Nova União Jiu-Jitsu Schools Legacy And History

Nova União Jiu-Jitsu Schools Legacy And History

1. Nova União Jiu-Jitsu Schools

Nova Uniao Jiu-Jitsu is one of the top three Jiu-Jitsu schools in the world and was founded in 1995. Two living legends of Jiu-Jitsu, Wendell Alexander and Andre Pederneiras are the founder and head instructors of Nova Uniao.

Appearing as the best team in Jiu-Jitsu, Nova Uniao has also become the best academy for MMA training. In previous years, Nova Uniao has produced UFC Champions like José Aldo and Renan Barão among many others.

Nova Uniao has more than 200 schools around the world. More than 80,000 students have enrolled in their schools since its inception. These students include both amateur and pro fighters. They have produced 250+ Black Belts till March 2023. 

2. Founder of Nova Uniao Jiu-Jitsu

Nova Uniao is the result of the efforts of two big names in the grappling world, Andre Pederneiras and Wendell Alexander.

2.1. Andre Pederneiras

Andre Pederneiras started his grappling journey when he was 17. Since then, he has worked great in combat sports. Andre is also known as Dede, a nickname derived from his name Andre.

In 2010, Andre Pederneiras was honored as “MMA Coach of the Year” by PVT Magazine. Andre Pederneiras is a six-time Brazilian National Champion and one time Vale Tudo Japan (VTJ) Champion.

2.2. Wendell Alexander

Wendell Alexander started grappling when he was 4 years old. He was promoted to Black Belt by Sebastião Ricardo at the age of 20 in 1986. Just after he was promoted to Black Belt, he started his coaching career in the same gym. Since then, he has been working to promote Jiu-Jitsu and train the new generation.

Wendell Alexander won various fights as a colored belt. As a Black Belt, Wendall did not appear in many championships, although he is the 1996 Pan Champion as a Black Belt.  

3. Leo Santos, The Current President at Nova Uniao Jiu-Jitsu

In 2018, Andre Pederneiras took a step back from Nova Uniao to start his career as an MMA coach. He wanted to make Upper Arena, one of the training centers of Nova Uniao, a training place not only for Nova Uniao’s students but also for other athletes from different disciplines.  

Since then, Leonardo Santos has been declared the president of Nova Uniao. Leo started his training with Wedell Alexander, his cousin. He was promoted to Black Belt in 1999. He executed great performances at CBJJ and IBJJF World championships.

Leo Santos showed great gratitude to his team. Being a main representative of Nova Uniao inside and outside Brazil, he aimed to branch out Nova Uniao in more countries.    

4. Nova Uniao Jiu-Jitsu Mission, Vision, and Values

Nova Uniao Jiu-Jitsu is considered a big name in the list of top grappling schools all over the world. Their mission is to welcome and educate every student and mold them into champions.

Nova Uniao is persistent to embody its students to learn consistency and strength. The purpose is to produce/train them to become real-life champions who never give up.

Nova Uniao Jiu-Jitsu’s Mission is the reason for its existence. Their mission statement is

“Transforming lives through Jiu-Jitsu.”

Nova Uniao Jiu-Jitsu School also set their final destination which is termed as their vision. They stated their vision in these words:

“Forming champions, regardless of whether they are athletes or not. It motivates them to never give up, persevere in the pursuit of goals, have courage in adversity, and inspire others through technical knowledge, making all our students champions in life.”

To achieve its targets and destination, Nova Uniao also defined its ways. They have defined and specified values that are necessary for every member of Nova Uniao to follow and acquire these values in their character. Their values are:

“1. Leadership: Guiding people, knowing how to approach them, inspire them, and influence them with good examples so that behaviors become habits and habits become good results.

2. Family: We treat each other like brothers, the victory of one is the victory of all.”

5. Nova União Jiu-Jitsu School’s History

5.1. Union of Two Academies

Andre Pedeneiras who is also known as Dede, and Wendell Alexander who is also named Dell have met each other in various championships before starting the Nova. Andre was running his own academy named Dede Pederneiras Jiu-Jitsu. At the same time, Wendell Alexander had his own association named Mello Tenis Club.

