The Magnificent Paulo Filho AKA ‘Ely’

The Magnificent Paulo Filho AKA ‘Ely’

1. Paulo Filho’s Details

Paulo Filho’s Details
Name  Paulo Fernando de Souza Filho AKA Paulo Filho
Pro Record 24-06-03 (W-L-D)
Nick Name Ely
Date of Birth May 24, 1978
Age 44
Height 5’8″ / 172.72 CM
Weight 185 LLB/ 83.91KG
Born Governador Island. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Nationality Brazilian
Last Fight May 10, 2018
Weight Division Middleweight
Career Disclosed Earning $136,750 USD
Foundation Style Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda -> Carlos Gracie -> Carlson Gracie -> Paulo Filho
Team Association Brazilian Top Team
Favorite Position/Technique Guard Passing, Mount Positioning to Armbar
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2. Paulo Filho’s Biography

2.1. Who is Paulo Filho?

At the ripe age of 22, Paulo Filho started his professional career in mixed martial arts. In 1997, Paulo represented Brazil in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu World Championship and won a gold medal. He also secured 2 silver medals in 1998 and 1999.

He is a Brazilian retired mixed martial artist who competed in the Middleweight division in his last fight. Filho was the last WEC Middleweight Champion, he also contested in PRIDE, DREAM, DEEP, Impact FC, and the world series of fighting. Paulo Filho has earned prestigious regard in the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu community.

He is considered a legend among the high-level competitors, who have fought against him and trained with him. Filho is an extreme pit bull lover and has a tattoo of a pit bull on his shoulder and abdomen.

2.2. Paulo Filho’s Early Life

Paulo Fernando de Leite Filho, mostly known by the name of Paulo Filho was born on May 24, 1978, to a Jewish-Brazilian father and a Pernanbuco mother. His parents moved to Zona Sul. Around that time, young Paulo started training in jiu-jitsu at the Academy of Carlson Gracie.

In this academy, he started to learn judo and mixed martial arts. He did well in judo, Jiu-Jitsu, and mixed martial arts and later became one of the most renowned proteges of Carlson Gracie, and received his black belt in jiu-jitsu from Carlson Gracie at the age of 20.

Paulo Filho always held high regard for the whole Gracie family.

He said, “It is because of this family that I have everything in my life, and for that, I am forever grateful.”

2.3. Journey to a Pro BJJ Athlete

Paulo Filho got his Black Belt in Judo in 1996 from Club de Regatas. He received his black belt in BJJ from Carlson Gracie in 1998. Paulo Filho started his pro athletic journey from Heroes events in July 2000 and stood undefeated after 16 straight fights till 2007.

2.4. Paulo Filho’s Pro MMA Career

It was at the start of 2001 when Paulo Filho showed the whole world who is the real boss. Despite the internal tussle of Carlson Gracie’s team, Filho was firm on his mission. Paulo Filho decided to be part of the Brazilian Top Team (BTT).

This was the best time in his career. He has achieved a 16-0-0 record, especially winning against the prominent fighters of that time like Yuki Kondo, Amar Suloev, Murilo, Rua, and many others.

3. PRIDE Fighting Championship

In the duration of his stay in PRIDE, It was only Filho who remained undefeated in the 2006 Welterweight Grand Prix. But unfortunately, because of an injury, he was unsuccessful in winning the tournament.

It was in the semi-finals of PRIDE Bushindu on  5 November 2006, that Filho defeated Kazuo Misaki through Armbar. During the nerve-wracking tug of war, Filho suffered a knee injury, causing his withdrawal from the Grand Prix final match against Denis Kang.

4. World Extreme Cagefighting

Paulo Filho signed with World Extreme Cagefigt and ultimately fought on August 5, 2007, at WWE 29. Filho won the fight against the Canadian fighter Joe Doerksen via strikes. Paulo was awarded the controversial win at 4:15 of the second round over the two times National Wrestling Champion Chael Sonnon by Armbar. Because of the controversy, Filho was scheduled to face Sonnon again at WEC 33. But Filho faced Sonnon at WEC 36 on November 5. In that match, Filho was out of his league, and Sonnon dominated the fight and took the victory. In December 2008, when the WEC’s middleweight division was absorbed into the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Filho felt that he had lost his love for fighting and decided to take some time off from fighting.


