Meet The Newly Promoted Black Belts After The 2022 IBJJF No-Gi Worlds

Meet The Newly Promoted Black Belts After The 2022 IBJJF No-Gi Worlds

Congratulations to the black belt class of 2022!

Dec 22, 2022 by Mariana Viana
Meet The Newly Promoted Black Belts After The 2022 IBJJF No-Gi Worlds

The IBJJF No-Gi Worlds marks the end of the year's top-level competitions. As the year comes to a close, some of the most successful brown belt competitors have earned the rank of black belt. They will compete at the highest levels of competition in 2023.

Congratulations to the black belt class of 2022!

Steffen Banta | Alliance | December 16 | @steffenbanta

Banta’s double gold run at No-Gi Worlds put a stamp on his decorated brown belt career, in which he also won Pans, No-Gi Pans and Worlds. He trains under world champion Joao Gabriel Rocha. As a brown belt, Banta was also ranked number one pound for pound no-gi grappler in the world by the IBJJF.

Andrew Tackett  | Checkmat | December 17 | @tackett.andrew

Training since the age of six, Tackett is now 19 years old and a black belt. He received his black belt from Professor Rodrigo Cabral (Brucutu), head of Brazilian Fight Factory, Checkmat Austin. This year, Tackett won No-Gi Worlds as well as the weight and absolute division at the ADCC Las Vegas Open, not to mention loads of high profile superfights.

Zach Kaina | Art of Jiu-Jitsu | December 9 | @zachkaina

Kaina has been an AOJ student since he was 10 years old, when his family moved from Hawaii to California. This year he won the No-Gi Worlds at brown belt and received the black belt on the podium from his professor, Gui Mendes.

Reon & Hiryu Niwa | Art of Jiu-Jitsu | December 9 | @niwabros

The Japanese Niwa brothers were recently promoted to black belts by professor Gui Mendes after closing out their brown belt weight division at No-Gi Worlds. This year, both brothers got second place at the IBJJF World Championship and Hiryu won gold at IBJJF Pan Championship. 

Faye Lynn Cherrier | Atos Jiu-Jitsu Atlanta | December 15 | @fayetality123

Cherrier is a No-Gi Pan American Champion and was a bronze medalist at the ADCC Open. She recently received her black belt from Bruno Frazatto at Atos Atlanta after taking bronze at No-Gi Worlds. She is the reigning Finisher Sub Only champion at 125 lbs. 

Elizabeth Liera | Atos Jiu-Jitsu | December 19 | @_elizabethlieira

Elizabeth Liera, sister of black belt Michael Liera Jr., won the 2021 IBJJF Pan Championshipw and placed second at both IBJJF Worlds in 2021 and Pans in 2022 i year. This year Liera earned her B.A. in Behavioral Neuroscience from the University of San Diego and received her black belt from the hands of Professor Andre and Angelica Galvao at Atos Jiu Jitsu Headquarters.  

Anderson Duarte | Atrium | December 13 | @duarte_bjj1

Anderson Duarte, 19, is on the rise in competitive Jiu-Jitsu. In November, the athlete from team Atrium won the under-62 kg division, winning five fights at the Abu Dhabi World Pro. He also won the IBJJF Worlds, Grand Slam Rio, and Brazilian Nationals during his colored belt stretch. 

Lucas Montalvão | Ground Control | December 17 | @montalvaobjj

Montalvão was a notorious Jiu-Jitsu brown belt. At the age of 19, the Ground Control athlete continues to collect important medals for his career. This year, he won gold in the Nashville Open and double gold in the No-Gi Houston Open weight and absolute divisions. Montalvão received his black belt from Professor Max Gimenis.

Rui Alves | Dream Art | November 18 | @rui_bjj

2022 IBJJF brown belt world champion, Alves is now a black belt under his coach, Isaque Bahiense. He received his black belt on November 18, after winning the World Pro Championship in Abu Dhabi. He won Worlds in June, six months after taking double bronze at the 2021 World Championships. Alves will be a force at black belt.

Jacob Couch | Pedigo Submission Fighting | December 9 | @thehillbillyhammer

2021 IBJJF No-Gi Worlds brown belt champ, 2022 brown belt no-gi world champ, double gold No-Gi Pans champ, ADCC Las Vegas Open champ, The Hillbilly Hammer was awarded his black belt on the podium by Heath Pedigo after Couch earned his second consecutive No-Gi Worlds title.

