Cleber “Clandestino” Sousa was born into humble beginnings in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 1996. From an early age, he worked to help support his struggling family by selling food and objects on the streets.
Sousa found Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at the age of 13 when he was offered the opportunity to train at Almeida Jiu-Jitsu free of charge, due to his family’s economic situation. “Clandestino” immediately took to BJJ, quickly throwing all of his energy into the martial art.
Just three years later, Sousa had his first taste of high-level competition success when he won the juvenile Brazilian Nationals as a blue belt in 2012. From then on, the Sao Paulo native piled up accomplishments throughout the colored belts as he competed in both Brazil and the United States. In 2016, Sousa won an IBJJF World Championship in the brown belt category, and he was awarded his black belt shortly thereafter.
Sousa didn’t wait to throw himself into the deep waters of the black belt competition scene. In his rookie year, “Clandestino” medaled at the IBJJF Pan American Championship, the South American Championship, and the Brazilian Nationals. Sousa’s greatest achievement came in 2019 when he captured gold at the IBJJF Pan American Championships, solidifying himself as a truly elite competitor.
Sousa is a technical, methodical grappler with skills from both his back and top position. And while he typically starts his matches by pulling guard, “Clandestino” tends to do his best work when passing the guard. Using heavy pressure and control of his opponent’s hips, the Brazilian’s guard passing will often create openings to take the back – his preferred position to control and submit.
In 2022, ONE Championship signed Sousa to a contract to compete in its submission grappling division. He makes his debut against longtime rival Mikey Musumeci for the inaugural ONE Flyweight Submission Grappling World Championship at ONE on Prime Video 2 on 30 September. The pair went 1-1 against each other in 2017, so this marks the rubber match.