5 Black Belts Under 25 that had No Business Being Left Off the Flo Grappling List

Published on by Jeff Chu

Photos courtesy of Mike Calimbas (http://www.mikecalimbas.com/)

Recently Flo Grappling has released a list of 25 black belts under 25, highlighting the young athletes and their various accomplishments, in order of impressiveness. Unfortunately , the article featured no women competitors, even though the five featured below have achieved more than a majority of their male counterparts. In no particular order, here are five women that definitely deserved to make it on that list:


Tammi Musumeci (American Top Team)

Tammi Musumeci was born in 1994 and is 21 years old. She is a featherweight holding both Pan American and No Gi World titles under her belt, and placed 2nd in the World Championships in 2014. Her finals in the 2014 Worlds against Michelle Niccolini garnered a lot of publicity: Tammi’s arm dislocated, yet she continued to fight until the end of the match. She has since gone on to consistently medal in prestigious tournaments such as Pans and Worlds, win the 2015 ADCC North American trials and compete in events such as Five Grappling Super League and the ADCC. As if being one of the youngest BJJ black belts wasn’t enough, Tammi is also a full time student!



Mackenzie Dern (Gracie Humaita)

Mackenzie Dern was born in 1993 and is 22 years old. Daughter to Wellington “Megaton” Dias it’s no surprise her BJJ upbringing would yield her massive success in the future. She competes as a featherweight but consistently makes an appearance in the absolute division, and has won titles in all high-caliber competitions including: Worlds, Pans, Abu Dhabi Pro Championships, ADCC, Five Grappling Super League, Europeans and No Gi Worlds. Mackenzie was also one of few women to be invited to a superfight at Copa Podio, which she won against Michelle Nicolini in 2013. She won her first black belt World title in 2015, again, against Michelle Nicolini. What makes her such an impressive fighter (besides the titles), is her fast-paced game, and given her small build, her ability to take on and win against opponents much bigger than her, evidenced by her success in the absolute division.



Dominyka Obelenyte (Alliance Marcelo Garcia)

Dominyka Obelenyte was born in 1995 and is 20 years old. She fights as a heavyweight, and has won consecutive World Championship titles in every belt, starting with blue when she was just 14 years old. Dominyka has also won Pan Americans and Europeans, and has placed in the Abu Dhabi World Championships. Her most impressive win, however, occurred at the 2015 World Championships, when she won the heavyweight and absolute divisions at her first year as black belt. Dominyka is the youngest black belt to ever double-gold at the World Championships, as well as the first European, and she is also the youngest woman on this list. She is also a full-time student, attending Columbia University in New York.


Beatriz Mesquita (Gracie Humaita)

Beatriz “Bia” Mesquita was born in 1991 and is 24 years old. She is a lightweight, and has competed and won first place in the World Championships, Pan Americans, Brazilian Nationals, No Gi Worlds and the Abu Dhabi Pro Championships. Like Mackenzie, Bia is especially impressive for her consistent participation in the absolute division. She has won the absolute division at Worlds at almost every belt level, and became a double gold medalist as a black belt in 2014, with a win against Michelle Nicolini.


Rikako Yuasa (Paraestra)

Rikako Yuasa was born in 1991 and is 24 years old. She competes as a roosterweight and holds World Championship, European and Asian Open titles, also medaling in these same tournaments as well as the Pan Americans. Like Bia and Mackenzie, Rikako showed constant participation in the absolute divisions of various tournaments, including Worlds and Pans, at lower belts.

Rikako first won Worlds as a brown belt in 2014, and then won again in 2015 as a rookie black belt, with a win over seasoned champion Gezary Matuda. She is the first Japanese woman to have won worlds as a black belt.


Thank you Mike Calimbas (http://www.mikecalimbas.com/) for all the pictures.