Our Instructors

Jose (Ze) Dias

Owner of Rio Pro BJJ

Jose (Ze) Dias is a 1st degree Black Belt under Master Carlos Gracie Jr., from the world famous Gracie Barra. He started to train when he was 14 years old and hasn’t stopped since.

Ze’s passion for BJJ turned him into a profound scholar of the game and his attention to detail is constantly present in his teaching. As a professor, he taught at the number one school in the world, Gracie Barra Rio de Janeiro. Ze has also taught at the Gracie Barra America and Ralph Gracie San Francisco academies.

Ze is also an active competitor, having achieved the titles of Brazilian National Champion, Rio State Champion, OTM Champion, and 2nd at the US National Championship. Ze received his degree in business administration at P.U.C.

Ante Dzolic

Head Instructor Beachwood

Professor  Ante Dzolic has been studying the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu since 2000, although his martial arts journey started nearly 25 years ago. During that time, he studied Chinese, Indonesian, Korean, Filipino and French martial arts. He has been an accomplished martial artist, reaching the level of black belt in Kun Tao and level one instructor in Jeet Kune Do.

For several years, Instructor Ante worked as a local police officer and as a role model for discipline and integrity. Professor Ante is currently a full time Professor at Rio Pro and holds the rank of one stripe Black Belt under Professor Jose Dias

Connect with Ante on Facebook HERE

Stephen McAuliffe

Head Instructor Fairview Park

Professor Steve Mcauliffe started training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in 2005. His journey with martial arts, like many others, didn’t begin with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He started out with Karate, Boxing, and Muay Thai. Although these arts were all effective, he was always aware of the hype that was surrounding Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. After being shown by a 123lb brown belt how effective it could be as self defense, he was hooked. As a devoted student of the art, Instructor Steve currently holds the rank of one stripe Black Belt. Stephen is a father of four girls who all train and a son who will soon be joining them on the mats.

 Connect with Steve on Facebook HERE

Gabriella McAuliffe

Kids/Women’s Instructor

Hello! My name is Gabriella McAuliffe and I started my jiu-jitsu career 8 years ago. I currently hold the rank of purple belt and I am an active competitor as well as Rio Pro’s kids and women’s instructor. I started training in the kid’s class when I was younger to stay in shape and learn self-defense. As I became older I fell in love with the sport of Jiu-Jitsu and ultimately chose the sport over others in high school because nothing else satisfied my competitive nature than Jiu-Jitsu. I have been competing for many years and have recently been involved in two professional Jiu-jitsu matches, as well as taking two golds in the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF). I have been teaching the kids class for four years and I love the fact that I trained in the kids class and now I’m the one teaching the kids. Teaching and helping others achieve their goals is something I am very passionate about. I recently just started a women’s only class because I feel that with Jiu-jitsu being a male dominated sport many woman do not train. I think it is important for women to be comfortable and be able to train without being intimidated. Women’s BJJ has grown tremendously over the years and it only continues to do so.


Hear from our members!


Spencer Fisher

UFC Fighter

I have trained at Rio Pro as a supplement to my MMA training. They have top notch instruction and the intense training I need as a UFC fighter. If you are in the Cleveland area, I definitely recommend stopping by and checking them out.

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Father of a Student

Rio Pro BJJ is a diamond in the rough in the stacked wrestling state of Ohio. My son has been training at Rio Pro BJJ since its opening. He already had two years under his belt before he met our new family. Over the last two years, they have taken my son Thomas’ grappling game to a whole new level, working with top fight instructors straight from the motherland of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Rio de Janerio, Brazil. After winning many state tournaments and the Grappler’s Quest U.S. Nationals, I can’t believe his game is still improving. It seems we’ve only scratched the surface in squeezing knowledge out of his Professor. They bring a steady supply of black belts in from World Renowned schools, such as Grace Barra in Rio de Janerio, as well as professional MMA fighters to make sure your game is evolving. These instructors also compete themselves, which help motive the students that they are not only teachers, but students of the game also. There is no other place we would rather be. Hands down the best BJJ/submission grappling school Ohio has to offer.

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Rio Pro Member

Not long ago I was convinced that my martial arts training had come to an end. Various knee, shoulder and elbow injuries while training for my second degree black belt in Hapkido, together with my age (58), had taken their toll. It didn’t take long for de-conditioning and unwanted weight to become a problem. Fortunately, Rio Pro BJJ came to my rescue with a newly opened Westlake location. While providing an incredible cardio workout, I found that Ju Jitsu is easier on the body, and offers less risk of injury than most other martial art forms. The camaraderie and high level of instruction provided by Prof. Ricardo and Prof. Ze has made the transition all the more enjoyable. Except for the unavoidable work related travel and necessary vacations, Rio Pro BJJ has become an important part of my stress relief and weekly routine. I only wish I had found them sooner. I can unequivocally attest that Rio Pro BJJ offers the highest quality Brazilian Ju Jitsu training available for athletes of all abilities and ages.

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Rachel Vovos

Rio Pro Member

My son and husband have been training at the Rocky River location for almost two years. We have the most knowledgeable and supportive instructors. Every individual who trains there seems to truly care about helping each other reach their potential.

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Marla Farkas-Newman

Rio Pro Member

My girls have been coming for almost 5 years, their progress has been amazing, seeing them go from scared kids to confident kids has been a real joy

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Tobiaus Taylor

Rio Pro Member

when i first started at Rio Pro my jiu jitsu sucked. Now my jiu jitsu doesn't suck anymore lol enough said...great instructors, fun rewarding atmosphere and all around good experience. wouldn't want to train in jiu jitsu anywhere else. i Definitely recommend this place for Everyone..

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John Sullivan

Rio Pro Member

Could not have found a better place to learn a great art, a great sport.....a really solid community of folks from all walks of life, all ages, male, female, old, young,.....and no one is where they don't belong. If one is going to make working out a part of life, this is THE way to go!

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Thompson John

Rio Pro Member

I've been training in BJJ for ten years and have trained at numerous gyms over that time. All the gyms were great gyms but Rio Pro is up there with the best of them. They are very new person friendly and maintain an environment where older guys don't have to worry about meatheads. The instruction follows modern adult learning principles where each technique builds off the previous one over a period of time so that a chain of techniques can be learned and implemented n the mats quickly. My favorite part of Rio Pro is that the white belt curriculum is self defense which is the foundation of BJJ.

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