Their frequent meetings at different championships resulted in a friendship. Both of them decided to join forces and check the outcomes. In their first attempt, they participated in the championship representing Andre’s team. Their team won bronze medals. In another attempt of joining their forces and representing Wendell’s team, with the collective effort they attained better results and became the runner-up team.

This was the start of Nova Uniao. Both founders of Nova Uniao decided to join forces and collaborate to make a team that would rise and shine like a bright star in the grappling sky.

The Nova team was officially started in 1995. 

5.2. Meaning of “Nova Uniao”

Nova Uniao is a Portuguese word that means “New Union”. Nova Uniao academy is founded by the union of two academies by two great competitors.

5.3. Initial Stages of Success

The newborn Nova Uniao team took a rapid flight to success but its founders faced some challenges in the initial stages. Team members from both sides were gathered as united under the Nova flag with diverse backgrounds of Rio de Janeiro. It was a challenge to train students who came from hierarchically diverse backgrounds. 

5.4. Categorized as a Place for Lightweight Athletes

In 1996, Nova Uniao produced seven World Champions in the colored belt divisions in the lightweight category. In the next year, 28 competitors arose from Nova Uniao who became World Champions.

This year Nova Uniao produced champions in different belt divisions including Black Belt. In two years, most of their athletes participated in the lightweight categories. So Nova Uniao was considered a good place to train for lighter-weight athletes.

5.5. Earned a Name in Top Competitive BJJ Schools

The union of two great masters proved a successful outcome. In the initial years of Nova Uniao, their athletes started to win the medals and titles which the Gracie Barra and Carlos Gracie Association always took.

Now Nova Uniao is considered the third most competitive academy in Rio de Janeiro. In a short time, Nova Uniao made his name on the national and international levels. 

5.6. Transition to MMA

After earning a name and position in Jiu-Jitsu, Nova Uniao started offering MMA training. It was Andre Pederneiras who had international MMA experience. He also took Nova Uniao to the UFC which was the right decision at that time. Now UFC has become one of the top fighting championships in MMA.

In 1996, one of the old students of Dede and Dell, Rafael Carino earned the title in the 9th edition of UFC. Under the coaching of Andre and Wendell, various MMA athletes from Nova Uniao appeared in major MMA competitions like Cage Rage, Shooto (a big name at that time, still famous in Japan), IFL, and Pancrase.

Another name that arose from Nova Uniao was Jose Aldo. He was the person who started a campaign in Amazonas and conducted the first MMA tournament there. In 2009, Jose Aldo secured the title of Featherweight champion which was a good sign for Nova Uniao’s MMA career. It was a fortune for Jose that WEC and UFC merged in 2010. Then Jose became the UFC featherweight champion in 2010. This was the time Nova Uniao reached the peak of its fame.

5.7. Nova Uniao Present and Future

Now, Nova Uniao is one of the top competing and big Jiu-Jitsu organizations which has more than 200 branches in the world. Andre Pederneiras and Wendell Alexander invited Leonardo Santos to become the president of Nova Uniao.

The team is still struggling to attain its purpose to spread the association and increase its credibility. They are also focused to maintain the values of the academy and keep their collaboration strong and work as a family. 

5.8. Andre Pederneiras Left the Headship and Take a New Start

Andre Pederneiras took a step down from Nova Uniao after their team reached the heights of fame. He left the headship of Nova Uniao and started his own academy in the Upper Arena of Brazil. He wanted to start his academy without any affiliations where he can focus on his MMA students.

Andre and his new academy are greatly inclined towards social work. He is still teaching at Nova União Rio de Janeiro along with maintaining his new academy.

6. Nova União Jiu-Jitsu School Head Quarter

The headquarter of Nova União Jiu-Jitsu schools is at Rua Marquês de Abrantes 88, 96, 100 – Flamengo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

7. Nova União Jiu-Jitsu School Affiliations

Nova Uniao Jiu-Jitsu schools are spread widely in different regions of the globe. Their 250 units are producing BJJ and MMA competitors all around the world under the supervision of great instructors.

