The World of BJJ: May 2021 Recap

the world of bjj may 2021 recap wno

The World of BJJ: May 2021 Recap

What’s going on in the world of BJJ? 

We’ve got you covered for all your BJJ-related news and happenings in this version of our monthly recap (May 2021).  


SUBVERSIV 5 (No-Gi) (1 May 2021)

SUBVERSIV, with its innovative event format, was back at it in May. This time, ATOS looked to defend their team title (2 male grapplers and 1 female grappler per squad) against a host of high-level teams who were all hungry to take the title away from the reigning champions.

In the end, ATOS retained their title in dominant fashion. Overall, the event was fast-paced, engaging from start to finish, and it was refreshing to see so many elite grapplers compete in this novel format.

Here are results from the team tournament:


  •     ATOS vs American Top Team (ATT)

o   Kaynan Duarte def. Chris Dempsey (heel hook) (ATOS 1-0)

o   Rafaela Guedes def. Juliana Fortuna (anaconda choke) (ATOS 2-0)

o   Lucas Barbosa def. Mauricio Gomez (decision) (ATOS 3-0)

  • ATOS wins 3-0
  •     Fight Sports (FS) vs Gracie Barra (GB)

o   Kendall Reusing def. Maggie Grindatti (split decision) (GB 1-0)

o   JZ Cavalcante def. Saul Viayra (heel hook) (FS 1-1)

o   João Costa Araújo def. Lucas Norat (decision) (FS 2-1)

  • Fight Sports wins 2-1
  •     Checkmat (CM) vs Danaher Death Squad (DDS)

o   Oliver Taza def. Gabriel Almeida (decision) (DDS 1-0)

o   Elder Cruz def. Daniel Manasoiu (decision) (CM 1-1)

o   Nathalie Ribeiro def. Katie Hooven (kneebar) (CM 2-1)

  • Checkmat wins 2-1
  •     10th Planet (10P) vs Studio 84(S84)

o   Rene Sousa def. Steve Joachim (heel hook) (10P 1-0)

o   Bri Robertson def. Amanda Leve (decision) (10P 2-0)

o   John Combs def. JM Holland (S84 2-1)

  • 10th Planet wins 2-1



  •     ATOS vs Fight Sports

o   Rafaela Guedes def. Maggi Grindatti (armbar) (ATOS 1-0)

o   Kaynan Duarte def. João Costa Araújo (heel hook) ATOS 2-0)

  • ATOS wins 2-0
  •     Checkmat vs 10th Planet

o   Nathalie Ribeiro def. Bri Robertson (split decision) (CM 1-0)

o   Elder Cruz def. Rene Sousa (decision) (CM 2-0)

  • Checkmat wins 2-0


3rd Place Matches

  •     Fight Sports vs 10th Planet

o   JZ Cavalcante def. Rene Sousa (decision)

  • Fight Sports wins 3rd place



  •     ATOS vs Checkmat

o   Lucas Barbosa def. Gabriel Almeida (decision) (ATOS 1-0)

o   Rafaela Guedes def. Nathalie Ribeiro (decision) ATOS 2-0)

  • ATOS wins, defends SUBVERSIV title


This event also included a ton of superfights (20 in total), adding to the already star-studded lineup. Here are select results from the top dozen matchups. 

  •     Kevin Mahecha def. Dylan White (armbar)
  •     Rick Semiglia def. Forest Moyano (decision)
  •     Jim Alers def. Mateo Armel (heel hook)
  •     Lucas Araujo def. Giann Moramarco (decision)
  •     Felipe Amarante def. K. Berman (decision)
  •     Elisabeth Clay def. Andressa Cintra (kneebar)
  •     Alex Jutis def. Brian Demuro (decision)
  •     Wilson Sgai def. Rafael Dias (split decision)
  •     Vitor Schlosser def. Jason Baroncross (choke)
  •     Rodrigo Franconi def. Matthew Ferraiolo (decision)
  •     Rodrigo Antunes def. Ricky Nelson (armbar)
  •     Pat Downey def. Rasheed Perez (decision)

Is there a 3-person grappling team out there who can dethrone ATOS at the next SUBVERSIV event? What kind of team would you build to take on the champs?


