14 Reasons Why You’d be Stupid to Miss EBI 12: The Female Flyweights

ebi 12

If you’re thinking, “EBI 12? Nah it’s just a women’s event.” I have one thing to say to you: Y’ fu*ing kidding me?

Seriously, are you?!


EBI is back for round 12 with a mega stacked card of talent across the board. And if you’re really a fan of Jiu Jitsu competition, you’ll think “Holy shiiiiiiiiiiiiit!” loudly out of your mouth when you see who’s in this one.


Each competitor is game AF and the tournament is set to resemble that TV show Robot Wars, where Nerds control robots and fight with buzz saws, except without nerds or lame robots. Just buzz saws – buzz saws ‘n’ rash guards.


I’ve listed all 14 IBJJF champions, sub only grapplers and MMA fighters who’ll be competing below, along with a bit of a break down, to show you why you’d be an absolute fu*ing banana to miss it.



EBI 12: The Female Flyweights Line up


1. Erin Herle

 Erin Herle

Erin is super a tough and super competitive brown belt representing Cobrinha JJ in California, who recently claimed bronze at this year’s IBJJF Worlds in the lightweight division.


She’s known for playing a modern Jiu Jitsu game utilising the spider guard and spider guard variants of the DLR and single leg X.


Although these position work well in her gi game, she doesn’t rely on them like a crutch and in the past has shown to have an all over game in nogi competition, taking the IBJJF Nogi World’s in 2015.


Erin is also a fellow writer who claims grammar correction as one of her hobbies. Despite the fact she gone cruicify me and my grammar if she ever reads my work, and my long arse sentences, I’m very excited to see her compete in this tournament.


2. Erin “Cold Blooded” Blanchfield


Erin won double gold at nogi Pan Ams in 2016 as a blue belt before receiving her purple belt later that year. And at the young age of 18, she has already amassed a record in other combat sports such as Muay Thai and Combat Jiu Jitsu.


Recently, Erin has been putting in rounds at Renzo Gracie’s academy in preparation for the tournament. As team RGA already has a successful background in the EBI format, training with those sharks should help reduce the experience gap she faces.


3. Kristina Barlaan

kristina barlaan (Image Source: digitsu.com)

Barlaan, a competitor you could say is near flawless in her technique, definitely isn’t a stranger to the elite level of competition.


Being a black belt under Caio Terra means you have to be on your game technique wise, and this is one of the reasons I always look forward to seeing her compete.


Kristina’s guard is one of the best and I think her established competitive game will transfer well into the EBI format.


In previous nogi competitions, notably against fellow EBI competitor Pati Fontes, she has been seen to utilise inversion techniques to set up leg attacks – a successful tactic for the EBI rule set.


She is also one of the only competitors, which I have seen, to use the spider guard successfully nogi competition.


(Disclaimer: that spider guard claim is based from what I’ve seen in my experience. You may be awesome at nogi spider guard and if you are, I’m super happy for you. I just haven’t seen you do it. So please, reserve your hate mail for other pressing matters, like my wordy sentences or my cool haircut)


4. Pati Fontes

 pati fontes phalanx

A black belt under Lucas Leite, Pati’s most notable nogi performances include gold at IBJJF Nogi World’s in both 2015 and 2016.


Patricia is very active on the competitive scene; mixing it up between gi and nogi, facing Kristina Barlaan on a number of occasions.


She has a very good guard, which she uses well against larger opponents, however, isn’t shy to play an aggressive passing game or work for submissions from the top.

(Image Source: phalanx.com)








5. Talita Alencar

 talita alencar flograpplingTalita Alencar recently won gold at the 2017 world’s representing Cobrinha and team Alliance. She is no stranger to the EBI rule set, competing against Lila Smadja in a super fight at EBI 5.


Alencar has a two-fold pressure game: 1) she is relentless in pushing the pace 2) her pressure game on top is quite solid.


She favours head and arm control in top positions to impose pressure and/or pass with the knee slice.

                                                                                                                                   (Image Source: Flograppling)


6. Livia Gluchowska


(Image Source: BJJ Spirits Japan)

Despite the fact Livia lives on the other side of the world from most elite competitions, she has a shit ton of notable accolades, such as gold at world’s at blue and brown, silver at purple and gold at the nogi world’s as a purple belt.


Livia, her team and coaches are very scientific in regards to their training and breaking down positions. This shows in her precision guard play and the ability to capitalise on her opponent’s weakness within their own technique.


Livia is very flexible and dexterous, which plays a big part in her dynamic open guard game. Recently, she began incorporating wrestling into her training schedule to compliment her guard with a strong tactical tool, improving the percentage of success in takedowns and scrambles.


In addition to this, Livia has a hankering for the footlock game, especially when heel hooks are on the menu. And with teammates like EBI vets Craig Jones and fiancé Lachlan Giles, there’s bound to some kind of foot fetish in the mix.


7. Tammi Musumeci


musumici flograppling

(Image Source: Flograppling)

I think it may be my Italian heritage, but I love to say her last name: Musumeci, Musumeci, Musumeciiiiiiiiiiiii.


