The Power Couples of BJJ- Rolling in Love

The Power Couples of BJJ- Rolling in Love


Brazilian jiu-jitsu cultivates a kind of an all-consuming lifestyle. As such, it’s no surprise the bjj superstars often find love on the matt. However since the last time (our initial article on BJJ couples from 2014) we discussed the woes of bjj coupledom there have been some developments.

As it turns out the strain of transitioning into MMA was too much for Mackenzie Dern and her, then fiancé, Augusto Tanquinho Mendes.


The multiple world and ADCC champion Michelle Nicolini also ended her courtship with 3rd place finisher in the brown belt division at the 2016 Pan Ams– Philippe Pomaski.

The two lovebirds of Cicero Costa academy – Leandro Lo and Luiza Monteiro have also ended their relationship but this doesn’t bar them from picking up medals left and right. They notably competed in the couple challenge against another former couple, Dern and Mendes.

Photo: Tatame

Photo: Tatame

The Polish power couple, Maciej Kozak and Irena Preiss also ended the romantic relationship. Irena is notably, one of the best referees around.

Australia’s first female black belt, Sophia Drysdale and the widely celebrated champion Robert found themselves at an impasse. We hear they divorced recently.




Similarly, Andre Galvao Is in Abu Dhabi for the World Pro 2016 enjoying the support of his wife. His wife Angelica Galvao, a black belt, who is currently recuperating from a knee surgery following an injury acquired in post training conditioning session.


Hannette Stack and Andre Negao keep on rocking for the Brazil 021 team. Hannette is still very active in groundswell grappling camp where she works alongside other female bjj powerhouses Val Worthington, Emily Kwok and Lola Newsom.


Mario Reis and Monique Elias are doing good. As it turns out marrying your student is not so bad after all. They’ve been married for a while now. While Mario Reis is a world class featherweight competitor Monique is a former model who has won the worlds at all belt levels.


The founder of Gracie Barra Hungary, Max Carvalho also enjoys the benefits of love found on the matt and he is enjoying spending time with Teresa Souza, a brown belt.

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Additionally, there are other couples ready to be included on this list:

Caroline De Lazzer and Marcos de Oliveira made it onto our radar. Caroline is a bjj black belt and was a pre-Olympic team member in wrestling. The World title winner in 2006 is enjoying spending time with Marcos, who made it to the Brazilian national team in both judo and wrestling. He’s since become a bjj black belt under Ricardo Liborio and a founder of the Abu Dhabi Top Team.

The founder of Inverted Gear, Nelson Puentes is also enjoying in bjj in the company of his wife, black belt Hillary Puentes. They also run the Bamboo jiu-jitsu academy  out of Pennsylvania together.

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Notable competitor Keenan Cornelius is nowadays enjoying spending time with his blue belt girlfriend, Monet Babazadeh.

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Ryan Hall and his wife Jen run the 5050 gym together and they’re yet another couple successfully braving both the sport, business and romantic woes.

Far from the Ryans, back in Europe Laurence Foulliat and her husband Erwan run Ribeiro jiu-jitsu France. While Laurence is a black belt, Erwan is at the brown belt level. They should both be in Abu Dhabi for the World Pro.




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Fitness model and world class black belt, Monique Ricardo also enjoys the company of her husband on the matt, Eddie Ricardo bjj black belt of Cobra Jiu-Jitsu ended up introducing her to the world of bjj in the first place. Through the guidance of Ricardo and sheer talent Monique managed to pull of some truly impressive athletic accomplishments.

monique bjj


Tyler and Jena Bishop are still going strong. They are both instructors at Gracie Humaita St. Louis in Missouri. While Tyler Bishop is a Royler Gracie black belt, his wife has already been awarded her black belt way back in 2013.

The finish power couple, Santeri Lilius and Emilia Tuukkanen, appear to be going strong. She recently wrote about woes of dating another bjj practitioner for the bjj style magazine.

sanetri emilia

That leaves us with the power couple from Holland: Laura Hondorp & Jordy Peute,  Jordy remains one of the best black belt rooster weights in the worlds. He’s known for giving Caio Terra a hard time while Laura remains multiple European champion as well as an ADCC vet.

Photo: Jean Scheijen www.vierdrie.nl

Photo: Jean Scheijen www.vierdrie.nl