Otavio Peixotinho…

Otavio de Oliveira also known as Peixotinho, was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and raised on the streets of Ipanema. Growing up, Otavio was bullied both at school and on the street due to his minute demeanour.

For that reason he often asked his father to put him in a martial arts school, unfortunately for Peixotinho his father did not concur at the time and from age 6 he ended dedicating most of his spare time to surfing instead.

When Otavio turned 14 years of age, he moved from Ipanema to the neighbouring burg of Copacabana in the southern area of Rio de Janeiro. Still fixed on the objective of training in a martial art, he requested his Uncle Wanderley Rebelo’s expertise on the matter (Wanderley was Ivan Gomes’s agent, a famous fighter in those days), Rebelo told Otavio he should pay the Gracie academy a visit and on December of 1974 Otavio enrolled at this same academy at Figueiredo Magalhães street.

Though he always had Jiu Jitsu as a hobby, he trained almost every day, sometimes several times in a day, he also cross trained in wrestling (Greco-roman and Freestyle) and Judo and soon became a famous name amongst fellow competitors for his prowess both in the lightweight division and in the absolute (open weight) division.

A testament of that was his fight in 1981 at the Campeonato Carioca against the much heavier Mauricio Gomes, for the gold medal of the brown belt absolute category. Mauricio was 93kg (205lbs) against Peixotinho 72kg (158lbs), and though this absolute war of attrition was won by Gomes (by one advantage) it showed just what kind of a warrior Otávio was.

The 1980’s were a troubled era for Jiu Jitsu. Though many legendary fighters came from that decade, competition in Rio de Janeiro was scarce. There was a big dispute within the Federation and in order to compete, most fighters would have to travel several hours to Niterói and compete there. It was in this mythical competition called “Copa do LINJI” in 1984 that Peixotinho fought Rickson Gracie in that legendary open weight division match.

Otavio Peixotinho was very tired coming to the fight as he had fought twice in his own weight class defeating Zé “Paraíba” (student of Osvaldo Alves) and Sylvio Behring and once in the absolute against Rillion Gracie while Rickson only had one fight. The much anticipated battle did not end well for Peixotinho, but this encounter would echo forever as one of the biggest battles of our sport.

Two years after that fight Otavio Peixotinho applied for a state funded job in “Vale da Paraíba” working specifically in Taubaté. With the move away from Rio de Janeiro, he also opened his own academy with the consent of his master Carlson Gracie where he has produced many talented fighters.

Otavio Peixotinho is a legend.