Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Instructor
4th Degree BJJ Black Belt

Fernando Sarmento began his training in 1987 in Salvador Bahia, Brazil. In 1990, he moved to Rio where he trained in many Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and Judo schools. In 1997, Fernando came to the United States and taught at the Machado academy under the tutelage of Rigan Machado. He was awarded his Brown Belt in 1998 from Nilton Ferreira and his Black Belt in November of 2001. Nilton Ferreira's Academy is located in Salvador, Brazil.  Fernando is both a Brazilian State and National Champion.  Fernando also won the 2005 NAGA Instructor of the Year award.  Professor Sarmento continues to pass on his knowledge every Wednesday at Stafford MMA. Don't miss out on his class!

    Meet Our Instructors

fernando cabeca liam kerrigan bjj stafford mma
stafford mma manahawkin martial arts

Co-Owner & Instructor
1st Degree BJJ Black Belt

Melissa began her training in September of 2001 at her parents school, Fatjo's Mixed Martial Arts in Morganvile, NJ.  In 2005, Melissa starting assisting with children's classes.  In September of 2007, Melissa received her Blue belt in BJJ under Professor Fernando Sarmento Jr.   Melissa has competed in many grappling tournaments on the east coast from the time she began training in 2001. In July of 2016, Melissa placed 2nd in her light feather weight Purple belt  division at the IBJJF NY International Open. In December of 2016, Melissa attended the teams annual BJJ training camp at Nilton Ferreira's school in Salvador, Brasil.  In 2022, Melissa was promoted her 1st Degree Stripe on her Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt from Professor Fernando Sarmento JR. 

Owner & Chief Instructor
 BJJ 3rd Degree Black Belt under Fernando Sarmento Jr.
 ​Senior Full Instructor under the International Martial Arts & Boxing Academy (IMB)

​ Liam Kerrigan began his training at Tong Dragon MMA in Bayville in 1995. His training began with and continues to be in submission grappling,    Muay Thai Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and Doce Pares Escrima.   In 1999 is when he began competing in submission grappling tournaments throughout the Northeast.  Liam has never stopped competing since. He has competed countless times in all of the events for the North American Grappling Association (NAGA), Grapplers Quest, and any other tournament he can get too. In 2003 Liam competed in the First Annual No Gi Pan Am Tournament in California. He placed first and became a Pan Am Champion at age 14! Liam began to train with BJJ instructor Fernando "Cabeça" Sarmento Jr. in 2002 when Fernando came to Tong Dragon.  In April of 2005 Liam traveled back out to California to compete in the 2005 BJJ Pan American Games. He won the Gold for his dvision at age 16!  In 2007 Liam began his amateur fighting career. He ended his amateur career where he finished at 5-1-1 in amateur MMA, 1-1 amateur boxing, and 2-0 amateur Muay Thai. He also has won 2 Amateur MMA 159lb Championship titles. Liam received his purple belt in September of 2007 from Professor Sarmento. Liam has also traveled to Brasil with the academy to train in our Annual Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Summer Camp at Nilton Ferreira's Gracie Baha Academy in Salvador, Bahia.  In September 2009 Mr. Kerrigan went Pro for MMA in Lou Neglia's Ring of Combat. He currently holds a  pro MMA record of 3-2-1.  Mr. Kerrigan has changed his role playing from being the fighter to a referee.  Mr. Kerrigan is a Referee for the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board.  In 2010 he received his brown belt in BJJ in Professor Nilton Ferrierra's Academy in Salvador, Brasil from Professor Sarmento.  2 years later, Liam opened Stafford Mixed Martial Arts! On October 18, 2014, Liam was promoted to a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt under Professor Fernando Sarmento Jr.