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Paulo Filho Bio

Paulo Fernando de Souza Leite Filho, better known as simply Paulo Filho (Portuguese pronunciation:[ˈpawlu ˈfiʎu]; born May 24, 1978), is a Brazilian mixed martial artist currently competing in the Middleweight division. Filho was the last WEC Middleweight Champion, and has also competed in PRIDE, DREAM, Pancrase, DEEP, Impact FC, and the World Series of Fighting.


  • 1 Background
  • 2 Mixed martial arts career
    • 2.1 PRIDE Fighting Championships
    • 2.2 World Extreme Cagefighting
    • 2.3 DREAM
    • 2.4 Bitetti Combat
    • 2.5 Bellator Fighting Championships
    • 2.6 Future
    • 2.7 Retirement
    • 2.8 Back from retirement
    • 2.9 Car Accident
  • 3 Championships and accomplishments
    • 3.1 Mixed martial arts
    • 3.2 Submission grappling
  • 4 Mixed martial arts record
  • 5 Submission grappling record
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links


Filho was born in Governador Island, in Rio de Janeiro, and raised in Cocota until he and his family moved to Zona Sul when Filho was eight years old. It was soon after moving to Zona Sul when Filho began training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu at a Carlson Gracie-affiliated academy, and then also began training in judo, and later mixed martial arts.

Mixed martial arts career

PRIDE Fighting Championships

During his stint in PRIDE, Filho was the only undefeated entrant in the 2006 PRIDE Welterweight Grand Prix, but he did not win the tournament as an injury kept him from the tournament finals. In the semi-finals of the tournament on PRIDE Bushido 13, November 5, 2006, Filho defeated Kazuo Misaki by armbar. Unfortunately, Filho suffered a ruptured membrane in his knee during the fight, forcing him to withdraw from the Grand Prix finals match against Denis Kang, who also suffered injury with a torn biceps in the semi-finals. Filho was replaced by Misaki, who went on to defeat an already injured Kang and claim the Grand Prix title. Filho's most notable wins include Kazuo Misaki, Amar Suloev and Yuki Kondo, as well as Murilo Rua and Ikuhisa Minowa.

World Extreme Cagefighting

He signed with the World Extreme Cagefighting and fought for the vacant middleweight title on August 5, 2007, at WEC 29. Filho defeated Canadian jiu-jitsu fighter Joe Doerksen via TKO (strikes) at 4:07 of the first round. His first title defense occurred at WEC 31, where he was awarded a controversial win over 2-time National Wrestling Champion Chael Sonnen by armbar at 4:55 in the second round. Due to controversy stemming from the fight stoppage (Sonnen's screams of pain were taken as a verbal submission by the referee, despite his objections), Filho was scheduled to face Sonnen again at WEC 33. However, Filho pulled out of this bout because he had checked into a substance abuse rehab facility. Filho faced Sonnen at WEC 36 on November 5 live on Versus. Filho missed weight for this match, however the contest went ahead as a non-title three round fight. Sonnen dominated the fight and took a unanimous decision victory. Throughout the fight Filho seemed disturbed, disoriented, and confused. After the WEC's middleweight division was absorbed into the Ultimate Fighting Championship in December 2008, Filho was not brought over to the UFC and became a free agent.


Filho made his DREAM debut on July 20, 2009, when he took on light heavyweight Melvin Manhoef at Dream 10 in Saitama, Japan. Filho showed great perseverance and a good chin in the fight, weathering an onslaught of strikes from the dangerous Manhoef before executing a powerful takedown that immediately put him in half guard, from which he then swiftly transitioned into a full mount whilst at the same time trapping Melvin's left arm; he quickly secured an armbar to win the bout in the first round.

Filho was scheduled to face Yoon Dong-Sik on October 25, 2009, at Dream 12, but failed to show up and was replaced on the card.

