How Alan “Finfou” Nascimento Went From The Favela To Achieving His Jiu-Jitsu Dreams

You don’t have to search long in jiu-jitsu to find someone who has overcome incredible odds to achieve great things on (and off!) the mats. Still, the story of Alan “Finfou” Nascimento is particularly inspiring.

Finfou, a BJJ black belt and Euros champion, was born in Rio de Janeiro, though he now lives in Sweden and trains under the Checkmat affiliation. Before he found jiu-jitsu, though, his life could have taken a very different turn. Finfou grew up in the favelas of Brazil, surrounded by crime and violence, which claimed the lives of his two brothers. Thankfully, though, Finfou set out on a different path after a chance encounter with jiu-jitsu pioneer Fernando “Terere” Augusto. Terere convinced Finfou to try jiu-jitsu through a social project designed to help kids get off the streets, and thus began a lifelong passion for the future champion.

Finfou moved up the ranks over the years, eventually relocating to Sweden. He earned his black belt in 2007 after a number of huge accomplishments throughout his colored belt years (including world championship titles at both purple and brown belt), and all seemed to be going well for him until a devastating injury at the 2014 IBJJF Worlds.

Finfou was up against Otavio Sousa in the semifinals of the elite competition, and in a freak accident, an omoplata sweep from Sousa left Finfou with a spinal injury that put him in the hospital and nearly paralyzed him. Still, he managed to recover enough after a few months to resume training and went on to win No-Gi Worlds in the Master 1 category in 2016.

Now with his own team and an impressive legacy that keeps on growing, Finfou has a story that is driven by determination, heart, and perseverance. In fact, the Jiu-Jitsu Times has teamed up with Sweep Productions for a film that explores the life, challenges, and triumphs of this accomplished athlete.

Check out the pilot for the film below, and keep an eye out for when it’s published in its entirety soon!


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