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Raquel Pa’aluhi Canuto

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Submission Back Attacks Instructional by John Danaher

Raquel Pa’aluhi Canuto is a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt under Robert Drysdale and a representative of the Zenith team in the sport’s international circuit, while being also a professional mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter and title contender for the well known women’s cage fighting promotion: Invicta Fighting Championship. In jiu jitsu Raquel has conquered numerous important titles including International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation’s (IBJJF) Pan American (purple belt), No Gi World Champion (purple + blue belt) and No Gi Pan American (purple).

Raquel Pa’aluhi Canuto Jiu Jitsu

Full Name: Raquel Dayne Kaleialoha Pa’aluhi Canuto

Nickname: N/A

Lineage: Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie > Helio Gracie > Rolls Gracie > Romero Cavalcanti > Leonardo Vieira > Robert Drysdale > Raquel Pa’aluhi Canuto

Main Achievements:

  • IBJJF No Gi World Champion (2017)
  • IBJJF Long Beach International Open Champion (2017 )
  • IBJJF World Championship 2nd Place (2018)
  • IBJJF European Open 2nd Place (2018)

Main Achievements (Colored Belts):

  • IBJJF Pans Champion (2016 purple)
  • IBJJF No Gi World Champion (2016/2015 purple, 2014* blue)
  • IBJJF No Gi Pans Champion (2015 purple)
  • IBJJF Las Vegas International Open Champion (2016** purple, 2017 brown)
  • UAEJJF Abu Dhabi Grand Slam – Los Angeles Champion (2016 purple)
  • IBJJF World Championship 2nd Place (2017 brown, 2016 purple)
  • IBJJF No Gi World Championship 2nd Place (2014 blue)
  • IBJJF World Championship 3rd Place (2016*purple, 2013 blue)
  • IBJJF Pans Championship 3rd Place (2017 brown, 2015 purple)
  • IBJJF No Gi World Championship 3rd Place (2015* purple)
  • IBJJF No Gi Pans Championship 3rd Place (2015* purple)

Favorite Position/Technique: Pressure Passing

Weight Division: Peso Médio (69,00 kg / 152.5 lbs)

Team/Association: Zenith JJ

Raquel Pa’aluhi Canuto Biography

Raquel Pa’aluhi (Canuto) was born on October 14, 1990 in Wai’anae, Hawaii – United States of America where she was raised.

Being the daughter of one of Hawaii’s mixed martial arts (MMA) pioneers – David Pa’aluhi, it didn’t come as a surprise to many when little Raquel decided to start training karate at the age of 9. Pa’aluhi would later move on to freestyle wrestling during her high school years at Wai’anae High, and Jamestown College where she earned an All-American WCWA 4th place (Women’s College Wrestling Association) and a spot in Hawaii’s National Wrestling Team.

In 2009, as she finished her first year of College, 19 YO Pa’aluhi started training for MMA at Hakuilua – her family’s gym. It was at this stage that Raquel was introduced to jiu jitsu, strictly from a cage fighting perspective.
Diving straight into MMA’s deep end, Pa’aluhi faced a legion of the sport’s toughest women, including future Ultimate Fighting Champion (UFC) Amanda Nunes, and UFC title contenders Sara McMann and Raquel Pennington. The level of talent and experience she faced inside the cage made some of the holes in Raquel’s game more evident, particularly her shortcomings on the ground.

With her improvement as a mixed martial artist in mind, Raquel’s coach advised her to take a year off from fighting to focus solely on BJJ. Pa’aluhi agreed and it wasn’t long before she started training and competing in jiu jitsu, her first tournament being UAEJJF’s World Pro Trials which she won as a white belt (mixed class of white-blue belts). Going to the World Pro finals in Abu Dhabi and seeing the size of the sport helped cement Raquel’s intentions of full dedication in grappling’s competitive circuit.

Given that competitions were few and far between in Hawaii, and training was not geared towards her ambitions, in 2014 purple belt Raquel Pa’aluhi travelled to Las Vegas to train with Robert Drysdale. She fell in love with the people and the training methodology there, deciding to move to the Fight Capital of the world.

It was at Drysdale’s academy that Raquel met fellow professional athlete and Zenith BJJ representative Renato Canuto, the two would get married in 2016. On August 2017 Robert Drysdale awarded Raquel Pa’aluhi Canuto her black belt in a private dinner following her title fight for Invicta FC.

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