Finishers Sub-Only 13: The Absolutes (8 May 2021)

Finishers 13: The Absolutes featured a 16-man open-weight bracket, as well as several black belt superfights. The event followed an EBI ruleset and had five of the 15 matches end with a submission in regulation.

In the main event superfight, Danaher Death Squad’s Frank Rosenthal defeated Gabe Tejada via rear-naked choke in overtime.

The open-weight tournament was won by professional mixed-martial-arts fighter Bassil Hafez. The representative from Balance Studio submitted his first two opponents in regulation, followed by wins in the semifinal and final via ride-time.

Check out FloGrappling’s highlight video of the event here.


IBJJF Pan No-Gi Championship (15-16 May 2021)

Typically held at the City College of New York in Harlem, NYC, the IBJJF headed to the NYTEX sports centre in Texas for this year’s edition of the Pan No-Gi Championship.

There is plenty to talk about following this event, including dominant performances, shocking finishes, and a disappointing disqualification in the opening round of the competition.

Here are some of the main takeaways from the event:

  •     Elisabeth Clay proved her dominance over the women’s black belt divisions with a sensational performance, earning herself double-gold.
  •     Mayssa Bastos claimed light-featherweight gold, advancing to the finals with a a sudden victory over Jessa Khan, which saw Bastos snatch up an armbar with only 10 seconds left in the match.
  •     Diego Pato Oliveira shocked Josh Cisneros in the finals of the featherweight division with a kneebar finish in under a minute.
  •     Oliver Taza was disqualified in his first match of the competition after attempting a python choke (by covering his opponent’s mouth), which is illegal under the IBJJF ruleset.
  •     Victor Hugo won the ultraheavyweight title against Aaron Tex Johnson but could not compete in the open-weight division due to a staph infection on his leg, requiring urgent medical attention. Thankfully, Hugo was released from the hospital later that day.
  •     Giancarlo Bodoni pulled off a massive upset over Lucas Barbosa to win heavyweight gold.
  •     At brown belt, Micael Galvao streaked through both his division and the open-weight division to claim double-gold in impressive fashion.


Here are the gold medalists from the male and female black belt divisions:

  •     Female light-featherweight: Mayssa Bastos
  •     Female featherweight: Gabrielle McComb
  •     Female lightweight: Nathalie Ribeiro
  •     Female middleweight: Vanessa Griffin
  •     Female medium heavyweight: Elisabeth Clay
  •     Female heavyweight: Maria Malyjasiak
  •     Female superheavyweight: Kendall Reusing


  •     Male roosterweight: Estevan Martinez-Garcia
  •     Male light-featherweight: Paulo Miyao
  •     Male featherweight: Diego Pato Oliveira
  •     Male lightweight: Gianni Grippo
  •     Male middleweight: Matheus Gabriel
  •     Male medium heavyweight: Jefferson Guaresi
  •     Male heavyweight: Giancarlo Bodoni
  •     Male superheavyweight: Devhonte Johnson
  •     Male ultraheavyweight: Victor Hugo


  •     Female open-weight: Elisabeth Clay
  •     Male open-weight: Lucas Barbosa


Submission Underground 23 – Absolute Championship (23 May 2021)

Chael Sonnen’s grappling promotion, Submission Underground (SUG), put together another action-packed event to end the month.

SUG 23’s main event saw Caio Terra Association’s (CTA) Mason Fowler defend his belt against 10th Planet’s Kyle Chambers. In the co-main event, fans were treated to another exciting jiu-jitsu tag-team matchup between defending champions Team SAC (Cris Lencioni and Owen Papworth) and challengers Team Toro (Anthony Birchak and Deon Clash).