Ok, now that I’ve got that off my chest. Tammi is a highly skilled competitor with a few high level wins under her belt, including Pan Ams this year and gold at the nogi world’s 2013 and 2015. Musumeci also showed us the meaning of tough when her arm cracked and dislocated inside a Nicolini armbar, to which she her reaction was “Whatevs.”


Musumeci utilises solid basics in nogi like kimuras and armbars from the closed guard. She also attacks with a nogi modified bermibolo game, using an over hook on the de la riva side, hunting for the back, or, the omoplata if her opponent resists the initial back take.


Musumeci is great with transitions. If an opponent attacks a footlock to counter her berimbolo, she looks to either further the transition and escape into a single leg take down from the knees or return the attack with a footlock of her own after transitioning into the 50/50 or a similar variant.


8. Olympia Watts

olympia watts twitter

Olympia claimed bronze this year at Pan Ams after earning her brown belt from Gracie Barra legend Draculinho in December 2016.


Most of the competition footage I found predominantly feature her blue belt career, and as strategy and technique change immensely from blue to brown, I don’t really want to make assumptions on her game.


However, she does come from a gym known for being super tough, blending old school concepts with modern techniques, so I am sure she will be looking to impose herself aggressively in her approach.


9. Lila Smadja

Lila smadja bjjheroes

(Image Source: BJJ Heroes) 

An EBI veteran, Smadja is a brown belt under none other than the Edgy Brah himself.


Smadja prefers sub only competition, opposed to IBJJF comps, as her skill set is a perfect match.


One of the many 10th Planet members to incorporate leg locks into her game she has been seen to set up heel hook submission during guard passing plays and scrambles.


This being said, the high elbow guillotine is one of her go to attacks and one that I have seen her finish many a match with. Smadja also has a systematic approach to arm locks, in that once the traditional armbar is secured she looks to increase the control, leverage and pressure applied to the arm via the use of her legs – reminiscent of those dexterous, biceps crushing legs of her coach, Eddie B.


Keep an eye out for guillotines, heel hooks and armbars from the guard. All of which should look painful AF.


10. Katherine Shen

 katherine shen

(Image Source: Eddie Bravo’s Instagram)

A purple belt under 10th Planet black belt Richie “Boogie” Martinez, Shen won the in house EBI 12 qualifier held at 10th Planet HQ.


I wasn’t able to find much footage of Shen competing, however, from what I have gained she is super flexible (like all 10th planet members) and has a knack for navigating herself out of bad positions (even sub attempts) where she then sets to mount an attack of her own.


Shen stated that she hasn’t faced a black belt in competition yet, but judging by the qualifiers at 10th Planet HQ, she definitely deserves to be there.


11. Gabi McComb

mccomb flograppling

(Image Source: Flograppling)


McComb is definitely one to watch, both in this tournament and in her future career.


Winning double gold at the 2016 World’s as a purple belt, she is now making heavy waves as a brown belt.


From what I’ve seen in her blue and purple belt matches, she opts for lapel grips to set up her sweeps and transitions, an option obviously unavailable to her at EBI 12. However, her top game features heavy pressure passing, which stretches her opponent out and doesn’t allow them the option of inverting to effectively attack her legs during the pass.


Based on what I’ve heard about McComb, I’m really looking forward to seeing her in this competition.


12. Gabby “the Kraken” Romero

kraken romero

Romero is an MMA fighter and a Jiu Jitsu black belt out of Clube Hollywood BJJ/Legacy BJJ.


Romero recently lost her last fight in Invicta 24 on the 15th of July, which takes her pro record to 2-2, while her amateur record stands at 2–1.


What’s interesting about her record, in terms of EBI, is that all of her MMA wins have come from submission victories: 3 armbars and 1 rear naked choke. This suggests that Romero is comfortable in her grappling skills and has solid composure. I mean, to win all of your fights by submission, while someone is trying to punch and kick the shit out of your face is definitely a stellar attribute.



13. Fiona “The Black Widow” Watson


(Image Source: notoriousbjj.com)

Fiona Watson is a black belt under Marcio Bittencourt at Fight Club BJJ/Notorious MMA where she is also one of the head instructors.


Watson is no stranger to high-level submission grappling competition; winning gold and silver at ADCC America and silver at nogi world’s in 2016.


From the limited competition footage I was able to find, Watson appears to have a solid guard game for nogi competition and is able to secure a devastating triangle.


14. Rachael Cummins


Another MMA fighter in the mix is Rachael Cummins fighting out of Gracie Fighter Dojo.


It was difficult to find footage of Cummins in sub grappling competition, however, footage from her MMA career suggests she has a solid closed guard game.


Cummins’s MMA record currently stands at 3-2 professional and 2-3 as an amateur, 4 wins via submission. (2 armbars, 1 triangle, 1 rear naked choke)


Again, like Romero, being able to apply submission when your opponent is trying to make your face the shape of the mat takes composure and can be a definite advantage for her to capitalise on.

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