Leandro Lo Through the Years

Leandro Pereira do Nascimento Lo was born on May 11, 1989, in Brazil’s east neighborhood of São Paulo.

Lo with his mother
Lo with his family

He began training Brazilian jiu-jitsu at the age of 14 after enrolling in a program for low-income kids and teenagers. It was founded by Jiu-Jitsu coach and teacher Cicero Costha.

Lo with coach Cicero Costha

In 2005, Lo won his first IBJJF world championship while participating as a lightweight for team Barbosa JJ as a blue belt. He went on to win silver the following year and bronze at the 2006 Brazilian National Championship when competing as a featherweight.

Lo earned silver in the 2006 World Championship as a purple belt. But he subsequently had a significant injury that prevented him from competing in most competitions. Using that time to recover and improve his technique, Lo went on to win silver at the 2008 CBJJE Brazilian Cup.

Lo received all of his belts from Costha. In July 2010, Lo was promoted to black belt.

Lo won the won the 2011 CBJJ Rio International Open while competing at lightweight (under 76 kg [168 lb]). He finished third in Absolute, and won the Brazilian Nationals.

Lo defeated Celso Vinicius (one of the top lightweight competitors at the time) and Michael Langhi (who had gone three years without losing in the lightweight class) to win the 2011 Abu Dhabi World Pro.

In 2012, Lo took home silver in Absolute at the IBJJF World No-Gi Championship after falling to Xande Ribeiro in the final.

He won another Brazilian Nationals title in 2012 at the Pan American championship. Later that year, Lo defeated Lucas Lepri in the championship match to win his first black belt world title and become the 2012 lightweight world champion.

The next year, Lo won the 2013 World Lightweight Championship once again. From 2011 until 2013, Lo enjoyed an undefeated winning run at the Copa Podio Grand Prix. It is one of the major professional jiu-jitsu competitions in Brazil.

Lo won the 2013 competition in Rio de Janeiro by submitting UFC welterweight Gilbert Burns following a thrilling 20-minute contest.

Leandro Lo moved up a weight category to middleweight (under 82.3 kg (181 lb)) for the 2014 World Championship. After beating Otavio Sousa, Lo won the Pan American and Abu Dhabi Pro in 2014 and went on to become the middleweight world champion.

Leandro Lo in 2014

Lo with Felipe Pena

Lifestyle: Leandro Lo proves that simplicity goes a long way | Graciemag

In 2015, Lo quit PSLPB to start his own team. He formed the NS Brotherhood (Jiu-Jitsu New School Brotherhood), and he brought along a number of competitors.

He moved up a weight class to medium heavyweight (under 88.3 kg [195 lb]). Lo won the Abu Dhabi Pro, the Pan Am, and the World Championships in 2015.

Lo won three consecutive Grand Prix titles in three different weight classes in the same year—Lightweight, Middleweight, and Heavyweight. He became the first-ever Copa Podio triple crown champion in October 2016. This feat had never before been achieved in the sport of jiu-jitsu.

Lo with Wallid Ismail

Lo moved up another weight class in 2017 and competed in the IBJJF tournaments as a heavyweight (under 94.3 kg (208 lb)). That year, he won silver in both the absolute and heavyweight divisions. After beating super heavyweight Joo Gabriel Rocha in the open weight final, Lo went on to win two gold medals at Pan.

Leandro Lo beat Gordon Ryan in a exhibition at the ADCC North American West Coast Trials in April 2017. The event took place in Anaheim, California.

Lo was invited to the 2017 ADCC World Championships in Espoo, Finland. This is where he competed for the -88 kilogram (194 lb) championship for the first time. Craig Jones eliminated Lo in the first round.


Lo in 2017

Lo was ranked first in the IBJJF 2016-2017 rankings after receiving a double Grand Slam and winning gold medals in the weight and absolute classes at the four major IBJJF competitions: Euros, Pans, Brazilian Nationals, and Worlds.

While competing in the super-heavyweight final of the world championship in May 2018 (under 100.5 kg (222 lb)), Lo dislocated his shoulder twice and was unable to continue. In a surprising turn of events, his close friend Marcus Buchecha (whom Lo was supposed to compete against in the Absolute final) forfeited his match to give Lo the 2018 open weight title. This was the only title missing from his career.

Lo in 2018

In November, Lo made the announcement that he was resigning as the NS Brotherhood’s head coach in order to concentrate on competition.

Lo with Marcus Almeida and Tarik Alqassimi

At the 2019 World Championship, Lo switched back to heavyweight and took home silver. He was defeated by Kaynan Duarte in the championship match. Lo was vying for the open weight championship and beat Keenan Cornelius in the semifinals. But he handed Buchecha the win in the finals, paying back the favor from the year before.

Lo in 2019
Lo with Felipe Pena and Marcus Almeida


When Kaynan Duarte’s win was overturned because he failed a USADA test, Lo was named the new world heavyweight champion. Following this, he broke Saulo Ribeiro’s record of 20 years by becoming the first person to hold the title in five different weight classes.

In November 2020, Lo received an invitation to take part in the middleweight Grand Prix at BJJ Stars 4. He managed to win the competition after scoring victories over three opponents.

Lo in 2020

After making a comeback at medium-heavyweight for the first time since 2016, Lo trained at Unity Jiu Jitsu in New York. He won bronze medals at the 2021 World Championship and the 2022 Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championship.

Lo in 2021

Lo then won the 2022 World Jiu-Jitsu Championship by defeating Isaque Bahiense in the medium-heavyweight final. This was his eighth and final world championship title— a feat only three other competitors had ever accomplished. With this victory, Lo was ranked first in the medium-heavy male gi class for the 2021–2022 season of the IBJJF Ranking.

Lo was shot in the head in a nightclub in São Paulo early on August 7, 2022, as a result of an argument. Lo was brought to the hospital, where doctors pronounced him brain dead. The suspected shooter was a police officer turned himself in the next evening. He was then arrested.

In August 2022, Lo was buried at São Paulo’s Morumbi Cemetery. While Lo was being carried in an open casket, his fellow athletes formed a guard of honor along the route from the church to the cemetery. Many of them were wearing their Jiu-Jitsu Gi.

Fellow athletes of Lo during his funeral

The IBJJF made the announcement that Lo will be posthumously inducted into the IBJJF Hall of Fame on May 11, 2023.