Ricardo Arona

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Ricardo Arona
Born (1978-07-17) 17 July 1978 (age 45)
Niteroi, Brazil
Other namesThe Brazilian Tiger
Height5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight198 lb (90 kg; 14 st 2 lb)
DivisionLight Heavyweight (205 lb)
Reach73 in (185 cm)
StyleBrazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Fighting out ofRio de Janeiro, Brazil
TeamBrazilian Top Team[1]
Rank4th deg. BJJ black belt[a]
Years active2000–2009 (MMA)
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout3
By submission2
By decision9
By knockout3
By decision2
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog
Medal record
Representing  Brazil
Submission Wrestling
ADCC World Championship
Gold medal – first place 2001 Abu Dhabi, UAE -99kg
Gold medal – first place 2001 Abu Dhabi, UAE Open
Gold medal – first place 2000 Abu Dhabi, UAE -99kg
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
World Championship
Silver medal – second place 2000 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil -94kg

Ricardo Arona (Portuguese pronunciation: [ʁiˈkaʁdu aˈʁõnɐ]; born 17 July 1978) is a Brazilian former professional mixed martial artist, submission grappler and 4th degree Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) black belt practitioner.[a]

A two-time World IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu champion in the lower belts, Arona is a World black belt medallist and a triple-crown winner of the ADCC Submission Fighting World Championship (winning his weight class, the absolute division, and the superfight).

A professional MMA fighter from 2000 until 2009, Arona competed in PRIDE Fighting Championships, RINGS and was a member of Brazilian Top Team. He is the former RINGS Middleweight Champion, as well as the 2001 RINGS Middleweight Championship Tournament Winner, and 2005 PRIDE Middleweight Grand Prix Runner-Up.

Arona has notable wins in both MMA and submission grappling competition over Tito Ortiz, Jeff Monson, Renato Sobral, Vitor Belfort, Mark Kerr, Kazushi Sakuraba, Wanderlei Silva, Dan Henderson, Alistair Overeem, Murilo Rua, Jeremy Horn, Guy Mezger, and Dean Lister. His four ADCC titles and his clean record of 13–0 after not losing a single point in a match, earned Arona in 2021 a place in the inaugural class of the ADCC Hall of Fame,[2]


Arona was born on 17 July 1978 in Niteroi, Brazil.[3] He trained in Judo and Karate before transitioning into Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Capoeira after seeing a Vale Tudo fight at the age of 13. Arona came to Carlson Gracie at the age of 18 when he was a purple belt and would go on to win numerous titles in BJJ and Submission Wrestling.[4]

Arona is the only ADCC competitor to go undefeated without losing a single point in any match.

Mixed martial arts career[edit]

Fighting Network RINGS[edit]

Soon after ADCC, Arona joined Fighting Network RINGS, a Japanese mixed martial arts promotion. His debut match would against aging Sambo champion Andrei Kopylov, who Arona defeated by unanimous decision after controlling him positionally for most of the match. He then beat Jeremy Horn by split decision, and went to participate in the King of Kings tournament, but was eliminated at the first round by Fedor Emelianenko in Arona's first loss. Although the Brazilian controlled Emelianenko with takedowns and superior ground game, as RINGS's ruleset gave more scoring to aggression than positional control, Fedor was awarded the decision for attempting more submissions during the match.[citation needed]

Arona's next opponent was Catch Wrestling expert Hiromitsu Kanehara. Ricardo overwhelmed him with punches and takedowns, while Kanehara repeatedly reversed to top position and kept attacking, but Arona shockingly submitted him in the second round with a Kneebar. Afterwards, Arona took part in a tournament for the RINGS Middleweight Championship, facing Jeremy Horn again in the first round and beating him by unanimous decision. The final match was against Gustavo Machado, who Arona defeated with kicks and punches in 1:29 to win the tournament and the title.[citation needed]

PRIDE Fighting Championships[edit]