Carlos Henrique | Dream Art | November 18 | @carloshenriqueeejj

Carlos Henrique earned his black belt alongside Dream Art teammate Rui Alves after hitting the podium at the UAEJJF World Pro. Henrique won Worlds at brown belt earlier this year. He made his black belt debut at No-Gi Worlds, where he took second place in a loaded lightweight division.

Dante Muschamp | Essential BJJ | December 15 | @dante_bjj

JT Torres promoted Dante Muschamp to black belt after No-Gi Worlds, where he submitted several opponents in a deep middleweight division. Earlier in the year, Muschamp took bronze at No-Gi Pans.

Felipe Porto | Fight Sports | December 15 | @felipeportobjj

Felipe Porto spent his entire brown belt career near the top. He took bronze at Pans and No-Gi Worlds in 2021. 

Adele Fornarino | Dominance MMA | December 17 | @adele.fornarino

Adele Fornarino had a massive brown belt year in 2022, conquering the ADCC Asia & Oceania trials, then continuing on to win No-Gi Euros and No-Gi Worlds. Amid all this, the world champ earned her bachelor’s degree.

Cody Yanez | Gracie Barra | December 17 | @cody_gbbjj

The new black belt from Gracie Barra took bronze at Worlds in June as a brown belt. He had a decorated colored belt career, especially at purple belt where he won Pans at featherweight.

Julian Espinosa | Renzo Gracie | December 16 | @juliancrjj

After taking gold at No-Gi Euros and silver at No-Gi Worlds, the Costa Rican received his black belt from Rolles Gracie.

Deise Leonanjo | Double Five | December 9 | @deiseleonanjo

Leonanjo submitted all of her opponents at No-Gi Pans to win gold, and had another submission heavy outing at No-Gi Worlds, where she stood atop the podium again. Earlier in the year, she took silver at Worlds in the gi. She was awarded her black belt atop the podium by Rodrigo Lopes, and now-fiancé Joao Matheus Assonitis proposed to her seconds later.

Kade Tsitos | Fight Sports | December 10

Kate Tistos was a relative unknown headed into No-Gi Worlds. Still, he submitted all five of his opponents to take gold at brown belt, and received his black belt from Vagner Rocha the following day.

Maria Ruffatto | Brazilian Top Team | December 9 | @ruffattobjj

The kimura specialist has long been one of the most fearsome brown belt heavyweights. Her accolades include:

  • 2021 Pans absolute champion
  • 2021 No-Gi World champ
  • 2022 Pans double silver
  • 2022 Worlds bronze
  • 2022 ADCC Las Vegas Open double silver
  • 2022 No-Gi Pans silver and bronze
  • 2022 No-Gi Worlds silver and bronze

Calon Sabino | Atos Jiu Jitu | November 7 | @calonsabino

The Brazilian-American athlete, Sabino competed at the South American and the North American ADCC Trials this year. He performed well at both, earning a reputation for his sharp gogoplata and his hard nosed wrestling. He performed brilliantly at the Brazilian Nationals, winning each of his six matches via submission to win both the weight and absolute champion titles. He also earned gold at the 2022 American Nationals. 

Robin Brohlin | Rodrigo Pinheiro BJJ | December 19 | @roinethegrappler

The 21-year-old Swedish athlete is a six time world champion at the colored belt ranks, winning two times in the gi and four times no-gi. He is also a two time European champion as a blue belt. This year, he earned a silver medal at the European ADCC Trials. He trains under Professor Rodrigo Pinheiro out of San Antonio, Texas.   

Nikolaus Martinez | Rodrigo Pinheiro BJJ | December 19 | @nikolausmartinez

Martinez is 22 years old and trains under professor Rodrigo Pinheiro in San Antonio, Texas. He earned a silver medal at the IBJJF Pans and a bronze medal at the IBJJF No-Gi World Championship. He also currently ranks as the number one North American on the AJP Tour.  

Daniel Smith | Atos Jiu Jitsu Atlanta | December 16 | @danieljj.1

This year, Smith was promoted to black belt by his coaches Bruno Frazatto and Nathan Hadley, who he has been training with for the past two and half years. In 2022, Smith was especially active in the no-gi tournaments. He participated in the ADCC West Coast trials, became the No-Gi Atlanta Open weight and open class champion, and also placed third at the IBJJF No-Gi Pan American and Worlds.