Team Members


Carlos Gracie Jr.

7th Degree Red and Black Belt

Master Carlos Gracie Jr. is a man ahead of his time. Son of Grand Carlos Gracie Sr., he has used his unique visionary skills to create two of the worlds largest and most important Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Organizations: the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) and Gracie Barra. As founder and current Chairman of both institutions, he has channeled his entrepreneurship to take our sport to the next level allowing thousands of individuals across the five continents to experience the ‘Gentle Art’ as students, instructors, or competitors.



Vinicius Draculino Magalhaes

4th Degree Black Belt

Professor Vinicius Draculino Magalhaes is the head instructor of Gracie Barra Texas and Gracie Barra - BH Schools (more info about GBBH at With more then 17 years of teaching experience, he is a primary example of a man who is fully dedicating his life to his Children ( JADE and IGOR), his wife ( Monica), Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Gracie Barra and its members. Prof. Draculino‘s personality, enthusiasm, integrity, charisma and leadership make the essence of GB Texas and GBBH and touch all those around him. A great competition background in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Submission Wrestling and MMA qualifies him as one of the best featherweight competitors in BJJ history. He collects many titles such as a 4-time Pan American Champion, 1 time no gi pan american chamion- 2008, 2 Times Brazilian national champion, 2 Times Silver medalist at the world BJJ championships, MMA lightweight champion and Abu-Dhabi veteran. Besides these titles as a competitor, Professor Vinicius is considered one of the best instructors in the BJJ world. Among his students, you will find worlds, Pan Ams, national BJJ champions, more than 78 Black Belts, MMA and Grappling champions. Professor Vinicius is also a Lawyer in Brazil, graduated in the UFRJ (Federal University of Rio De Janeiro), one of the top three Law schools in the country


Ulpiano Malachias

2nd Degree Black Belt

Professor Ulpiano Malachias was born in Belo Horizonte, Brazil in July of 1979 and has been involved in athletics and Martial Arts in particular almost from the beginning. He began training and competing in Judo at the young age of 4 years old and continued for 10 years, reaching green belt rank. At the age of 17 he was introduced to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu by friend Erik Wanderley, now 1st degree black belt, and has been a dedicated practitioner of the sport ever since.

While living in Brazil, Malachias trained with team Gracie Barra under Professor Vinicius “Draculino” Magalhaes, now a 4th degree black belt teaching out of Webster, TX. He won many titles competing in Jiu Jitsu and visited The United States in 2003 for the 2nd time to compete in the Jiu Jitsu Pan American Games as a Brown Belt. After his week-long stay, he decided to try his luck at life in southern California. His first experience teaching Brazilian Jiu Jitsu came at Royce Gracie’s academy, and he was Royce’s training partner for the next 3 years, which proved to be an invaluable experience.

Working several odd jobs, he always managed to make time for his love of Jiu Jitsu. As a brown belt, he trained at Gracie Barra Lake Forest, in Orange County, California, under Professor Marcio Feitosa and Master Carlos Gracie Jr. His years of hard work and dedication to the sport paid off when he received his black belt from Master Carlos Gracie Jr. in 2006, which gave him the opportunity to also teach at the Gracie Barra Headquarters. Coming full circle in his Jiu Jitsu career, in 2007 Malachias opened his own Gracie Barra Academy, in Santa Ana, California, which was the first Gracie Barra Premium School in the United States. He is extremely dedicated to his academy and his students and thrives on giving back to them all the great things that Jiu Jitsu has given him.

Ulpiano works hard every day striving to improve his teaching skills, his students’ Jiu Jitsu knowledge, as well as continuously improving his own knowledge and skill and training and competing as much as possible. Furthermore, he is a certified International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation referee and has served as referee in countless IBJJF tournaments, including some widely watched finals.

He also enjoys training Muai-Thai, Boxing, MMA, and wrestling in his free time. Malachias recently won a King of the Cage MMA Fight in 2009 submitting his opponent just 42 seconds into the first round. He takes pride in spreading the knowledge of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to anyone interested, hoping it will bring them as much happiness and fulfillment in their life as it has for him.

Malachias’ new focus is his move to the Houston area where he will be opening a new Gracie Barra Premium School in the Westchase area, just west of the Galleria.

Babak Nourzad

Youth & Adult Wrestling Head Coach

Freestyle Wrestler Babak Nourzad was born in Tehran, Iran on August of 1978. Babak comes from an athletic family; his mother was a Gymnast and his father was a Boxer. At the age of 12, Babak moved with his family to Ghaemshahr, which is one of the biggest cities in Province Mazandaran.

His father wanted him to make some new friends and stay active, so he decided to enroll him in a wrestling program. It did not take long for Babak’s coaches to note his technical skills and talent. After only 3 months of training, Babak was ranked 2st place in the Youth Wrestlers of Mazandaran. Babak’s coaches believed that with the proper conditioning, he had the potential to be a world champion. Their suspicions were confirmed as Babak joined the National Adult Wrestling Team for Iran at a young age of 15.

Studying very hard, Babak always managed to make time for wrestling. After winning many titles in Wrestling, Babak was invited to represent Iran in the 1996 Teen World Championship held in Moscow, where he won 1st place and also represented Iran in the Adult World Championship, where he placed 2nd. Babak’s years of hard work and dedication to the sport paid off when he was named one of the top two Iranian Freestyle 55 kg weight Wrestler in the world by FILA 2001 list.

The highlight of his career was the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, where Babak represented Iran’s Wrestling Team in the 55kg weight category.

