Martial Arts Instructors

Instructor Renato Tavares

Renato Tavares 5 Degree BJJ Black Belt

Renato Tavares moved to Rio de Janeiro and started training under Carlson Gracie, receiving his brown and black (in 1995) belts from the BJJ legend. After moving to the US in He  took advantage of the booming MMA scene in the US and started his career in the popular sport, fighting at the World Extreme Fighting 12 in Ohio.

Renato has been instructing students in BJJ and Grappling from a wide variety of backgrounds including FBI Agents, Military, Police Officers and Athletes.

Renato is a professional MMA fighter and is active on the grappling circuit. He has many titles: International Champion, Pan American Champion, and many State Championships. Renato is regarded by many as one of the best BJJ practitioners as well as a professor.

Renato has formed several black belts in the USA but he has not lost his competitive edge, having competed in 16 events in 2009, winning 13 of those. He recently competed in the Worlds and won gold.

Paulie better

Dr. Paulie Gloves Gold Gloves Boxing (Vero Beach & Port St. Lucie)

Beyond his work in education and human services, Paul is a highly successful professional boxing and mixed martial arts coach.  Paulie applies the science of human behavior to coach multiple fighters to championship titles at varying levels worldwide.

Training in MMA since 2002, Dr. Paul “Paulie Gloves” Gavoni continues to be sought out by many fighters as he is widely respected by Florida’s MMA community for his coaching ability. In 1992, Coach Paulie began boxing in South Florida and went on to win the Florida Golden Gloves Title in 1998. In 2001, under the tutelage of renowned boxing Coach Milton Lacroix, Paulie learned how to develop a fighter’s speed and punching power by employing a system that focused on natural body mechanics.

 melissaMelissa Bentley BJJ Black Belt (Vero Beach)

Melissa Bentley started training BJJ in 2010 and has been training and competing for 6 years. She is a multiple World and Pan American champion and has won or placed in many other tournaments. Melissa received her black belt December 2015 and is Renato Tavares’ first female black belt.

Her dedication to jiu jitsu will remain as she is constantly learning to be a better student, instructor and person.


Alessandro Guirado (Port St. Lucie)

He has been an instructor for Legacy since October, 2015.

Alessandro has achieved a black belt 4th degree Dan Hapkido and has been a  trainer for more than 23 years. He also is a 4th degree purple belt in jiu-jitsu and a trainer for over 10 years. He has trained adults and children over 15 years.

He has won several regional championships in Sao Paulo, Brazil:  the first ranking circuit jujitsu Interior in 2015 as a light purple Master and third in the world light purple senior CBJJE, 2015.

Alessandro chose teaching because he has always practiced martial arts in his life.  It  is part of who he is.

zach sanford

Zach Sanford (Sebastian)

Zach has been wrestling for over 14 years, and it all started in Indian River County Florida.

He then went to the University of Central Florida where he walked on and fought his way to a starting position at 174lbs as a freshman. That year, along with teammates current UFC Fighter Tom Lawlor and world class grappler Jason Patino, UCF won the NCWA National Championship as a team.

Zach has coached the youth wrestling classes at ATT Vero and enjoys competing in MMA and grappling events.

In 2014, at the invitation of Joel Garcia, Zach moved to Brazil to bring high level wrestling to his city of Sao Jose do Rio Preto. There he competed in professional MMA, training at Joel’s academy Brasil Fight. He holds a 2-1 professional record and a 4-1 amateur record. Zach moved back to Florida in 2016 and is excited about being the leader at Legacy Sebastian!!