“Finally, an academy and an instructor that make you feel welcome. A true home away from home. The perfect place to accomplish your goals both on and off the mats.”
Owner/ Head Instructor
Born in Fortaleza, Ceará, Brazil, Diego began Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at 12 years old. By 20, he had moved to the United States to compete and teach. He received his black belt in January 2002 from Guilherme Santos. Jiu Jitsu is a family affair in the Saraiva household. His wife, Fernanda, is a purple belt. Their 16 year old daughter, Milena Costa, are Brazilian Jiu Jitsu blue belts.
With over 30 black belt medals in the most prestigious events (IBJJF), Diego is one of the most decorated BJJ athletes in Atlanta. He is also a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) OG with over 40 fights including the biggest events in the sport: the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Bellator, World Extreme Fighting (WEF), International Sports Combat Federation (ISCF), Palace Fighting Championships (PCF), and American Fight League (AFL). He held titles in the AFL, PFC (2 weight classes), and the WEF.
Off the mats, Diego is known for his always smiling, happy, friendly, and upbeat demeanor.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
IBJJF black belt medals
- World Championship – Silver medalist
- 8-time Pan American Championship medalist
- 7-time Atlanta Open Champion
- American Nationals Champion
- European NoGi Champion
- Multiple-time IBJJF Open Champion (Miami, Cincinnati, Nashville, Washington DC, Lisbon, & Rome)
Born in Muncie, Indiana, DJ started wrestling at 5 and continued until the age of 21. He earned his black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu from Steve Headden in 2011 and his second degree from Diego Saraiva in 2018. DJ also holds a black belt in American Karate, a brown belt in Judo, and he has extensive training in tactical defense with edged weapons and stick/baton.
DJ had 7 mixed martial arts fights after the age of 42 showing that age is just a number. His passion for the jiu jitsu lifestyle and helping others find joy in the sport are contagious. Off the mats, he likes spending time wake surfing behind his boat.
Kids Program Instructor
Fernanda is a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, avid competitor, and an instructor in our Kids Program. She is also the wife of head instructor, Diego Saraiva.
Born in Brasilia, Brazil, she moved to Atlanta in 2004. She started BJJ in 2003 but didn’t practice consistently until 2017. Since then, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has been a huge part of her life. Whenever she isn’t at the gym teaching and training, she is traveling the world competing or working at tournaments with Diego and their daughter.
- Europeans – Silver medalist (2020)
- Master International – South America: Silver (2019); Gold (2018)
- Atlanta Open – Gold (2019)
- Houston Open – Bronze (2019)
- American Nationals – Gold (2006)
Mark San Pedro
Kids Program Instructor
Born in Mississauga, Ontario Canada, he moved to the city of Gainesville, GA at a young age. Starting in middle school he picked up athletics and hasn’t stopped since. In high school he found a drive to want to teach. Almost becoming a History teacher, instead decided to bring his teaching skills to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Now he has been a Georgia area Kids instructor in places ranging from North Georgia down to Metro Atlanta for the past 8 years.
He is currently a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under NU ATL’s main instructor Diego Saraiva, and has been training in BJJ since 2012. Also under his experience he has knowledge in both Boxing and Muay Thai as well. Always smiling, he almost always seems to bring an upbeat attitude to his teaching style as well as his grappling game.
In his free time, he is an avid geek/fan. With hobbies ranging from Star Wars, to video games, to ATL sports, even Dungeons and Dragons. He is always researching with his nose in the books.
We are located in Norcross near the intersection of I85 and Jimmy Carter Blvd at 6290 McDonough Dr NW, Suite H, Norcross, GA 30093.
- 2,500 Sq Ft
- New Zebra Mats
- Men & Women’s changing rooms
- Lounge/ Seating Area
- Free Wifi
In addition to our Headquarters in Norcross, we have 2 other affiliated academies in the Atlanta-metro area:
Nova Uniao – Roswell
Owner: Jason Scohier
Impact Martial Arts / Nova Uniao – Alpharetta
Owner: Brian Brown
9945 Jones Bridge Road, Suites 108-109
Johns Creek, GA 30022
Diego has represented Team Nova União for over 20 years, and our academy is the Atlanta affiliate – Nova União Atlanta. Nova União has an enduring history in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts. As one of the most accomplished MMA teams in the world, it is the team of Jose Aldo, Renan Barão, Tales Leites, and Wagnney Fabiano. Its Brazilian Jiu Jitsu history includes some of the most famous athletes in history: Vitor Shaolin, Robson Moura, Shaolin, Leo Santos, Bruno Bastos, and Marcio Andre.
In addition to its athletic successes, Nova União is famous for charitable contributions – especially by providing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in impoverished communities. It is known for its friendly, familial atmosphere that prioritizes highly technical jiu jitsu instruction in a fun & encouraging setting.
Athletes in UFC, Bellator, or other big events
BJJ World Champions
Voted the world’s best MMA coach in 2010, André is co-founder of Nova União. He has been the instructor and coach of some of the most notable names in MMA including John Lewis, Jose Aldo, Renan Barao, and many others.
Wendell co-founded Nova União along with André and has promoted some of the biggest names in jiu jitsu, including Leonardo Santos, Bruno Bastos, and many others.
President & Athlete
Leo is a current lightweight contender in the UFC as well as the winner of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil. He is also an ADCC bronze medalist, 2-time IBJJF World Championship black belt medalist, and a 4-time World Cup Champion.
Athlete/ Former UFC Champion
Known for his well rounded and dynamic fighting style, José has won 4 Fight of the Night and 2 Performance of the Night awards in the UFC. He also holds the record for the most consecutive title defenses in UFC featherweight history (7 consecutive title defenses).
Vitor "Shaolin" Ribeiro
Vitor Shaolin is an iconic lightweight competitor in the sport who made a name for himself in both the jiu jitsu areana and MMA. He is a 3-time black belt World Champion (plus 1 time runner up), Brazilian Nationals Champion, and ADCC bronze medalist.
One of the greatest light featherweight competitors in history, Robson Moura is a 5 time Black Belt World Championship (IBJJF) and also a CBJJO World Cup Champion.
One of the most prominent jiu jitsu athletes currently competing. A constant featherweight contender, he holds black belt titles at the European and World No Gi Championships. He is also a black belt Worlds and Pan Championship medalist.
Wagnney is a mixed martial artist who was the International Fight League (IFL) Champion and World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) competitor. He is also president of Nova União Canada.
Athlete/ UFC Competitor
With 36 professional mixed martial arts fights including 20 in the UFC, Thales was an elite MMA fighter for over a decade.
Bruno is a highly decorated black belt under Wendell Alexander that include championships from juvenile, adult, and now masters competitions. He is an IBJJF Adult No-Gi World Champion and Masters World Champion.