Women to look out for at 2015 Worlds

Posted by Bret Gold on

Women to look out for at the 2015 World IBJJF Championships

A lot of emphasis is always put on who the favorite male competitors will be at any big tournament. We'd like to shift gears and talk about some of the women to look out for in this years Mundials. 

These are in no particular order, just as they come to mind as I write.

Mackenzie Dern

Mackenzie is looking for her first World Championship as a Black Belt. Coming off of a win over Gabi Garcia in the 2015 World Pro Absolute Semi-finals, she's likely to be ready to face anyone put in her path. 

Mackenzie Dern is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt and one of the top female grapplers of her generation, being also the daughter of another famous BJJ personality, the legendary “Megaton”. Mackenzie Dern started competing in the adult divisions of Jiu Jitsu tournaments at the age of 14, winning the respect of most BJJ enthusiasts by winning several important trophies as a teenager. Her grappling tuition has been closely followed by her father, and also by Royler Gracie, Letícia Ribeiro and Mackenzie Dern’s fiance, Augusto Mendes.

Full Name: Mackenzie Lynne Dern

Nickname: N/A

Lineage: Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie > Helio Gracie >Royler Gracie > Wellington Dias > Mackenzie Dern

Main Achievements:

  • World Champion (2012 brown weight & absolute, 2011 purple, 2010, 2009 & 2008 blue)
  • World No Gi Champion (2012 brown, 2011 weight & absolute, 2010 & 2009 blue/purple)
  • Abu Dhabi World Pro Champion (2015 weight & absolute)
  • Pan American Champion (2015, 2012 brown, 2011 purple)
  • European Open Champion (2015, 2013 black, 2012 brown, 2011 purple weight & absolute, 2010 blue)
  • Copa Podio Superfight Champion (2013)

Favourite Position/Technique: Open Guard

Weight Division: Peso Pena (58kg/129lbs)

Team/Association: Gracie Humaitá


Michelle Nicolini

Michelle is no stranger to competition. She has done everything from MMA to Pro Jiu Jitsu tournaments; Polaris Pro, Metamoris; you name it! I will be paying extra close attention to her to see if a final will happen with her against Mackenzie. That would be super-exciting to see!


Michelle Nicolini is one of the elite fighters in women's jiu jitsu. An 8x jiu jitsu world champion, ADCC champion and World Pro Cup Champion, Michelle Nicolini is also a black belt under ADCC 2007 absolute champion Robert Drysdale and one of the main stars in the Checkmat BJJ team. Michele Nicolini’s rampant competitive career has had its shiniest moments since 2010 when she started training under Rodrigo Cavaca at his Santos academy, an academy she left in October 2013 due to some differences regarding the leadership of professor Cavaca.


Full Name: Michelle Zonato Nicolini

Lineage: Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie > Helio Gracie > Rolls Gracie > Romero Cavalcanti > Leonardo Vieira >Robert Drysdale > Michelle Nicolini

Main Titles (Black Belt):

  • World Champion (2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2007 weight & absolute, 2006)
  • World Nogi Champion (2010, 2008);
  • World Pro Cup Champion (2012)
  • European Champion (2012 weight & absolute)
  • Pan American Champion (2011, 2010, 2008);

Favourite Technique: Shin on Shin guard; Triangle & Toe Hold

Weight Division: Pluma (Light Featherweight) 53kg-118lbs

Team/Association: Checkmat


Angelica Galvao

Angelica is definitely a force to be reckoned with! You'd be a fool to count her out of any competition she enters. She's a fitness guru and 100% dedicated to improving her jiu jitsu... after her family, of course. She's married to Andre Galvao, in case you didn't know ;) 



Today, Angelica is a black belt, inspired by her husband/coach and mentor who Angelica says, “is a great father, husband, professor, coach, business man, man of God and one of the greatest people ever and every time I look at him, he shows me that is possible for me to be a mom, wife, business owner, coach, have a compromise with God and still be able to be in the highest level in BJJ.”  

Worlds 2014, Light 1st, Brown Adult
Las Vegas Spring 2014, Medium Heavy 1st, Brown Adult
Pan Ams 2014, Light 1st, Brown Adult
American Nat 2013, Light 1st, Brown Adult
American Nat 2013, Open 2nd, Brown Adult
Pan Ams 2013 Light, 1st, Brown Adult
Worlds 2012 Light, 3rd, Brown Adult
Pan Ams 2012 Light, 1st, Purple Adult
San Francisco 2012, Light 1st, Purple Adult
San Francisco 2012, Open 2nd, Purple Adult
Houston 2012 Light, 1st, Purple Adult
Worlds 2011 Light, 1st, Purple Adult
Brazilian Nationals, 1st, Blue Belt
Sao Paulo State, 1st, Blue Belt
Worlds, 2005, 3rd, Blue Belt

Beatriz Mesquita

Bia is a name we don't hear much, but she's definitely been around the block a few times. Championships in bog gi and Nogi; world, pan and national. She will be exciting to watch as well!