Filho started his DREAM journey on July 20, 2009, by taking out a lightweight Melvin Manhoef at DREAM 10 in Saitama. Paulo put on an extremely skillful fight by showing great fortitude and perseverance. He wrestled with Melvin's toe to toe and continued to strike with power while dodging his rapid shower of strikes.

Melvin was also at the top of his game. At one point Manhoef put him in half guard but Filho swiftly transitioned into a full mount. Then Filho secured the Armbar which resulted in his win in the first round.

6. Bitetti Combat

On September 12, 2009, Filho joined Brazil’s top institute, Bitetti Combat. In the fourth event of Bitetti Combat he fought against Argentinian Alex Schoenauer, Filho dominated the whole fight and secured a win by unanimous decision.

He fought in Bitetti Combat a second time on December 12, 2009, at Bitetti Combat 5. He took his opponent Tatsuhiko Nishizaka by applying a Kimura in the first round of the fight.

It was after that fight Filho failed to appear in the fights of Bitetti Combat despite several scheduled fight announcements.

7. Bellator Fighting Championship

Once again Filho was scheduled to face Bellator Middleweight Champion Hector Lombard on May 13, 2010, at Bellator 18. But Filho was unable to join the fight because of some visa issues.

7.1. Future

Paulo was unstoppable at that time and the whole world was in awe before the skillful show of the play. He defeated Daniel Villegas on June 4, 2010, in the first round via submission and strikes. He started his heavyweight debut with flair. Both fighters faced each other again on July 17, 2010, which resulted in a draw. Right after the tournament, Filho was summoned to partake in the ADDC submission grappling championship in Nottingham, England. Because of an injury, Paulo was unable to join the ADDC.

8. Paulo Filho’s Legacy

Paulo Filho lived a legendary life. He has shown the world what it takes to be the champion.  With sheer dedication and the guidance of Carlson Gracie he mastered the art of fighting and made a long-lasting impression in BJJ, WEC, and ADCC.

It was not a pleasant time for Carlson Gracie and his team. Gracie’s team split apart and many prominent figures left the Academy to start their personal or joint ventures. But Paulo, despite the ambitiousness and the early bravado stage of his life did not leave and continued to follow the leader Murilo Bustamante. He did entertain the invitation of some formal teammates but ultimately returned to BTT.

9. Paulo Filho’s Retirement

Paulo Filho made an announcement on October 19, 2011, that he is retiring from the MMA and he will not be participating in future events. During the interview, when asked about the reasons for retirement Filho bluntly acknowledged the use of illegal substances and the problems it has been casting on his performance and mental state.

9.1. Back from Retirement

The spectators were in shock at the announcement of retirement and expecting a return. Paulo was thinking the same and he made a return to the arena to face former UFC fighter David Branch during the World Series of Fighting 2 event on March 23, 2013. Contrary to the expectations, Dave dominated the fight and Filho lost the bout to a unanimous decision.

Filho faced Andre Muniz at the Bitetti Combat on February 6, 2014, but lost again to a one-sided unanimous decision.

10. Car Accident

Paulo got into an unfortunate accident in 2007 and fractured his hip socket and left hand. He has now fully recovered and is living his life peacefully while doing speeches and teaching Jiu-Jitsu in Rio de Janeiro.