They have major affiliations in Brazil, the USA, Argentina, Canada, Chile, Australia, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Thailand, Switzerland, the Philippines, Romania, Ireland, Iran, etc.

Some of their affiliated schools are

  1. Nova Uniao- BOSTON
  2. Nova Uniao Ottawa
  3. Nova União South Florida (Gym)
  4. Kombat Arts Jiu-Jitsu Team, Nova Uniao
  5. Nova União Japan Sugamo
  6. Nova Uniao Phuket
  7. Nova Uniao Argentina
  8. Nova União Cachambi
  9. Nova Uniao Concepcion
  10. Nova Uniao Curitiba
  11. Nova Uniao Bangu
  12. Nova União Rocha
  13. Nova União Tijuca

8. Leaders at Nova União Jiu-Jitsu School

Nova Uniao comprises 200 units all around the world. To oversee and manage a great number of affiliations in different regions, Nova Uniao has a group of leaders. These leaders supervise many branches. They are responsible for a number of units of the association.

Here is the list of all leaders of Nova Uniao.

8.1. Wendell Alexander

Wendell Alexander is the co-founder as well as the leader of Nova Uniao. He started combat sports at the age of four when his aunt started to take him to the gym. Master Wender Alexander is a Coral Belt holder

8.2. Nonato Machado

Master Nonato Machado is one of the great BJJ personalities who are taking combat sports to the state of Amazonas. Master Nonato Machado has been in the service of Jiu-Jitsu for a long time. He changed the mindset of thousands of people about Jiu-Jitsu.

After his Jiu-Jitsu struggle, he was able to lead the women's Jiu-Jitsu team. Master Nonato Machado was also honored to be the president of the State Jiu-Jitsu Federation for almost 6 years. He was the first person who organized the first MMA fight at Amazonas. 

8.3. Fabio Andrade

Fabio Andrade is responsible for the Familia Bangu BJJ, a Nova Uniao branch. He did not join BJJ professionally. He just took interest in the sport to spend some time with his nephew. After some time, Fabio earned his place in Jiu-Jitsu. Now he is coaching in Nova Uniao Bangu.

8.4. Guilherme Santos

Guilherme Santos started training in Jiu-Jitsu with Andre Pederneiras in 1989. After six years,  Guilhere was promoted to Black Belt. Now Santos is responsible for 17 units of Nova Uniao, in Ceara

8.5. Clebinho

Clebinho was promoted to Black Belt by Master Andre Pederneiras. Clebinho is considered to have the best BJJ coaching strategies. Besides being a coach, he is also an international referee and also famous for conducting seminars.

8.6. Oswaldo Jurema

Oswaldo Jurema started his BJJ career with Rodrigo Feijao and Robson Moura in 1995. When they opened their academy in Teresopolis, Oswalso was one of the first groups of students in their academy. In 2003, after graduating, Oswaldo joined Andre Pederneiras and continued his training. He was promoted to Black Belt in 2008. Now he is responsible for Nova Uniao DJ Bros Academy.  

8.7. Andre Bastos

Andre Bastos is a ten times Brazilian National Champion and World champion in his all-belt divisions. He started Jiu-Jitsu training in 1986. In 1992, he joined Wedell Alexander.

After nine years of training with the founder of Nova Uniao, Andre Bastos was promoted to Black Belt. Now he is working as a coach at Nova Uniao. He is also working as a Jiu-Jitsu referee.

8.8. Maurício Nascimento, Preppy

Mauricio Nascimento Preppy joined Jiu-Jitsu on the recommendation of a friend. After joining Jiu-Jitsu, he wanted to resume Judo. Later, his hunger for Jiu-Jitsu did not let him go to other martial arts.

Now he is working with Nova Uniao Azul. This is a social project in which he wanted to deliver all his Jiu-Jitsu knowledge to the students who wanted to learn Jiu-Jitsu.

