Melissa Cueto is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Leo Morosetti, having also worked extensively with Diego Unfer, who represented the Unfer BJJ Academy in the sport’s international circuit for many years, later joining the Gracie Humaitá team as well as the Alliance Academy. Widely regarded as one of the top grappling athletes of her generation, Melissa’s notoriety was conquered while competing in the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) international circuit, particularly after her World Championships title (2021).
Melissa Cueto Jiu-Jitsu
Full Name: Melissa Stricker Cueto
Nickname: Cueto is often referenced as “Mel”, which is short for Melissa.
Lineage: Carlos Gracie > Helio Gracie > Carlson Gracie > Amauri Bitetti > Marcio Pinheiro > Leo Morosetti > Melissa Cueto
- 1st Place IBJJF World Championship (2021)
- 1st Place IBJJF Pan Championship (2022)
- 1st Place UAEJJF Gramado Pro (2019**)
- 2nd Place IBJJF American Nationals (2019)
- 3rd Place IBJJF World Championship (2019)
- 3rd Place Brazilian Nationals (2019)
Main Achievements (Colored Belts):
- 1st Place IBJJF World Championship (2018 brown)
- 1st Place IBJJF South American Championship (2016 / 2017purple)
- 1st Place IBJJF South Brazilian Championship (2015 / 2016)
- 1st Place Brazilian Nationals (2018 brown)
- 2nd Place Brazilian Nationals (2014 blue, 2016* / 2017 purple)
- 2nd Place IBJJF South American Championship (2016* / 2017* purple)
- 3rd Place IBJJF South Brazilian Championship (2016*)
- 3rd Place Brazilian Nationals (2016 purple)
Favorite Position/Technique: Spider Guard
Weight Division: Meio-Pesado (74,00 kg / 163.5 lbs)
Melissa Cueto Biography
Melissa Cueto was born on June 21, 1990, in Pelotas, a municipality in the Brazilian State of Rio Grande do Sul.
Growing up Melissa practiced a range of sporting activities, with her first steps on-to martial arts taking place during her early teens, through taekwondo, the Olympic striking martial art/combat sport developed in Korea. Cueto practiced TKD for three years and it was there that she created a taste for competition.
Although always interested in jiu-jitsu, Melissa’s parents were dead against the idea of their daughter grappling, associating this martial art with violent behavior – a reputation BJJ earned during the 1990s decade due to the violent culture of the sport in Rio de Janeiro at the time. It was the fact that Cueto’s parents were so averse to BJJ that led Melissa to TKD, as a replacement for her grappling ambitions. With time, however, Melissa managed to convince the couple to sign her on to jiu-jitsu, which finally happened at the age of 17. From then onwards, Cueto dedicated herself solely to BJJ.
Antônio Pedro Dias (Kapincho) was Melissa’s first instructor and the man who guided her from white to brown belt, a time when Cueto developed into one of Brazil’s brightest colored belt athletes, with medals at the highest level in the sport. As she grew in the sporting facet of jiu-jitsu, Melissa’s relationship with her coach deteriorated and while looking for guidance, she found Leonardo Morosetti of Thork Jiu-Jitsu, who she had known since her blue belt days. Coach Morosetti took Cueto under his wing, going on to promote the bright young competitor to black belt in December 2018. Later in 2019, Melisa would join forces with Diego Unfer, a representative of the RMNU Association.
In 2021, Melissa joined the Alliance Association, representing the team on the international circuit from then on.