11. Paulo Filho’s Historic Fights

Date Opponent Decision Result Time Round Event
Jul 24, 2000 Luiz Claudio Submission Win N/A 2 Heroes 1
Jan 8, 2001 Keiichiro Yamamiya KO Win 00:29 2 Deep 1st Impact
Mar 31, 2001 Ikuhisa Minowa Unanimous Decision Win 05:00 3 Pancrase: Proof 2
Aug 18, 2001 Yuki Kondo Unanimous Decision Win 05:00 3 DEEP: 2nd Impact
Jul 19, 2004 Akira Shoji Split Win 05:00 2 PRIDE: Bushido 4
Aug 26, 2006 Ryo Chonan Submission  by Armbar Win 02:30 1 PRIDE: Bushido 12
Dec 12, 2009 Tatsuhiko Nishizaka Submission  by Kimura Win 03:00 1 Bitetti Combat 4

11.1. Paulo Filho’s Grappling Record & Accomplishments

Year CBJJ World Championship Medal
1999 Purple Belt Silver
1998 Brown Belt Silver
1997 Purple Belt Gold

Year Brazilian National  Championship Medal
2000 Brown Belt Gold
1998 Blue Belt Gold
1996 Blue Belt Silver

Year ADCC Brazilian Trials Medal
2005 Black  Belt Gold

11.2. Paulo Filho’s Clored Belts and Grappling Championships

Year CBJJ World Championships Medal
1999 Black  Belt Pesado Silver
1998 Brown Belt Pesado Silver
1997 Purple Belt Pesado Gold

Year CBJJ Brazilian Championships Medal
2000 Black  Belt Pesado Silver
1999 Black  Belt Pesado Silver
1998 Brown Belt Pesado Gold
1996 Blue Belt Pesadissimo Gold

12. Paulo Filho Grappling Record Breakdown

Date Opponent Decision Method Time Round Event
Jul. .24. 2000 Luiz Cláudio das Dores Win Submission to Punches N/A R2 Heroes - Heroes 1
Jan.08.2001 Keiichiro Yamamiya Win Ko(Punches) 00:29 R2 Deep-1st Impact
Mar.31.2001 Ikuhisa Minowa Win Decision (Unanimous) 05:00 R3 Pancrase-Proof 2
Aug.18.2001 Yuki Kondi Win Decision
05:00 R3 Deep 2nd Impact
April.01. 2004 Silmar Rodrigo Win Decision
05:00 R3 Bitetti Combat Nordest 3
Jan. 01. 2004 Daijiro Matsui Win Decision
05:00 R3 Gladiator FC- Day 2
Jal. 19. 2004 Akira Shoji Win Decision(Split) 05:00 R2 Pride-Bushido 4
Apr.03.2005 Amar Suloev Win Submission
04.22. R1 Pride-Bushido 6
Sep.25.2005 Ryuta Sakurai Win Submission
03:49 R1 Pride-Bushido 9
Apr.02.2006 Murilo Rua Win Decision
05:00 R2 Pride-Bushido 10
Jan. 04.2006 Gregory Bouchelaghem Win Decision
05:00 R2 Pride-Bushido 11
Aug.26.2006 Ryo Chonan Win Submission (Armbar) 02:31 R1 Pride-Bushido 12
Nov.05.2006 Kazu Misaki Win Submission (Armbar) 09:43 R1 Pride-Bushido 13
Jul.30.2009 Melvin Manhoef Win Submission (Armbar) 02:36 R1 Dream 10 - Welterweight Grand Prix 2009 Final
Sep.12.2009 Alex Schoenauer Win Decision)
05:00 R3 BC - Bitetti Combat 4
Result Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location
Loss 23–5–2 David Branch Decision (unanimous) World Series of Fighting 2 March 23, 2013 3 5:00 Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States
Win 23–4–2 Murilo Rua TKO (punches) Best of the Best September 6, 2012 1 0:47 Belem, Brazil
Loss 22–4–1 Norman Paraisy Decision (unanimous) X-Combat Ultra: International Grand Prix May 20, 2011 3 5:00 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Loss 22–3–1 Ronny Markes Decision (unanimous) International Fighter Championship April 29, 2011 3 5:00 Recife, Brazil
Win 22–2–1 Jackson Mora Decision (split) World Fighting Combat: Pretorian March 19, 2011 3 5:00 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