8.9. Rafael Carino

Rafael Carino is a 5th Degree Black Belt under Master Andre Pederneiras. He is the president of NURC Tijuca academy. Rafael is two times World Champion, two times Grand Slam Abu Dhabi Legends, Pan American Champion, UFC 9 Champion, and six times Brazilian Champion

8.10. Luan Carvalho

Luan Carvalho received his Black Belt from Master Cláudio Joanino. He was a student at Nova Uniao academy in Macaé. He won multiple championships including IBJJF European, Asian, Brazilian Nationals, and many others. 

8.11. Rodrigo Feijao

Rodrigo Feijao is a Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt under Master Andre Pederneiras. He won major championships multiple times including the World Championship, Abu Dhabi World Pro, World Cup Championship, Brazilian Nationals, Brazilian Teams Championship, and World Masters Championship.

8.12. Andre Marola

Andre Marola is a BJJ Black Belt under Wendel Alexander. He joined Jiu-Jitsu at a very early age due to his father. His father was a student of Carlos Gracie. Now Andre is coaching at Nova Uniao. 

9. Head Instructors at Nova Uniao Jiu-Jitsu School

Nova Uniao had a great number of branches in various countries. To run those branches, Nova Uniao engaged a great number of brilliant coaches. Some of the head instructors at various branches of Nova Uniao are listed below.

9.1. Jose Adriano

Jose Adriano is the head instructor at Nova Uniao Boston. He has a record of 8-2-0 with 60% submission wins in MMA. He is a specialist in BJJ and Muay Thai.  

9.2. Pablo Santos

Pablo Santos received his Black belt from Cesar Rezek. He is skillful in BJJ, No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu, and Muy Thai. Pablo Santos is working as a head coach in the Nova Uniao Ottawa branch. He is famous for his easy and fun-oriented coaching style in Jiu-Jitsu

9.3. Marcelo Meleiro

Marcelo Meleiro is a 3rd-degree Black Belt. He received his Black Belt from Andre Pederneiras. He joined Jiu-Jitsu at the age of 13 under the founder of Nova Uniao. Now he is the head instructor at Nova Uniao South Florida. 

9.4. Scott Lewis

Scott Lewis is the head instructor at Kombat Nova Uniao, Canada. He exhibits great coaching skills. Under his coaching, various BJJ practitioners are promoted to upgraded belt levels. 

9.5. Marcio Cesar

Marcio Cesar is a fourth-degree Black Belt. He is the head coach at the Nova Uniao Phuket branch. He specializes in MMA, BJJ, and Muay Thai.   

10. Famous Students of Nova União Jiu-Jitsu Schools

10.1. Top Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Competitors

Nova Uniao is known as the best Jiu-Jitsu academy all around the world which produced great champions and Hall of Famers. Here we will discuss some of the best grapplers which are connected with Nova Uniao.  

Robson Moura

Robson Moura is one of the great featherweight competitors of Nova Uniao. He received his Black Belt from Andre Pederneiras. He is the only student of Andre and Wendell who was inducted into theIBJJF Hall of Fame .

Robson Moura is five times World Champion, once CBJJO World Cup Champion, and CBJJ Brazilian National Champion in his Black Belt career. Now he is running his own Robson Moura Nations United (RMNU) and producing great BJJ competitors.   

Vitor Shaolin

Vitor Shaolin is a BJJ Black Belt under Andre Pederneiras. He is three times World Champion as a Black belt, once as a Purple Belt, and bronze winner in ADCC 2003. Vitor Shaolin did not only show his great skills in BJJ but also debuted in MMA in 2000.

He earned a big name in cage fighting. He participated in big MMA tournaments like Cage Rage, Strikeforce, Dream, Shooto, and K-1.  

Leo Santos

Leo Santos is one of the brilliant students of Nova Uniao and received his Black Belt from Wendell Alexander. He was a great competitor and arose as a big name in the early 2000s.

His big achievements include four times CBJOO World Cup Winner, ADCC Brazilian Trails winner, Silver and Bronze winner in IBJJF World, and 4th position holder in ADCC World Championship.   