Here are the results from the card, which included multiple submission finishes:


Main Event

  •     Mason Fowler def. Kyle Chambers (rear-naked choke; defends title)


Co-Main Event

  •     Team Toro (Anthony Birchak and Deon Clash) def. Team SAC (Cris Lencioni and Owen Papworth) (OT – armbar; new SUG tag team champions)


Main Card

  •     Carlos Condit def. Jake Ellenberger (heel hook)
  •     Raquel Canuto def. Gillian Robertson (guillotine)
  •     Richie Martinez def. Don Stoner (Japanese necktie)
  •     Andy Varela def. Rafael Domingos (OT – rear-naked choke)
  •     Adam Smith def. Benji Silva (OT – armbar)
  •     Nicholas Maximov def. Joey Elsmore (kimura)
  •     Charlie Gilpin def. Willie Audifre (OT – fastest escape)
  •     Aaron Tiegs def. Matt Cox (armbar)


Of note, Raquel Canuto’s victory over Gillian Robertson puts her next in line to challenge Amanda Loewen for the championship title. Can Canuto upset Loewen and take the belt for herself?

Also, who’s next for Fowler? Is it time for him to take on a new level of competition? SUG 24, to take place 27 June 2021, will hold an 8-man tournament to determine the next challenger for Fowler’s belt. Who will be next to take on the SUG king, and will they have what it takes to steal his title away from him?


WNO: Craig Jones vs Luiz Panza (28 May 2021)

FloGrappling put on another outstanding Who’s Number One (WNO) event in Austin, Texas, which saw Craig Jones step in to replace Gordon Ryan against Checkmat’s Luiz Panza in the main event. Ryan was initially slated to face Panza but was forced to pull out of the event – and remove himself from competition indefinitely – due to ongoing health issues.

Jones, who recently served as a grappling coach for Team Volkanovski on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), needed just 46 seconds to submit Panza with a heel hook. This capped off a night of thrilling matchups, which saw 5 submissions in 9 matches.

In the co-main event, Mikey Musumeci took on Lucas Pinheiro. While Mikey is known for his success in the gi divisions, he has recently shown that he can more than hold his own in no-gi. Pinheiro did well to try to defend, but Mikey needed only 1:26 to lock in a heel hook and claim victory.

Also on the main card, Vagner Rocha defeated Josh Hinger via unanimous decision in a wrestling-heavy match.

Nicky Ryan, unhappy with his last performance at WNO, came out hard and fast against the seasoned veteran Gabriel Almeida, using heavy pressure passing to get the unanimous decision victory.

Rising star Jessa Khan got the win over Pati Fontes via armbar, avenging a 2018 loss to Fontes at the Eddie Bravo Invitational (EBI). 

To kick off the main card, leg lock specialist Oliver Taza clashed with Jonatha Alves. Taza’s leg lock attempts, including one extremely tight and painful-looking heel hook, proved to be enough to get him the unanimous decision victory.

On the undercard, young phenom Micael Galvao had a wild match with Andrew Tackett, in which Galvao was ultimately awarded the unanimous decision win. Also, Art of Jiu-Jitsu (AOJ) prospect Cole Abate locked up a slick armbar against Sathya Wiltse to get the win. Lastly, Danaher Death Squad (DDS) representative Damien Anderson avenged the loss of his teammate, Frank Rosenthal, at the last WNO by securing a rear-naked choke against Luis Quinones for the victory.

With Gordon Ryan out of competition indefinitely, will Craig Jones step up to take Gordon’s place as the number one grappler in WNO (and the rest of the no-gi submission grappling scene)? Does Gordon’s absence open the door for someone else to step into the number one pound-for-pound position?


* * *


There you have it. Now, you’re all caught up on key events in the BJJ world from May. 

Check in next month for a recap of everything that happened in June. 

Until then… stay rolling, and protect your neck! (And your legs, and arms, and wrists… you get it). 

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