in 2016. Finally, headlining an event, she’ll be presented with the toughest test of her professional MMA career. Still, it’s a decorated background in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo that could create Vieira’s path to victory.
Fighting out of Nova Uniao Manaus, for the experience, Vieira will face in Tate, the impeccable team members she’s surrounded by can certainly assist her in overcoming the American obstacle. The esteemed Nova Uniao team in Rio de Janeiro has been the home of champions like Jose Aldo, Renan Barao, Junior Dos Santos, and BJ Penn, to name a few.
Having trained in BJJ since the age of 12, it was coach Andre Pederneiras who recently gifted Vieira with her black belt honors – Proving to be a dangerous skillset that the wrestling-heavy Miesha Tate will want to be aware of when shooting in for her double-leg takedowns and when playing within the full guard position.
UFC in Vegas 43 Honorable BJJ Mentions
Rani Yahya (27-10-1) is one of the most decorated BJJ practitioners in the UFC. With 22 of his 27 professional MMA victories ending via submission, 36-year-old Yahya is a 2nd-degree black belt and has won prestigious submission competitions such as the ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championships.
Yahya will face Kyung Ho Kang on the main card of UFC in Vegas 43.
UFC in Vegas 44, Fight Night: Aldo vs. Font, Dec.5
Pro MMA Record: 30-7-0
Submission Victories in MMA: 2
Rank: BJJ Black Belt under Andre Pederneiras
Jose Aldo is a true legend of mixed martial arts. Remaining undefeated for a decade between 2005 and 2015, he will go down in UFC history books as one of the greatest to ever compete inside the octagon.
Owning such a pristine knowledge of striking has perhaps overshadowed where Aldo’s tenure with professional mixed martial arts initially began. A product of the world-famous Nova Uniao gym, Aldo accomplished bronze in the 2001 World Jiu-Jitsu Championship and a gold medal in the Brazilian National Jiu-Jitsu Championships.
And yes, Aldo has only managed to secure two submission victories during his pro-MMA career. Still, this level of grappling expertise has allowed him to dictate his fights from a positional advantage.
UFC in Vegas 44 Honorable BJJ Mentions
Leonardo Santos can match Rani Yahya’s level of expertise on the jiu-jitsu mats. Santos is another Nova Uniao standout, and he’ll be competing on the same fight card as his teammate Jose Aldo.
Owning a black belt to the 4th degree makes Santos a considerable threat on the ground. Despite competing against the veteran nature of Diego Sanchez, we should expect the Brazilian to be a heavy betting favorite. With that said, a FanDuel promo code could potentially raise the available value on your Leonardo Santos wagers.
UFC 269: Oliveira vs. Poirier, Dec.11
Pro MMA Record: 31-8-1
Submission Victories in MMA: 19
Rank: 3rd Degree BJJ Black Belt under Jorge Macaco
Alex Oliveira owns the most submission victories in UFC history (14), alongside the most overall finishes (KO & Submission) in UFC history (17). The newly crowned UFC lightweight champion has remained undefeated since 2017 with a 10-fight winning streak.
“Do Bronx” has presented a submission threat in almost 100% of his professional MMA bouts. When Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier challenges the Brazilian champion at UFC 269, the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas will struggle to contain its building foundations as the two fan-favorites go to war.
Notably, Poirier also boasts a BJJ black belt, but if he wants to scramble with the lightweight champ, we believe he’ll be in for a rude awakening.
UFC 269 Honorable BJJ Mentions
Amanda Nunes, Andre Muniz, and Ryan Hall deserve recognition for their jiu-jitsu triumphs, with a combined 21 submission victories between the three. However, its 14 professional wins via submission for Andre Muniz are assisting the above tally the most.
November and December are delivering countless jiu-jitsu for BJJ purists to get excited about. Although we haven’t mentioned them all, we can guarantee they’ll be multiple Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts with submission successes to celebrate.