Bruno Bastos

Bruno Bastos is a 5th-degree Black Belt under Master Wendell Alexander. He had a great list of achievements in both his Color and Black Belt career. He won multiple major BJJ championships. He is also applauded for representing and winning Nova Uniao in World Team Championships twice.  

Bernardo Pitel

Bernando Pitel is one of the biggest names in the Pluma category in BJJ. He was promoted to Black Belt by Joao Roque, a student of Andre Pederneiras. Bernardo Pitel is World Champion twice, once in the Brown Belt and once in the Black Belt division. Now he is running his own gym named Bernardo Pitel Gym in the USA. 

10.2. Top MMA Fighters of Nova Uniao

Along with BJJ, Nova Uniao is also making history in MMA. A lot of big names in MMA arose from Nova Uniao. Here is a list of some MMA heroes who have their roots in Nova Uniao.

José Aldo

Jose Aldo is a big name in major MMA fighting championships like UFC, WEC, Pancreas, etc. He is a Black Belt in BJJ under Andre Pederneiras and Luta Livre under Marco Ruas. Jose Andre has an MMA record of 31-8-0. He is also BJJ World Champion, Brazilian National Champion, and CBJJ World Jiu-Jitsu Cup winner. 

Renan Barão

Renan Barao is a BJJ Black Belt under Andre Pederneiras. He started his MMA career in Nova Uniao and is still connected to the organization. He started his MMA career with Shooto Brazil and some other local competitions. Now he is fighting for UFC and WEC. His MMA record is 34-9-0.  

Marlon Sandro

Marlon Sandro is a Bellator veteran, World Victory Road, and Former Pancrase Featherweight Champion. He is a 2nd degree Black Belt in BJJ under Andre Pederneiras. He has an MMA record of 28-7-2. He was also runner-up in CBJJ Brazilian Nationals 2001 as a Purple Belt.   

Thales Leites

Thales Leites is a 3rd-degree Black Belt in BJJ under Welton Ribeiro and has an MMA record of 28-9-0. He made his MMA debut in 2003 when he finished Felipe Arinelli with Arm Triangle Choke. He also earned the title of “Permanence of the Night” (twice), “Submission of the Night” (once), and “Fight of the Night” (once) in UFC.   

Wagnney Fabiano

Wagnney Fabiano is a fifth-degree Black Belt under Wendell Alexander. He was a BJJ champion in his color belt divisions before 2000. In 2000 he made his MMA debut. He has an MMA record of 16-4-0.

He is famous for his fabulous performance in WEC and Toronto Dragons. He also listed his name as an IFL Champion in the Featherweight division.

11. FAQs

1. Who is the Founder of Nova Uniao?

Master Wendell Alexander and Master Andre Pederneiras are the founders of Nova Uniao. They created this team in 1995 by joining their academies.

2. Who is the President of Nova Uniao now?

Leandro Santos is the current president of Nova Uniao. On the invitation of Andre and Wendell, he accepted the presidency of Nova Uniao.

3. Which of the Founders and Leaders of Nova Uniao Left the Headship?

Andre Pederneiras left the headship of the team. He started his academy in upper Arena which is a type of social work. He is still taking classes at the Nova União Rio de Janeiro campus.

4. Who is the Top Student of Nova Uniao in MMA?

Jose Aldo is a featherweight champion in the UFC. He kept the featherweight title for the longest time, 1848 days. Jose Aldo is a big name in MMA.

5. Who is the Top Student of Nova Uniao in BJJ?

Robson Moura is a BJJ champion who is now running his own academy. He won various world titles under the supervision of great coaches at Nova Uniao. Robson Moura is inducted into the IBJJF Hall of Fame

12. Conclusion

Andre Pederneiras and Wendell Alexander’s union resulted in a great team in the world. They started their new academy with a lot of challenges and now they have reached the peak of their career. Nova Uniao which was initially created as a Jiu-Jitsu school now also made a transition into MMA. Their MMA fighters earned a top rank in UFC and other major MMA championships.

Photo Credit: @saraivabjj

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