12.1. Paulo Filho’s PRIDE Fighting Championships

Date Status Opponent Round/Time Method Event
2002.29.09 Win Akira Shoji R1/02:48 Submission by Armbar PRIDE 22 Beast from the East 2
2004.19.07 Win Akira Shoji R2/05:00 Split Decision PRIDE Bushido 4
2005.03.04 Win Amar Suloev R1/04:22 Submission by Armbar PRIDE Bushido 6
2005.25.09 Win Ryuta Sakurai R1/03:49 Submission by Armbar PRIDE Bushido 9
2006.02.04 Win Murilo Rua R2/05:00 Unanimous Decision PRIDE Bushido 10
2006.04.06 Win Gregory Bouchelaghem R2/05:00 Unanimous Decision PRIDE Bushido 11
2006.26.08 Win Ryo Chonan R1/05:00 Submission by Armbar PRIDE Bushido 12
2006.05.11 Win Kazuo Misaki R1/09:43 Submission by Armbar PRIDE Bushido 13

13. Paulo Filho’s Wins By Armbar

Opponent Status Method Date Event Round/Time
Akira Shoji Win Submission by Armbar Sep. 29.2002 PRIDE 22 R1/02:48
Amar Suloev Win Submission by Armbar April.03.2005 PRIDE Bushido 6 R1/04:22
Ryuta Sakurai Win Submission by Armbar Sep.25.2005 PRIDE Bushido 9 R1/03:49
Ryo Chonan Win Submission by Armbar Aug. 26.2006 PRIDE Bushido 12 R1/02:30
Kazu Misaki Win Submission by Armbar Nov,05.2006 PRIDE Bushido 13 R1/09:43
Chael Sonnen Win Submission by Armbar Dec.12.2007 WEC 32 R2/04:55
Melvin Manhoef Win Submission by Armbar July.20. 2009 DREAM 10 R1/02:35

14. Paulo Foilho’s WEC Fight History

Date Status Opponent Round/Time Method Event
2007. 05.12 Win Joseph Doerksen R1/04:07 TKO/RSC WEC 29
2008.08.03 Win Greg Mclntyre R3/03:21 Triangle Choke WEC 35
2007.12.12 Win Chael Sonnen R2/04:55 Submission by Armbar WEC 31
2008.05.11 Loss Chael Sonnen R3/05:00 Decision
WEC 36
2008.12.03 Loss Shane Roller R1/01:01 Guillotine Choke WEC 37
2009.03.01 Loss John Franchi N/A Decision (Split) WEC 39
2009.04.05 Loss Rafael Dias N/A Unanimous Decision WEC 40