Babak and his wife recently moved to the U.S. to start a new chapter of their life. He wants to share his knowledge and passion for the sport with his students at Gracie Barra Westchase.

A few more of his accomplishments include:

    • 1990 - 2nd place in Youth Wrestlers of Mazandaran, Iran
    • 1991 - 2nd place in Youth International Wrestling Bowl
    • 1994 - 2nd place at Teenagers International Wrestling Bowl in Iran
    • 1994 - Ranked 1st among teenagers International Bowl in athletic races of Iran and was a member of the teenagers national wrestling team
    • 1991 - 1st place in Adult International Bowl in Turkey
    • 1994 - 1st place in Youth Wrestlers of Mazandaran, Iran
    • 1994 - 15 years old - competed in Mazandaran Athletic Races as an adult and won 2 titles which qualified him to go to the Monibd International Bowl in Russia.
    • 1995 - 2nd place in Young Athletic Races
    • 1996 - 1st place in Poland International Bowl as an adult
    • 1996 - 2nd place in Takhti Bowl as an adult
    • 1996 - Nourzad was selected to join Iran’s Youth National Team
    • 1996 - 1st place in Global Youth Athletic Races in Moscow
    • 1996 - Nourzad was ranked 2nd in The Adult National Team of Iran
    • 1996 - 1st place in Nategh Nouri International Bowl
    • 1998 - 1st selected to be in the Youth National Team of Iran
    • 1998 - 1st place in Global Youth Athletic Races in Las Vegas
    • 2001- 1st place in International Races of Italy
    • 2001 - Member of National Wrestling Team of Iran
    • 2001 - 2nd place in Bulgaria Global Athletic Races
    • 2002 - 2nd place in Athletic Races of Canada
    • 2002 - Member of Iran National Wrestling Team and competed in the World Races
    • 2004 - Member of Iran National Wrestling Team and competed in the Olympics in Athens, Greece
    • 2006 - 1st place in Iran Athletic Races
    • 2007 - 1st place in Iran Athletic Races
    • 2007 - 1st place in Miloneh International Races in Italy

Servando Almaraz

Youth & Adult Wrestling Coach / Cardio Kickboxing Instructor / Lead Program Director

Coach Servando's Mixed Martial Arts interest began at a young age, as he has been wrestling since age 9. For the past 4 years he's trained wrestling religiously with Brandon Mullins (GB Webster) and GBW's own Babak Norzad. 

He began working with us at GBW when our MMA program opened in 2012 and has been a valuable and highly dedicated member of our staff ever since. In 2012, he won his debut MMA fight at Cage Combat 11, earning him knockout of the year with a 5 second KO. He trains daily in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as well and is a Brown Belt under Professor Ulpiano Malachias at GB Westchase and has been practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for 7 years total beginning under Professors Ted Stickle (GB Katy) and now at GBW since 2012. 

He also teaches many of our Cardio Kickboxing classes on a weekly basis which our students very much so enjoy and see great results with his class structure. He is very dedicated to our wrestling program and you can find him leading or assistant coaching to Babak Norzad in all of our wrestling classes. 

He is our go-to staff member here at Gracie Barra Westchase and we're very lucky to have him!

Mohammed Magharef

Youth and Adult BJJ Coach

Mohammed Magharef

Growing up in Abu Dhabi next to the beach, you cannot help but leading an active lifestyle. Between school, street soccer, fishing, and swimming, my days were filled with endless activities.

I had my share of problems with other classmates in school just like any foreign kid growing up in a foreign land, but violence was never the answer to my problems. I have always heard that martial arts would help. The first person who lead me to become interested in Mixed Martial Arts was “Anderson Silva” in 2006. By then, I was busy with school work and trying to make a living that I was only able to watch weekend UFC fights from time to time.

Time had passed, and I was still playing soccer for the HFA until I hurt my ankle and had to stay put for a while. In February of 2012 I went to change my tires at discount tire and that was where I saw my first mixed martial arts academy “Gracie Barra Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts” and actually gave it a try. I did not know what to expect walking through the door, met Joaquin Garay, who was a program director, for the first time, this man made me feel welcomed with a big smile on his face asking me to come try the classes. I did not feel it was a fighting club at all, instead, it was a peaceful feeling where I felt I could get better learning what I have always though would be a useful skill. I did not like BJJ as much as Muay Thai until my first tournament, since then, I never imagined a day without being on the mats, simply because, on the mats, I always learn something new… from kids, white belts, all the way to my awesome professors, Inacio Neto, and the General…Professor Ulpiano Malachias.

Since 2012, I have achieved receiving my purple belt training at Gracie Barra Westchase and competed in multiple tournaments since beginning BJJ as a white belt.  I have enjoyed coaching as a volunteer since I began training and now I am proud to be an official coach here at GBW, where you can find me in almost all kids BJJ classes sharing my knowledge and excitement for the sport with our youth team, as well as training and coaching in numerous weekly adults classes as well.  

Coach Robert Strane

Youth BJJ Coach

Robert began his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training in 2001 under Eric Williams here in Houston. After leaving the art for a time to pursue career related studies, Robert returned to training and earned his purple belt under Scott “Bam Bam” Sullivan with whom he also studied muay thai kickboxing. When Vinicius “Draculino” Magalhaes opened his Gracie Barra academy in Webster, TX in 2008, Robert joined his oldest son in classes there and further advanced under Prof. Draculino. Robert is a graduate of the University of Houston and current development director of a local charter school system. He is also a certified Texas elementary and secondary teacher and has worked in public education for over 20 years. Robert is committed to helping children and youth advance both on and off the mat.