Beatriz Mesquita in action, in Pan 2013. Photo: Erin Herle/GRACIEMAG

Beatriz Mesquita, also known as Bia Mesquita, is an exciting Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt under the legendary Leticia Ribeiro. Being pointed as the next big thing in women’s Jiu Jitsu when she was still a teenager, Beatriz Mesquita has cemented her status as one of the greatest grapplers of her generation by achieved numerous BJJ titles such as the World Nogi Championship and the Pan American title before even reaching her black belt status. Mesquita has also competed successfully in Wrestling and Judo as well as swimming.

Full Name: Beatriz de Oliveira Mesquita

Nickname: Bia, which is a common short name for Beatriz.

Lineage: Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie > Helio Gracie > Royler Gracie > Vini Aieta > Leticia Ribeiro > Beatriz Mesquita

Main Achievements:

  • World Champion (2014 weight & absolute ||  lower belts: 2009 purple weight & absolute, 2008 purple, 2007 blue)
  • World Nogi Champion (2010)
  • Pan American Champion (2011 || Lower belts: 2009 purple, 2008 purple weight & absolute)
  •  Brazilian National Champion (Lower belts: 2008 purple weight & absolute, 2007 blue – junior, 2006 blue – junior weight WO & absolute)
  • European Champion (2010 weight & absolute)
  • Rio Open Champion (2010)
  • World Nogi Silver Medallist (2010 absolute)
  • World Cup Pro Silver Medallist (2010)
  • World Bronze Medallist (2010 weight & absolute)
  • Pan American Bronze Medallist (2011 absolute)

Weight Division: Peso Leve (64kg-141lbs)

Favourite Position/Technique: Guard

Team/Association: Gracie Humaita


Luanna Alzuguir

A Five Time World Champion, Luanna is definitely one to watch. Her open guard is phenomenal and once she gets on top, it might as well be game over. This lineup of women is getting more and more interesting!


Luanna Alzuguir is a historical figure in women’s jiu jitsu history, being one of the most dominant lightweight competitors of her generation, with several world titles to her name. A black belt under instructor  Marco Barbosa, and a former member of the Barbosa Jiu Jitsu team, Luanna Alzuguir is mostly known for her time spent fighting for the Alliance academy banner.

Full Name: Luanna Alzuguir Marton Moraes

Nickname: N/A

Lineage: Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie > Helio Gracie > Rickson Gracie > Marcelo Behring > Waldomiro Perez >Roberto Godoi > Marco Barbosa > Luanna Alzuguir

Main Achievements:

  • World Champion (2009, 2010 absolute, 2011, 2012, 2013)
  • World Pro Cup Champion UAEJJ (2011, 2012)
  • ADCC Champion (2009)
  • Pan American Champion (2011)
  • European Champion (2011 weight and absolute)
  • World Cup Champion CBJJE (2007 – weight and absolute)
  • Sao Paulo State Champion (8x)

Favourite Technique/Position: Open Guard

Weight Division: Lightweight

Team/Association: Alliance


Andresa Correa

Andresa is not one to self-promote. And as such, it's difficult to find anything but videos of her WINNING. That being said, all the needed info to tell us that she will be one to watch is there. She has won many national and Pan championships and is always a fierce competitor. 


Lineage: Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie > Helio Gracie > Rolls Gracie > Romero Cavalcanti > Fábio Gurgel

Weight Division: 74kg

Team/Association: Alliance


And last but definitely not least...

Dominyka Obelenyte

Dominyka is already a star in the making from Marcelo Garcia’s Academy in New York City. She is one of the youngest Mundials champions and on the path to be one of the best ever! 

Photo by Hilliary Williams
Full Name: Dominyka Obelenyte

Nickname: N/A

Team/Association: Marcelo Garcia

Lineage: Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie > Helio Gracie > Rolls Gracie > Romero Cavalcanti > Fabio Gurgel > Marcelo Garcia.


This is most certainly not a comprehensive list. There are SO many competitors to keep track of and SO many very talented, very deserving of accolade female fighters out there today. We, as always, are supporters of Women In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. They do nothing but enrich the training environment and add nothing but positives to the BJJ landscape. We appreciate you, ladies! Good luck in this years tournament! I am very excited to see you all compete!

If you readers have anything to add, subtract or change, please leave a comment. We're always more than happy to hear feedback! 

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