Checkmat breakout star Thamires Monteiro talks Pan 2021 gold

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Photo: Personal Archive

Women’s jiu-jitsu has been growing fast, and one effect of this is noticeable in IBJJF events. From the blue belt up to the brown – where Thamires Monteiro competes – women are more professional and standing out more.

A few weeks ago, Thamires shone at the 2021 Pan, held in Orlando, Florida. The young Checkmat star defeated three opponents to bag the gold medal in the lightweight division. In the final, she scored ten points on Joanna Christine (Tac Team BJJ).

“I did three fights in the division; no points or advantages were scored against me in the course of the competition,” Thamires said in a recent interview. “I was able to put my whole game into action. I was one step ahead of the other girls.”

She trains at Checkmat La Habra, in California, alongside her husband, the black-belt Jackson Douglas. The 23-year-old Thamires dreams of becoming a strong black-belt. She trains under Lucas Leite, who is charged with shaping her way of fighting. At the Pan, for example, her way of conducting matches was quite clear – always scoring as much as possible until reaching a submission.

“The training is fully focused on competition: specific training and brawling,” she said with a laugh. “I love guard-passing; it’s my favorite game! But it’s been a while since I started challenging myself on the bottom, and it’s going well… I confess I even like it!”

Thamires then shared some thoughts on the growth of women’s BJJ: “I believe we’re on the right path to gaining our due recognition, but changes take time. Each passing year, the quantity of girls in competitions goes up, which really helps bring visibility to women’s BJJ. Big events like Fight to Win, BJJ Stars, BJJ Bet are including girls in their events. Of course it’s still one or two women’s fights to a card with five men’s fights, but it’s getting better. The more women we have in the competitive jiu-jitsu scene, the more visibility we’ll have and, consequently, the more opportunities. I hope.”

In the course of her career, Thamires has won gold medals in the American Nationals (weight and absolute), Brazilians Nationals and Pan.

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