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Instructors

Professor Rafael Quinones
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Professor Quinones wrestled in high school and has two years boxing experience. He has a 1-1 pro MMA record. In 2011, after many years of training, he was promoted to the rank of black belt. Coach Rafael has won numerous grappling competitions on his journey to black belt. Currently, as a member of the Soul Fighters team under Rafael “Formiga” Barbosa, Professor Quinones is focused on creating the next group of elite grapplers to come out of the Hartford region. Rafael’s BJJ style is aggressive but his teaching style is very laid back and friendly. He is certainly amongst the elite of Connecticut’s BJJ instructors.

Sifu Russell Leak
Striking

The owner of Underdog BJJ, Sifu Russell Leak began training Jeet Kune Do under Master Instructor Chris Smith in 2003. In the years that followed Russell honed his striking, grappling and weapons technique earning his blue belt in 2007 and the rank of Full Instructor under Sifu Smith and Grand Master Richard Bustillo of the International Martial Arts and Boxing Academy (IMB) in Torrance, Ca. As the head MMA coach for the fighters at the academy, Russell has coached many of the top local amateur and pro fighters in Hartford since the academy began.

Coach Josh Kaplan
Wrestling

Josh began training at UBJJ in the August of 2009. He is a purple belt in BJJ and a Level One CrossFit coach. He brings a wealth of wrestling experience to our academy. Josh has been involved in the sport of wrestling for over 12 years, wrestling all four years at Canton High School in Connecticut, and then at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. Josh is also the head wrestling coach at Canton High School. He enjoys coaching and helping the development of new students. Josh’s folkstyle wrestling class is a great workout and it is educational at the same time; the perfect complement to our striking and BJJ classes. Josh is 1-0 as an amateur MMA fighter.

Coach Emil Jeff Haddad
Wrestling

Coach Jeff Haddad began training MMA in 2010 and joined UBJJ as both a student and instructor in 2014. Prior to joining our academy, he won the Reality Fighting Bantamweight title at 135lbs. Coach Jeff has been wrestling for 14 years and is a former Connecticut State Champion at the high school level. He continued to compete in college at American International College as a team captain for 3 of his 4 years, and holds the school record for most consecutive wins at AIC with 28 wins in a row. Currently, he is the assistant coach at Bristol Eastern High School. His passion for wrestling and combat sports is a perfect fit for our academy as we seek to provide the highest level of skill, understanding, and passion that we can. Currently he is an active professional MMA fighter with a 4-0 record.

Coach Johnny Lopez
Kids BJJ

Johnny Lopez began training at our academy in 2012 and quickly established himself as one of the top 135lbs fighters in the area. Coach Johnny is everything you want in an instructor, he is friendly and commanding at the same time, the kids really enjoy their time in his class. Currently, Coach Johnny is an active MMA fighter with a 4-3 record and a blue belt in BJJ.