In 1997 Wendell Alexander was running his successful Nova Uniao school at Mello Tennis Clube. He had over 100 students. But he wanted to expand and open another location in Campos, which is about 175 miles from Rio de Janeiro city. It was at this time that he asked Marcelo, then only a brown belt, to take his place as head instructor.
Being that Marcelo had not yet received his black belt, it was an unusual decision, but one that reflects his confidence in the teaching skills of his student.
For the next nine years, Marcelo was the head instructor at Nova Uniao, Mello Tennis Clube. During that time, in addition to competing at the highest levels and earning his black belt and world championship, he was teacher to several well known Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighters, such as:
Marcelo Pereira's personal accomplishments include:
Marcelo first visited Florida in Febrary of 2002, to present a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu seminar given in Naples, Florida. The seminar had a large turnout, which surprised Marcelo, and piqued his interest in the area. In 2004 and 2005 Marcela was back in the area, this time to give instructional seminar to the Fort Myers and Naples police departments.
In 2006 Marcelo returned, this time with his then fiancee, Alini. He brought her in order to see if she might want to move here. She agreed, and they made plans to apply for residency papers and made the move.
In 2007 Marcelo taught BJJ in a local mixed martial arts school. In 2010, he founded Team Marcelo Pereira.
Marcelo Pereira brings to his own team many of the same principles that his teachers handed down to him and helped make Nova Uniao one of the most successful teams in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and mixed martial arts. One of the things that is important to him is preserving the traditions of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu:
"I want to keep the traditional martial arts spirit alive in my gym. My gym will never be just a business. I don't want to lose sight of the self-defense aspect. The sport of Jiu-Jitsu is beautiful, and there's nothing wrong with competition, but we cannot lose sight of the real martial art. We cannot lose that."
Having said that, in a very short period Marcelo Pereira has managed to develop three American students into world champions: