Introducing the Women of ADCC 2022: Who’s Who


While the gentlemen have traditionally been the stars of the ADCC, the ongoing rise of women in high-level submission grappling competition has built two talent-stacked divisions for female competitors at the tournament’s 2022 showdown. With only two weight classes – offering a mere eight places apiece – available to ladies chasing ADCC gold, the fight to earn a spot on Mo Jassim’s contender list was fiercer than ever. Let’s take a look at who might come out on top this year:

The -60kg Division

Bianca Basilio, Brazil

  • ADCC World Champion (2019)
  • IBJJF World Champion (2022)

The current queen of the lighter ADCC women’s weight class, Bianca Basilio is also the 2022 IBJJF World Champion, which no doubt paints a target on her back. A versatile and aggressive contender, according to BJJ Heroes stats, she wins by submission notably more often than by points or decision, and owns a particularly dangerous straight ankle lock.

Julia Maele, Norway

  • ADCC European Trials Champion (2022)
  • Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Jiu-Jitsu World Tour London Silver Medalist (2020)

A lesser-known name in this division, Norway’s Julia Maele nonetheless punched her ticket to ADCC by winning the European Trials, which speaks to her competitive chops. While she lacks the brutal finishing power of some of the more famous submission artists in this bracket, she appears quite well-rounded, and may yet prove herself a dark horse.

Mayssa Bastos, Brazil

  • ADCC South American Trials Champion (2022)
  • 6x IBJJF World Champion, gi & no-gi (2018-2022)

Nicknamed “Pequena Notável,” or “Remarkable Little One,” according to BJJ Heroes, Mayssa Bastos has been tearing up the competitive jiu-jitsu scene since her days in the juvenile ranks. Bastos has also won a total of six gold medals at IBJJF Worlds – three times in the gi, and three times in no-gi, and appears to be particularly dangerous when chasing her opponent’s back via berimbolo.

Brianna Ste-Marie, Canada

  • ADCC North American Trials Champion (2022)
  • WNO 135-Pound Champion (2022)

Brazilian Top Team black belt Brianna Ste-Marie belt may be relatively new to her rank, but has earned no shortage of high-level victories throughout her color belt career, including multiple titles at IBJJF Worlds and Pans. The former rugby player is known for her heavy pressure passing power, which could prove threatening to even the trickier guard players in this division.

Adele Fornarino, Australia

  • ADCC Oceania & Asian Trials Champion (2022)
  • IBJJF Pans Brown Belt Silver Medalist (2019)

Currently the top female brown belt in Australia, Adele Fornarino has collected some impressive wins in major IBJJF tournaments throughout her color belt career, and looks to face her biggest test yet at this year’s ADCC. Another dark horse in the bracket, Fornarino – in punching her ticket at the Asian Trials – now seizes her opportunity to prove that she deserves to share the stage with some of the biggest names in women’s jiu-jitsu.

Beatriz Mesquita, Brazil

  • ADCC World Champion (2017)
  • 7x IBJJF World Champion, gi & no-gi (2014-2019, 2021)

Arguably the biggest threat to reigning queen Bianca Basilio – and perhaps the most famous student of the legendary Leticia Ribeiro – Bia Mesquita, like Basilio, also counts ADCC gold among her accolades. As a black belt, she also owns a gold medal in no-gi at IBJJF Worlds, in addition to a whopping six gold medal finishes in the gi at Worlds. She’s won more major events than any other athlete in her division, which means Basilio will no doubt have her work cut out for her in a title defense against Mesquita.

Elvira Karpipinen, Finland

  • ADCC European Trials Champion (2016)
  • ADCC Bronze Medalist (2019)

A 10th Planet black belt out of Finland who trains directly under Eddie Bravo himself, Elvira Karpipnen is a no-gi queen with a nasty leglock game. A previous ADCC podium finisher, she’s weaponized a particularly dangerous ability to hunt for heel hooks.

Ffion Davies, Wales

  • IBJJF World Champion (2022)
  • ADCC Silver Medalist (2019)

One of the biggest fan favorites in the division, Ffion Davies shocked the world at ADCC 2019 when she submitted division favorite Bia Mesquita with a brutal armbar. Davies also made history this year as the first ever IBJJF black belt world champion to emerge from the UK. Those accolades – along with her very high-level judo background – propel her to the forefront of this division, alongside Mesquita and Basilio.

The +60kg Division

Gabi Garcia, Brazil

  • 4x ADCC World Champion (2011, 2013, 2017, 2019)
  • 3x IBJJF World Champion (2010-2012)

Gabi Garcia has long reigned as arguably the toughest opponent in women’s jiu-jitsu. In addition to her sheer size at a whopping 200 pounds, she’s also a highly decorated Alliance black belt under Fábio Gurgel. That size and strength advantage, when combined with her brutal, top-heavy skillset, make her extremely difficult to challenge head on. While she’s not undefeated – the much smaller Mackenzie Dern holds a victory over Garcia in the absolute division, and Yara Soares famously choked her out last year at Mundials – Garcia nonetheless presents a grueling challenge to the other women in this weight class.

Eleftheria Christodoulou, Cyprus

  • ADCC European Trials Champion (2022)
  • IBJJF Pans Champion, Brown Belt (2021)

Though she’s only been training jiu-jitsu since 2016, brown belt Eleftheria Christodoulou of Cyprus has already racked up some impressive competitive accolades, including several double gold wins at major IBJJF tournaments throughout the color belt ranks. While she might be lesser-known than some of the other women heading to ADCC, her victory at European Trials no doubt offers her the opportunity to make her mark on this division.

Giovanna Jara, Brazil

  • ADCC South American Trials Champion (2022)
  • 2x IBJJF Blue & Purple Belt World Champion (2021, 2022)

A brown belt who represents Dream Art, Giovanna Jara is still young in her career, but is known for cutting a swathe through Brazilian Nationals at the juvenile ranks, and successfully conquering Mundials at blue and purple belt. She’s especially dangerous when chasing her opponent’s back, and secured three RNC finishes during Trials.

Amy Campo, USA

  • ADCC North American Trials Champion (2022)
  • IBJJF Brown Belt World Champion (2021)

Zenith Team black belt Amy Campo punched her ticket to ADCC at North American Trials with an aggressive, submission-focused performance that will no doubt serve her in good stead in this bracket. Though she lacks the experience of some of the other athletes, she’s got a well-rounded arsenal of weapons on both top and bottom, and has a particularly dangerous armbar.

Nikki Lloyd-Griffiths, Australia

  • ADCC Oceania & Asian Trials Champion (2022)
  • IBJJF Purple Belt World Champion (2019)

Australian black belt Nikki Lloyd-Griffiths earned her way to an ADCC debut via Trials, where she displayed the spectacular guard game she’s become famous for. Her tricky guard play should make for an interesting match with some of the more top-heavy athletes in her division; Lloyd-Griffiths’ powerful penchant for attacking off her back may put wrestlers and pressure passers to the test, and vice versa.

Rafaela Guedes, Brazil

  • IBJJF World Champion, no-gi (2021)
  • 2x IBJJF Pans Champion, gi & no-gi (2020)

An Atos black belt under André Galvão, Rafaela Guedes has a well-rounded game that’s won her impressive accolades in major IBJJF competition, but overall, she tends to favor a pressure passing heavy style. She’s extremely difficult to submit, though her mettle will no doubt be tested by the size and strength of some of the women in the +60kg division.

Kendall Reusing, USA

  • IBJJF World Champion, no-gi (2019)
  • IBJJF Pans Champion, no-gi (2021)

Kendall Reusing, in addition to being a decorated Gracie Barra black belt under her father Tom Reusing, is also an elite competitive wrestler, with judo experience to boot. That combination makes her an extremely dangerous takedown artist – a tremendous boon under the ADCC ruleset.

Elisabeth Clay, USA

  • IBJJF World Champion, no-gi (2021)
  • IBJJF Pans Champion, no-gi (2021)

Ares BJJ black belt Elisabeth Clay has built a name for herself with a very fun arsenal of sometimes-unconventional submission attacks, including the comparatively rarely-seen gogoplata, which she’s hit twice on opponents in high-level competition. She’s also fluent in the leg entanglement game, which could make her particularly dangerous, even to some of the heavier athletes in this division.

Hungry for more content on these athletes? Here’s more to read (and watch!) on this division:

The Grappling Conjecture: Women’s +60kg ADCC 2022 Preview

The Grappling Conjecture: Women’s -60kg ADCC 2022 Preview

FloGrappling: Can Gabi Garcia Capture Her FIFTH ADCC Gold?

BJJ Heroes: Eleftheria Christodoulou, ADCC Trials Champ Placing Cyprus On The Grappling World Map

Please note that a previous version of this article stated that Mayssa Bastos won two gold medals in gi at IBJJF Worlds, and two in no-gi, for a total of four. This has been corrected to reflect that she has won three gold medals each in gi and no-gi, resulting in a total of six gold medals at Worlds.


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