Serena Gabrielli is an Italian grappler and a black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu under Andrea Verdemare, being also one of Europe’s most accomplished female athletes, a reputation conquered through her important wins in both the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) World Championship and the European Open. Gabrielli is also an instructor at the Flo Jiu Jitsu Academy. Serena Gabrielli Jiu Jitsu Full Name: Serena Gabrielli Nickname: N/A Lineage: Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie > Helio Gracie > Carlos Gracie Junior > Carlos Lemos > Federico Tisi > Andrea Verdemare > Serena Gabrielli Main Achievements: IBJJF World Champion (2015 brown) IBJJF European Open Champion (2017 black, 2015 brown) IBJJF London International Open Champion (2013 purple) IBJJF London Winter International Open (2015 brown) IBJJF Rome International Open (2015 brown, 2014 purple) IBJJF European Open Championship Runner-up (2012 purple) IBJJF European Open Championship 3rd Place (2016 black, 2014 purple) IBJJF World Championship 3rd Place (2016 black) IBJJF London International Open Championship 3rd Place (2014 brown, 2012 purple) Favorite Position/Technique: Open Guard Weight Division: Peso Galo (48,50 kg / 127.0 lbs) Team/Association: Flow JJ Serena Gabrielli Biography Serena Gabrielli was born on March 16, 1987 in Rome – Italy, growing up in the suburb of Primavalle, one of the poorer areas of the city. Her interest for martial arts started at the age of 18, when Serena joined a ju-jutsu class (often referred to as traditional or Japanese ju-jutsu) near her home. Her dedication in this combat system led Serena to earn her black belt by the time she reached 22. On the same day of her ju-jutsu promotion, she met and befriended a Brazilian jiu jitsu instructor by the name of Andrea Verdemare. Serena studied jiu jitsu and enjoyed the adaptability of the sport, as well as its application to live sparring, and within 1 month she became embedded in the ground game, deciding then to put her ju-jutsu black belt to rest and start fresh as a white belt in BJJ. Although Federico Tisi (Italy’s first black belt) was Serena’s first official coach, her grappling career was closely followed by coach Verdemare from the very beginning, and it was he who promoted Gabrielli in all belts (blue graduation a collaborated effort with Tisi). This included Serena’s black belt promotion on July 12, 2015 – just after she won the IBJJF World Championship. Although Serena is not Italy’s first female black belt, she did become the country’s first high level competitor in the women’s division and one of the most accomplished in Europe. Cover photo by Margherita Borsano.