Bitetti Combat

Filho made his debut in one of Brazil's top promotions, Bitetti Combat, on September 12, 2009, at Bitetti Combat's 4th event against Argentinian Alex Schoenauer. Filho controlled throughout the whole fight and pulled off a unanimous decision. He then fought Tatsuhiko Nishizaka on December 12, 2009, at Bitetti Combat 5. He easily took the fight to the ground, controlled and secured a Kimura in the very first round.

He was scheduled to fight Yuki Sasaki in the main event at Bitetti Combat 6 on February 25, 2010, but it was announced on February 22 that he had withdrawn from the bout due to "personal problems". Later that day, it was confirmed that Filho would in fact be fighting Sasaki. Filho then failed to show for the event's weigh-in, forcing a last minute cancellation of his bout with Sasaki.

Bellator Fighting Championships

Filho was scheduled to face Bellator Fighting Championships Middleweight champion Hector Lombard in a non-title bout on May 13, 2010, at Bellator 18, but Filho pulled out of the bout due to alleged visa issues and was replaced by Jay Silva.


Filho made his heavyweight debut and defeated Chilean newcomer Daniel Villegas on June 4, 2010, via first-round submission due to strikes. Filho faced Denis Kang on July 17, 2010, for the Australian-based promotion Impact Fighting Championships. They fought to a draw. In what came as a surprise decision to many, Filho was invited to participate in the ADCC submission grappling championship in Nottingham, England. Filho withdrew prior to the event due to injury. Paulo fought Satoshi Ishii on September 14, 2011. The bout was ruled a draw.


On October 19, 2011 Filho made the announcement he would be retiring from Mixed Martial Arts and may or may not fight at KSW. During an interview Filho stated the reason for his retirement was his long struggle with substance abuse, he regretted that he was so far from where he could have been in MMA.

Back from retirement

Filho returned from retirement to face former UFC fighter Dave Branch in the World Series of Fighting 2 event on March 23, 2013. Filho was dominated by Branch in every aspect of the fight and lost a unanimous decision. Filho fought Andre Muniz at the Bitetti Combat 19 event on February 6, 2014. He again lost via a one sided unanimous decision.

Following Melvin Manhoef's knockout of Evangelista Santos at Gringo Superfight 10, Filho, who won their first outing by submission, entered the cage and challenged Manhoef to a rematch. Though Manhoef wasn't asked about the possible fight before the challenge, he later accepted, and GSF promoter Antonio Tolentino announced the rematch would take place in November 2014.

Filho was expected to face Amilcar Alves at Fatality Arena 7 on September 21, 2014. However, Filho was pulled from the bout due to an apparent seizure. In an interview with, Filho stated that it was personal issues that prevented him from competing.

Car Accident

Filho fractured his acetabulum and left hand following a car accident where he crashed into another car. He is expected to need surgery and make a good recovery.

Championships and accomplishments

CBJJ World Championships

1999 Black Belt Pesado: 2nd Place

1998 Brown Belt Pesado: 2nd Place

1997 Purple Belt Pesado: 1st Place

CBJJ Brazilian Championships

2000 Black Belt Pesado: 2nd Place

1999 Black Belt Pesado: 2nd Place

1998 Brown Belt Pesado: 1st Place

1996 Blue Belt Pesadíssimo: 1st Place

He got his black belt in Judo in '96 from Clube de Regatas Flamengo. His black belt in BJJ was awarded in 1998, from Carlson Gracie.

Mixed martial arts

  • PRIDE Fighting Championships
    • 2006 PRIDE Welterweight Grand Prix Finalist
  • World Extreme Cagefighting
    • WEC Middleweight Championship (One time, Last)
    • One successful title defense

Submission grappling

  • Abu Dhabi Combat Club
    • 2005 ADCC Brazilian Trials Champion

Mixed martial arts record

Submission grappling record

External links

  • Professional MMA record for Paulo Filho from Sherdog Edit this at Wikidata
  • Bio

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