After being noticed in RINGS, Arona was offered a contract to join PRIDE Fighting Championships. He started his career there strong, defeating Pancrase veteran Guy Mezger, but his victory would be a controversial one. Mezger managed to stop Arona's takedowns and landed strikes, including a glancing head kick and several punches through the guard, which forced Arona to defend; it took two rounds for the Brazilian to come back, taking down Mezger and executing ground and pound until the end of the third round. Arona won a split decision, which was disputed by some sources, including the announcers of the match.[5]

Ricardo's next fight would be against another high ranked opponent, Dan Henderson. This time Arona was able to take down the wrestling champion, but Henderson executed his own takedown and landed knees and punches to the face until Arona could escape. The Brazilian switched his strategy and knocked down Henderson with a right hand, though the American still reversed and ended the first round attacking Arona's guard. At the second round, despite receiving a cut over his eye, Arona managed to overpower Henderson and punish him from the top. He looked to have secured a rear-naked choke, only for Henderson to escape, but Arona controlled him to end the match and got the split decision.[citation needed]

At PRIDE 23, Arona would go against Murilo Rua, a member of the Chute Boxe team, which was in a rivalry with Brazilian Top Team at the time. The two contenders fought a series of battles on the clinch, in which Arona imposed his superior wrestling, and almost finished the fight with a rear-naked choke and an Achilles lock at the end of the first round. The match went back and forth, with Murilo escaping from sparse submissions and landing his famed strikes, but Arona overpowered him with takedowns and kicks at the end and won the unanimous decision.[citation needed]

The victory over Rua was followed by Arona's first defeat in PRIDE, losing his fourth fight to Quinton Jackson in a spectacular knockout. Arona, outsized for the first time in the promotion, saw Jackson powering out of his holds, so he elected to stay in his guard to minimize damage. He seemed to knock out Jackson with an upkick, but as it wasn't so, he followed with a triangle choke, only for Jackson to suddenly lift him up and counter it with a powerbomb. The slam knocked Arona out and led the referee to stop the match, declaring Jackson the winner. After the bout, Arona protested and claimed that an illegal headbutt he received by Jackson at the end of the slam was what knocked him out; footage of the fight seems to support this,[6] but it was never officially acknowledged or investigated.

Four months later, Arona returned to PRIDE and won a fight against sambo champion Sergey Ignatov. On 23 April 2005, Arona entered PRIDE's Middleweight (205 lbs) Grand Prix. He won his first fight in the tournament against Dean Lister by unanimous decision, controlling the ADCC contender in a slow grappling contest.[citation needed]

In the second round of the Grand Prix, Arona won, in controversial fashion, his fight against the Japanese fighter Kazushi Sakuraba via corner stoppage. Although Sakuraba put Arona on his back and seemed to put to work his signature jumping stomps, Arona soon overwhelmed him, landing a series of brutal knees to the head, as well as hard soccer kicks to the face. The Brazilian's toenail accidentally slashed open the skin over Sakuraba's left eye, which the Brazilian capitalized on squeezing the cut and digging his finger into it in order to force the stoppage.[7] The Japanese tried to keep on, but Arona hit another flurry of knees to the head, and ended the fight landing soccer kick after soccer kick. He was declared the winner when Sakuraba's corner called a stop to the fight at the conclusion of the second round due to the amount of damage he had sustained.

His semifinal match, against rival Wanderlei Silva, was held on 28 August 2005. Arona surprised everyone when he defeated Silva, who was the PRIDE Middleweight Champion at the time, by decision, handing Silva his first middle weight defeat in PRIDE. Despite Silva's feared striking, Arona put him down with an early leg kick and worked on an extensive ground and pound, taking him down every time the fight got standing in order to continue with the punishment, which lasted until the last minute. After defeating Silva, Arona advanced to finals where he faced rising MMA fighter Maurício "Shogun" Rua, brother of Murilo Rua and Chute Boxe integrant. In a dominant performance, Rua reversed a takedown from Arona and got the advantage, opening his hips to catch Arona in an omoplata. Instead of submitting Arona, Rua used the advantage to get top position, then after a missed stomp, knocked Arona out with hammerfists to the face.[8]

