Rafael vs Cobrinha

The History of

Rafael Mendes vs Rubens “Cobrinha” Charles

The last 15 years has spoiled us to an unprecedented growth in competitive grappling.   Regardless of where you are in the world, a promotion exists that is hosting an event near you every weekend.   Add to this that most major events are streamed in some form or fashion for our viewing pleasure.

As the sport grows, so does the quality of competition.  We become familiar with the players and start to play fantasy matchups when brackets are released.  In the end, we get rivalries.

Today, we go deep into one rivalry that stands above all others:  Rafael Mendes of Atos vs Rubens “Cobrinha” Charles of Alliance.   First, below is a side by side comparison of their podiums by promotion:

Rafael Cobrinha
6 x World Champion


5 x World Champion

2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 20017

2 x ADCC Champion

2009, 2011

3 x ADCC Champion

2013, 2015, 2017

2 x Pan Jiu Jitsu Champion

2011, 2012

4 x Pan Jiu Jitsu Champion


3 x European Champion

2009, 2010, 2014

2 x European Champion

2013, 2017

Brazilian National Champion


Brazilian National Champion


2 x UAE World Pro Champion


4 x No Gi World Champion


From my research, the first time they met was in 2008 in an event called Capital Challenge.   For the next 7 years they would meet 13 times – 12 of them finals.   Here is their head to head record:

2008 Capital Challenge Final – Cobrinha

2009 World Pro Final – Rafael

2009 Pan Semi-Final – Cobrinha

2009 ADCC Final – Rafael

2010 Brazilian National Final – Rafael

2010 World Final – Rafael

2011 ADCC Final – Rafael

2012 Pan Final – Rafael

2012 World Final – Rafael

2013 Pan Final – Rafael

2013 ADCC Final – Cobrinha

2014 World Final – Rafael

2015 World Final – Rafael

In the end, Rafael was 10-3 over Cobrinha.  Their matches were characterized by tight grinding points or referee decisions because they obviously grew to know each others games very well.  But, one time, Rafael did the unthinkable and snuck in the lone submission of their history in the 2012 Pan final.

Enjoy Rafael vs Cobrinha