15. Paulo Filho’s Professional MMA Career Breakdown

33 Matches 24 Wins 6 Losses
By Knockout 03 0
By Submission 10 0
By Decision 10 6
Draw 3

15.1. Submission Method Breakdown W/L

Method Wins Loss
Arm Triangle 8 0
TKO 1 0
Kimura 1 0

16. Paulo Filho’s MMA Match History

Year Event Opponent W/L/D Method Round Time
2018 Wawan MMA 16 - Wawan Fight Night Mohamed Ashraf Gahi W Arm Triangle Submission 1 1:55
2014 BC-Bitetti Combat 19 Andre Muniz L Unanimous Decision 3 5:00
2013 Selva MMA- ExpoAcre 2013 Rodney Wallace D Draw(Time Limit) 5 5:00
2013 WSOF 2 David Branch L Unanimous Decision 3 5:00
2012 BOTP Murilo Rua W TKO (Punches) 1 0.47
2011 AFC- Amazon Forest Combat 1 Satoshi Ishi D Draw 3 5:00
2011 X-Combat Ultra- International Grand Prix Norman Paraisy L Unanimous Decision 3 5:00
2011 IFC- International Fighter Championship Ronney Markes L Unanimous Decision 3 5:00
2011 WFC 4 Jackson Mora W Split Decision 3 5:00
2010 Bitetti Combat-8. 100 Years of Continuation Yaki Sasaki W Unanimous Decision 3 5:00
2010 FCF First Class Fight 5 Marcos Rogerio L Unanimous Decision 3 5:00
2010 Impact FC 2 The Uprising Sydney Denis Kang D Draw  (Split) 3 5:00
2010 MF- Memorial Fighting Qualifying Dnaiel Villegas W TKO (Submission to Punches) 1 0:00
2009 BC- Bitetti Combat 5 Tatsuhiko Nishizaka W Submission ( Kemura) 1 3:00
2009 BC Bitetti Combat 4 Alex Achoenauer W Unanimous Decision 3 5:00
2009 Dream 10- Welterweight Grand Prix Final Melvin Manhoef W Submission (Armbar) 1 2:36
2008 WEC 36 Chael Sonnen L Unanimous Decision 3 5:00
2007 WEC 31 Chael Sonnen W Submission (Armbar) 2 4:55
2007 WEC 29 - Las Vegas Joe Doerksen W TKO (Punches) 1 4:07
2006 Pride Bushido 13 Kuzo Misaki W Submission (Armbar 1 9:43
2006 Pride Bushido 12 Ryo Chonan W Submission (Ambar) 1 2:31
2006 Pride Bushido 11 Gregory Bouchelaghem W Unanimous Decision 2 5:00
2006 Pride Bushido 10 Murilo Rua W Unanimous Decision 2 5:00
2005 Pride Bushido 9 Ryuta Sakurai W Submission (Armbar) 1 3:49
2005 Pride Bushido 6 Amar Auloev W Submission (Armbar) 1 4:22
2004 Pride Bushido 4 Akira Shoji W Split Decision 2 5:00
2004 Gladiator FC- Day 2 Daijiro Matsui W Unanimous Decision 3 5:00
2004 BC Bitetti Combat Nordeste 3 Silmar Rodrigo W Unanimous Decision 3 5:00
2002 Pride 22 Beasts from the Est 2 Akira Shoji W Submission (Armbar) 1 2:48
2001 Pancreas- Proof 2 Ikusiha Minowa W Unanimous Decision 3 5:00
2001 Deep 2nd Impact Yuki Kondo W Unanimous Decision 3 5:00
2001 Deep 1st Impact Ikuhisa Minowa W Unanimous Decision 3 5:00
2000 Heroes - Heroes 1 Luiz Claudio das Dores W TKO (Submission to Punches) 2 0:00

17. Paulo Filho’s Controversies

17.1. Paulo Filho got Shot

In 2014, during a party, Paulo caught up in a heated discussion with some unknown person in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The former WEC Champion got shot in the leg and was later brought to Miguel Couto Hospital for surgery.

17.2. Paulo Filho Vs David Branch

The event got hyped because of the presence of former WEC 185-pound champion Paulo Filho and his opponent, former veteran David Branch, in the World Series of Fighting II in Atlantic City, New Jersey on March 23, 2013. Paulo was not proud of the fight's result but later accepted the substance abuse. He describes that loss as follows:

“I cut too much weight, 35 pounds, and I was not training before the fight. Everything was a complete and total failure.”

Paulo explained later that at that time, he was going through depression and falling into drug use. It all happened right after the PRIDE’s collapse in 2007. In his WEC debut, he was going to face Joe Doerksen for the middleweight gold and eventually won by first-round TKO. In four months Paulo was set to defend his belt against Chael Sonnen, nobody knew that he was not in his old form and shape and never will be again. Paulo said:

“People with depression will do anything to get out of this misery, and cocaine turns you into a slave. Cocaine slowly brings you down, and it is so dangerous.”

18. Links of Paulo Filho’s Famous Fights

David Branch vs Paulo Filho | WSOF 2, 2013

Paulo Filho (Brazil) vs Denis Kang (Canada) | MMA HD

Pride Veteran Paulo Filho fights in Kuwait and wins

Paulo filhio vs chael sonnen 2 full fight WEC 36

Dream 10: Melvin Manhoef vs. Paulo Filho HD

Akira Shoji vs Paulo Filho Pride 22 Beasts from the East 2

Pancrase: Ikuhisa Minowa vs Paulo Filho (2001)

Photo credit: @MMA DEBATE , @paulofilhojj

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