The New Wave Of Black Belt Women [IBJJF Europeans Preview]

Picture: Scott Hirano

Not long before the IBJJ European Open Championship kicks off. And there’s a whole new wave of black belt women ready to take the stage. Who from the next generation to look out for?

Livia Gluchowska

Livia at the IBJJF World Championship 2017, her first year as a black belt. Picture by Daniel Briseno.

Livia Gluchowska (Absolute MMA Australia) has been an active competitor throughout her jiu jitsu career. One of her biggest successes is becoming brown belt World Champion in 2016, showcasing an enormous amount of skill and determination. Whether it’s gi, no-gi, stand-up or guard: it doesn’t matter to Livia, she fights everywhere. We have seen her at Copa Podio and EBI-12, and we will see her make a quick stop before the European Championship in her next superfight on January 12th, against black belt Patricia Fontes. More about Livia? Check out our interview with her: “Don’t Stop Till You Reach The Top.”

Heather Raftery

Heather Raftery gets the kneebar on Michelle Nicolini at the IBJJF No Gi Worlds 2017. Picture by FloGrappling.

Heather Raftery (Atos Jiu Jitsu) beat all the odds when she faced the legend Michelle Nicolini at the IBJJF World No Gi Championship, and finished the fight with a very impressive kneebar! This proves not only her great skills, but also a great mindset to go up against the best of the best, and win! Besides competing, Heather also travels the world and writes for FloGrappling. Check out her latest article, on the growth of women’s jiu jitsu here!

Amanda Monteiro

Amanda passing guard in the final of the UAEJJF Grand Slam Rio de Janeiro. Picture by UAEJJF.

Ranked #3 in the UAEJJF female brown/black belt ranking, IBJJF brown belt World Champion in 2017, and winner of the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam in Rio just recently, are just a few of GF Team’s Amanda Monteiro’s latest achievements. Amanda’s style is a mix of dangerous takedowns, followed by a whole lot of pressure on her opponents when she is passing the guard.

Charlotte von Baumgarten

Charlotte winning double gold at the IBJJF Master Europeans in Barcelona, May 2017. Picture by

Coming back from a break in 2017, Charlotte von Baumgarten (Mathias Ribeiro Team) displayed a jaw-dropping performance when she fought her way to the top of the stage at the IBJJF European Championship in 2017, at that time a brown belt. After receiving her black belt a few months later, Charlotte has been on a rampage through Europe, where she has been crushing the divisions – her own weight as well as the absolute – at nearly all the local IBJJF tournaments. We are looking forward to see her perform in the black belt division this time!

Raquel Canuto

Raquel going for the toehold at the IBJJF Pan Ams 2017, getting third place in the middleweight division as a brown belt. Picture by Scott Hirano.

Raquel Canuto (Zenith BJJ) became a black belt in 5 years, and did not introduce herself quietly in the black belt division. Being also an MMA fighter in Invicta FC, she is fast, strong and explosive. Raquel became brown belt IBJJF World Champion last year, as well as IBJJF World Champion No Gi as a black belt, after a very tough final against Catherine Perret – check out a highlight of that fight below!

Samantha Cook

Always looking for the footlock.. Samantha Cook against Nathiely de Jesus at the IBJJF Worlds 2016.

She won the IBJJF European Championship as a brown belt in the past two years, and 2018 is the first time for Samantha Cook from CheckMat to showcase her skills as a black belt on the European stage. Samantha has a diverse game comprised of agressive passing and a love for spider guard. Also, it is no secret that her favourite submissions are footlocks, so we are looking out for a nice toehold or ankle-lock!

The IBJJF European Open Championship takes place in Lisbon, Portugal, from January 15th till January 21st. Keep an eye out, we will be doing updates on the female brackets through Instagram and Facebook!



Rose is a black belt at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy Amsterdam (Checkmat). Besides being one of the co-founders of Ladies Only BJJ, she is a junior doctor MD and holds a MsC degree in Sports Sciences.

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