On 31 December 2005 Ricardo Arona fought Wanderlei Silva for a second time, this time for the Middleweight Championship. Arona threatened to execute the same gameplan, but Silva countered it with a strong takedown defense and an opportunistic striking, including standing away from Arona's guard and kicking his legs. Arona got a decisive takedown at the second round and performed ground and pound, only for Silva to reverse and get free, which forced Ricardo to pull guard. At the final round, Arona managed to take Wanderlei to the ground and attack from top position, with Silva reversing him again and kicking at his legs. Arona lost the match in a heavily debated split decision.[citation needed]

On 10 September 2006 Arona faced Alistair Overeem. After withstanding the initial attack from Overeem, Arona landed an inside leg kick, injuring his opponent's leg and making him drop to the ground. Arona quickly overwhelmed Overeem on the ground by blanketing him and showed complete domination throughout the bout. He continued his assault until Overeem tapped out from a barrage of strikes.[citation needed]

Arona suffered from a dengue hemorrhagic fever,[9] going into his fight against Sokoudjou on 8 April 2007 at PRIDE 34. Because of its affects on his body, claims Arona, he was knocked out by Sokoudjou in just under 2 minutes.[9]


After his loss to Sokoudjou, Arona's comeback fight against UFC veteran Marvin Eastman was canceled due to an injury that Eastman suffered during training. The fight with Eastman was rescheduled and took place at Bitetti Combat MMA 4 on 12 September 2009. Arona won the fight via unanimous decision.[citation needed]

In June 2014, Arona was offered a contract by Bellator MMA. However, he declined the offer and cited wanting to be one hundred percent physically healthy before recommitting to MMA as his reason.[10]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Brazilian jiu-jitsu / Submission wrestling[edit]

Main Achievements (Black Belt):[11]

Main Achievements (Coloured Belts):[11]

  • 2 x CBJJ World Champion (1998 purple, 1999 brown)
  • CBJJ Brazilian National Champion (1994 blue[3] / 1999 brown)
  • 2nd place CBJJ World Championship (1999 brown[b])

Submission wrestling:[11]

Mixed martial arts[edit]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Professional record breakdown
19 matches 14 wins 5 losses
By knockout 3 3
By submission 2 0
By decision 9 2
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 14–5 Marvin Eastman Decision (unanimous) Bitetti Combat MMA 4 12 September 2009 3 5:00 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Loss 13–5 Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou KO (punch) PRIDE 34 8 April 2007 1 1:59 Saitama, Japan
Win 13–4 Alistair Overeem TKO (submission to punches) Pride FC - Final Conflict Absolute 10 September 2006 1 4:28 Saitama, Japan
Loss 12–4 Wanderlei Silva Decision (split) PRIDE Shockwave 2005 31 December 2005 3 5:00 Saitama, Japan For the Pride Middleweight Championship.
Loss 12–3 Maurício Rua KO (punches) PRIDE Final Conflict 2005 28 August 2005 1 2:54 Saitama, Japan 2005 Pride Middleweight Grand Prix Final.
Win 12–2 Wanderlei Silva Decision (unanimous) PRIDE Final Conflict 2005 28 August 2005 2 5:00 Saitama, Japan 2005 Pride Middleweight Grand Prix Semifinal.
Win 11–2 Kazushi Sakuraba TKO (corner stoppage) PRIDE Critical Countdown 2005 26 June 2005 2 5:00 Saitama, Japan 2005 Pride Middleweight Grand Prix Quarterfinal.
Win 10–2 Dean Lister Decision (unanimous) PRIDE Total Elimination 2005 23 April 2005 3 5:00 Osaka, Japan 2005 Pride Middleweight Grand Prix Opening Round.
Win 9–2 Sergey Ignatov Submission (rear-naked choke) PRIDE 28 31 October 2004 1 9:05 Saitama, Japan
Loss 8–2 Quinton Jackson KO (slam) PRIDE Critical Countdown 2004 20 June 2004 1 7:32 Saitama, Japan
Win 8–1 Murilo Rua Decision (unanimous) PRIDE 23 24 November 2002 3 5:00 Tokyo, Japan
Win 7–1 Dan Henderson Decision (split) PRIDE 20 28 April 2002 3 5:00 Yokohama, Japan
Win 6–1 Guy Mezger Decision (split) PRIDE 16 24 September 2001 3 5:00 Osaka, Japan
Win 5–1 Gustavo Machado TKO (leg kick and punches) RINGS: 10th Anniversary 11 August 2001 1 1:29 Tokyo, Japan Wins 2001 RINGS Middleweight Championship Tournament. Became inaugural RINGS Middleweight Champion.
Win 4–1 Jeremy Horn Decision (majority) RINGS: 10th Anniversary 11 August 2001 2 5:00 Tokyo, Japan RINGS Middleweight Championship Tournament Semifinals.
Win 3–1 Hiromitsu Kanehara Submission (kneebar) RINGS: World Title Series 2 15 June 2001 2 0:53 Yokohama, Japan
Loss 2–1 Fedor Emelianenko Decision (unanimous) RINGS: King of Kings 2000 Block B 22 December 2000 3 5:00 Osaka, Japan
Win 2–0 Jeremy Horn Decision (split) RINGS: Millennium Combine 3 23 August 2000 2 5:00 Osaka, Japan
Win 1–0 Andrei Kopylov Decision (unanimous) RINGS: Millennium Combine 1 20 April 2000 2 5:00 Tokyo, Japan

