GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Koritnik Graves graduated from Gulfport High School in 1990 where he played football and earned a scholarship to the University of Houston as a defensive back.
Since his football days ended, Graves says he put on some pounds and recently decided to do something about it.
In October, he began training with Bernardo Pitel, learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He says the results at Rhodes Fitness have been amazing.
He said,"I'm in a whole lot better shape. After gaining weight over the yeas, got in here. I've lost 44 pounds." He added,"All the work done in here. This man is an amazing instructor. Everyone in here knows a lot because of him."
Graves used his training under Pitel to capture the Silver Medal in June at the 2014 International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu World Championships in California.
Twenty years ago, Pitel moved to South Mississippi from his native country of Brazil.
Pitel said,"When I was 17-18 years old, I was living here in Gulfport. I was an exchange student and when I was here I was watching NFC 1,2 and 3 and that was the beginning of the UFC and then I say I want to learn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu."
Pitel relocated back home in Brazil and took up Jiu Jitsu. He quickly moved up the ranks and is a four-time World Champion.
"After that I got addicted, "stated Pitel. "I was practicing a lot and I got all my belts, the Blue, Purple, Brown and Black from the same instructor Joao Roque."
Graves says Pitel is special, "You can tell his heart is big, very good heart. I challenge anyone to say anything bad about him."
In a few months Pitel will be taking aim on securing his fourth stripe in the Black Belt.