After popular demand, the Eddie Bravo Invitational is giving the females an event of their own.
EBI 12 had been announced months ago with a date of July 30th. They finally released the card with a sixteen woman grappling and a four woman combat jiu-jitsu tournament. The show will take place at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles (get tickets here) or if you can’t make it to L.A., it will be live on UFC Fight Pass.
The combat jiu-jitsu tournament has familiar names to the MMA fans. The combat BJJ allows open hand strikes. The four participants are:
- Celine Haga (Jackson/Wink MMA): The InvictaFC vet has some unfinished business with fellow participant Amy Montengro. Haga has been on an amazing MMA run since she moved to Jackson’s until she lost a heart breaking decision to Montegro.
- Amy Montenegro (Gracie Barra Seattle): Montengro has also been on a run in MMA, with her latest against Haga. Montegro has something to prove in the bout, as she was choked out by Haga at Invicta. She is currently a purple belt in BJJ.
- Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (10th Planet Freaks): Bellator’s top prospect, MacFarlane has been in discussion to compete for the inaugural 125 title. She has three submissions to her credit as a pro MMA fighter.
- Brooke Mayo (Ralph Gracie): The amateur standout just signed to Bellator this past February. A star of U of MMA, she is looking to make some waves by winning the tournament.
The majority of the card is dedicated the traditional EBI tournament, which will see sixteen of the best female flyweight grapplers battle to be crown the first ever EBI champion. The international field has some veterans, newcomers, and some great backstories heading in.
Here are their bios:
Talita Alencar (Alliance): The current IBJJF light-featherweight World Champion in both the Gi and No-Gi, she is currently the favorite to win the tournament, Originally out of GFT Recreio, she is currently at Alliance San Diego, where she has helped fighters such as Cat Zingano, Angela Hill, and Chrstine Stanley up their BJJ game.
Patrícia Fontes (Checkmat): Starting at age 15, the former World No-Gi Champion moved to the US in 2012 and has been an avid competitor. She has a long time rivalry with Kristina Barlaan, who is also in the tournament.
Kristina Barlaan (Caio Terra BJJ): Having the skills to cross over to MMA if she wishes, Barlaan started doing Muay Thai before taking up BJJ full time. The California native has held several American and European titles to her credit, but has came up short with a world title, a few tomes to rival Patrícia Fontes. Barlaan is known for her ability to take on bigger opponent.
Tammi Musumeci (Caio Terra BJJ): The New Jeresy transplant has started in BJJ at age 6 and moved to Florida for college; training at Alliance MMA in Miami and American Top Team. At age 19, she won her first world title. She has notable wins over two world champions; Laurence Fouillat and Mackenzie Dern. Her refusal to tap to another world champ Michelle Nicolini went viral among BJJ fans. On top of that she was a top student in high school and devoted to charity. Could be a dark horse in the tournament.
Erin Herle (Alliance): One of the few brown belts in the tournament, the California native has sought coaches from across the country to help her improve her game. The freelance writer is one of the most well known brown belts on the circuit. Herle took up BJJ a year after being diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder; which has helped her condition. She is also a mental health advocate, starting the #SubmitTheStigma on social media.
Lila Smadja (10th Planet HQ): A protege of Eddie Bravo, she had faced fellow tournament competitor Talita Alencar twice, evening the rivalry by fastest escape at EBI 5. Her technique is a hybrid of 10th Planet style and catch wrestling, which will make a fun and active bout when she steps on the mat.
Katherine Shen (10th Planet Freaks): Shen earned her spot through a qualifier a few weeks ago, earning her purple belt in the process. Teammate of Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, Liz Carmoche, and Pearl Gonzales, she is the youngest competitor in the tournament at age 18.
Jenna Bishop (Gracie Humaita HQ): Winning 2 golds at the European Open this year, she is an avid journalist and “scientist” in the sport through her Bishopbjj.com website. She will be dipping her toes into a no-gi tournament for the first time in a while.
Erin Blanchfield (Renzo Gracie/Silver Fox): We had covered Blanchfield in our Future Stars column in 2013 and she has come a long way since then. The now 19 year old purple belt won double gold at last year’s IBJJF World No-Gi Championships as a blue belt.
Fiona Watson (Notorious BJJ): The black belt is one of the few female owners of a BJJ gym. She is a vet of Fight2Win Pro grappling and was the runner-up in the IBJJF World No-Gi Championships in 2016.
Tássia Pimenta (Gracie Berra Northridge): One of the few Brazilians in the tournament she is currently call the L.A. area her home. Know for her gi work, especially spider guard, she will find herself in a different world in a no-gi contest.
Vanessa English (Gracie Barra UK): A pioneer in BJJ in the UK, English will compete at Polaris in London just a few weeks before the tournament. She is the first British born Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitor to win the IBJJF World Championships in the adult division.
Gabby Romero (Legacy BJJ): 2-1 as a pro MMA fighter, she recently submitted Meng Bo at Kunlun MMA with an armbar. Currently out of Legacy BJJ in Los Angeles, she is a vet of the Fight2Win Pro Grappling series.
Olympia Watts (Gracie Berra Texas): A brown belt under professor Vinicius “Draculino” Magalhaes at Gracie Barra Texas, she is new to the international scene and is coming from a gi background. You can watch a piece on her by MMAWin.com here.
Rachael Cummins (Gracie Fighter Newport): Best known for her MMA career, Cummins is a purple belt in BJJ and it’s her first love. Shortly after moving her camp from Reign Training center to Gracie Fighter under Jason Manley, she got a flying armbar win over Michele Gutierrez in MMA.
Livia Gluchowska (Absolute MMA): Born in Poland, Gluchowska started with gymnastics at age 12 and eventually went into competitive cycling in her 20’s. After giving that up to get a degree and enter the work force, she took up BJJ. The recently promoted black belt was IBJJF World Champion in 2016 at brown belt and has competed on big stages across the planet.