Submission grappling record[edit]

13 Matches, 13 Wins (1 Submission)
Result Rec. Opponent Method Event Division Date Location
Win 13–0 United States Mark Kerr Points ADCC World Championship Superfight 2003 Brazil São Paulo
Win 12–0 Brazil Jean Jacques Machado Points ADCC World Championship Absolute 2001 United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi
Win 11–0 Brazil Vitor Belfort Points
Win 10–0 Brazil Saulo Ribeiro Points
Win 9–0 United States Roger Neff Submission (footlock)
Win 8–0 Brazil Ricardo Almeida Points -99 kg
Win 7–0 Norway Jon Olav Einemo Points
Win 6–0 Brazil Renato Sobral Points
Win 5–0 Ukraine Ruslan Mashurenko Points
Win 4–0 United States Jeff Monson Points ADCC World Championship -99 kg 2000 United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi
Win 3–0 United States Tito Ortiz Points
Win 2–0 Russia Kareem Barkalev Points
Win 1–0 Japan Hiromitsu Kanehara Points

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b under Ricardo Libório
  2. ^ Absolute
  3. ^ Weight and absolute


  1. ^ "Fight Finder: Ricardo Arona". Sherdog. 2007. Retrieved 15 August 2007.
  2. ^ "Ricardo Arona Added to ADCC Hall of Fame". 8 December 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Ricardo Arona "The Brazilian Tiger" – MMA Legend". Elite Sports. 17 February 2023.
  4. ^ "Ricardo Arona | BJJ Heroes". 27 January 2010.
  5. ^ Scott Newman (17 June 2004). "MMA Review: #19 Pride 16: Beasts from the East". The Oratory. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  6. ^ "- YouTube". www.youtube.com.
  7. ^ "Sherdog's Top 10: Dirtiest Deeds - No. 6". Sherdog.
  8. ^ Biederman, Felix; Bois, Jon (29 December 2020). "Fighting in the Age of Loneliness: Supercut edition". Youtube.com. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021.
  9. ^ a b "Arona talks about defeat to fans".
  10. ^ Fernando Arbex (11 June 2014). "Ricardo Arona refused Bellator's offer, needs to be physically fit to fight again". bloodyelbow.com. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  11. ^ a b c "Ricardo Arona". BJJ Heroes - Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Team History, Fighter Stats, Biographies and News. 27 January 2010.
  12. ^ "Names "Shogun" & Gomi 2005 Fighters of the Year". Sherdog.com. 1 January 2006. Retrieved 7 October 2022.

External links[edit]