Best-known internationally for it’s strong MMA team, including UFC champions such as Jose Aldo and Renan Barao, Nova Uniao is a powerhouse of jiu-jitsu in Rio de Janeiro.
Located in the district of Flamengo, around a 10-minute subway ride north of Copacabana, the Nova Uniao team train on the top floor of the huge fitness gym ‘Academia Upper’. This amazing facility has everything you would expect from a modern gym, including weights and fitness machines, a swimming pool, pilates studios, and a full rehabilitation center with therapists on hand to get athletes back into fighting shape.
The head coach at Nova Uniao is Andre Pederneiras, a Carlson Gracie black belt, and one of the top MMA trainers in the world. ‘Dede’ as he is known, can be found teaching when he’s not travelling to corner his many fighters.
Nova Uniao boasts a strong squad of jiu-jitsu fighters and is one of the more active teams in Rio de Janeiro and beyond. Dede himself has promoted over 300 black belts, with students heading up affiliated NU gyms across the world.
The BJJ training at Nova Uniao attracts around 40-50 people per night, though there are multiple classes throughout the day from the early morning and through the afternoon. There are also dedicated kids and women-only classes. There are also many Muay Thai classes on the schedule.
The MMA training at Nova Uniao is not open to visitors, and is only available to those with a personal invitation or direct recommendation. The large professional fight team train daily in Muay Thai, wrestling and MMA and it is not uncommon to see many top fighters from the UFC, Bellator and other promotions on the mat.
Training fees at Nova Uniao are among the most economical in the city and also allow access to the fitness center, making Academia Upper one of the cheapest gyms to train at in Rio de Janeiro.
Located less than one block from the Flamengo subway station, foreigners are welcome to train at the gym and they always receive many visitors from various countries. Be advised that anyone planning a stay of more than a few weeks will need medical clearance from a doctor to sign up to the gym (standard policy in Brazil).
For more information go to www.AcademiaUpper.com.br