Atos black belt Luiza Monteiro will return to the European Jiu-Jitsu Championships in Paris, France for the first time since 2019. At that event, Luiza won gold in the medium-heavy division and took silver in the absolute. The 2X World Champion will take on the always challenging lightweight division this time around, and has her sights set on some big goals for 2023.
In 2022, Luiza was less active as a competitor. The only event she competed in was the inaugural IBJJF FloGrappling Female Grand Prix, taking third place after close matches with Janaina Lebre and Mayssa Bastos. Luiza provided insight into the challenges she faced last year.
“2022 was the hardest year of my life. I had big losses. I lost my father in June. In July I had a miscarriage and in August all of us lost Leandro Lo. 2022 was the first year that I didn’t fight at Worlds in the black belt division and that was really hard for me too. It was hard because I didn’t compete all year and I came back to the IBJJF Female GP. I gave the best I had, but I know that I was not 100% ready for a big competition. I felt that I needed more time to be 100% prepared. But it was a good experience and a good way to get ready for my next season.”
Now Luiza will return to the Europeans, a tournament in which she had one of the best performances of her career in 2019. She defeated 3X World Champion Claudia Doval in a technical battle in the medium-heavy final and also advanced to the open class final. Though Luiza lost lost a close, back and forth match to Nathiely de Jesus, she walked away with gold and silver medals after a great major championship performance.
“I’m super excited and motivated for Europeans. I feel I'm getting better and better each day. I love to compete. So let’s see how it goes.” Luiza also touched on whether or not we could see her in the open class again. “I don’t know yet. I always decide there. At the 2019 Europeans I was injured. I couldn’t train the way I wanted so I decided to just do my division. But when I got there I put my name in the open class and I got to the final. So, we never know.”
Winning gold in a black belt lightweight division is never an easy task. Current #1 ranked adult female black belt lightweight Nathalie Ribeiro will join Luiza in the division at Europeans. Their last two matches were in the 2020 Pans final and in the semifinals of the 2021 Worlds. The Pans final was a razor close 5-4 victory for Luiza, as Nathalie nearly got the win at the end but couldn’t secure the second hook from the back. At the 2021 Worlds Luiza won via 50/50 armbar.
“Nathalie is a great competitor. She has amazing jiu-jitsu that I really admire. It is always a great fight between us. So it’s always good to fight her. Let’s see how it goes.”
After an arduous 2022, Luiza is now ready to take on one of the biggest challenges of her career. As one of the winningest female black belt athletes of all time, Luiza has won gold at the Worlds, Pans, Europeans, and Brazilian Nationals, but never all in the same year.
“My goal is the Grand Slam at lightweight. I’ll do Euros, Pans, Brazilian Nationals and Worlds.”
Watch Luiza go for her first major championship gold in Paris at the IBJJF European Jiu-Jitsu Championships. The event kicks off on Monday January 23rd, and can be watched exclusively on flograppling.com.