Toro Cup 20 was held April 30, 2022 at Toro HQ in Durham, NC.  The event started off with a bang.  Two Toro Cup veterans, Valerie Martinez (Lake Jiu Jitsu) and Samantha Schell (Schell Shock BJJ) started off with a fast-paced, intense nogi match.  Martinez got the win with a knee bar at 4:45, moving her Toro Cup record to 3-1.  

MMA Veteran, Shelton Sales (Combat Athletics) picked up a win with a dominating performance over a very tough Isaiah Monroe (Team ROC), 15-0.   Sales moves his Toro Cup record to 3-0, putting himself into title contention.  

Former Toro Cup Light Weight Champion, Daniel Charles Frank (Revolution BJJ), returned to Toro Cup with an impressive win over Desmund Reid, 13-2.  Frank moves his Toro Cup record to 8-2.

Sarah Woods (Chapel Hill Gracie Jiu Jitsu) weathered a ferocious storm from Paolo Gibbs (Nomad Jiu Jitsu) defending a tight triangle and vicious arm bar attacks.  Woods held strong and earned the tap at 3:12 via collar choke.

MMA legend, Wilson Reis (G13) became the inaugural Toro Cup Masters Lightweight Champion with a brabo choke against long time Toro Cup fighter, Cody Maltais (Elevate MMA).  The two battled back and forth before Reis forced Maltais to tap at the 6:55 mark.

Adrienne Saunders (Revolution BJJ) received a $100 submission bonus for her quick heel hook submission over Aswini Cherukuri (Elevate MMA) at :52.   That’s two wins in a row and two submission bonuses for Saunders.

Also earning submission bonuses for wins under 1:20 were Xzavier Atkinson (TFTC Academy) with a knee bar against Joey Ward (ZR Team) at 1:00.  As well as Nyla Harris (Mongrel BJJ) with a :35 arm bar over Elizabeth Turner (Grappling Club).  

The most entertaining match of the day was between blue belts, Rebecca Jones (ZR Team) and Audrey Copeland (Triangle Jiu Jitsu).  These two had an intensity and fantastic pace that the crowd loved.  Each clearly train Judo as well as Jiu Jitsu, as they wanted to bomb one another through the mat!  Jones came away with the victory via armbar at the 5:45 mark.

Other notable wins were earned by Braylon Manuel (Diego Bispo) moving his Toro Cup record to 5-2.  Philip Paynter (Next Element Academy) moved to 3-0, while his teammate, Ethan Daily moved to 2-1.   

Toro Cup commentator and former champ, Andrew Bitner, put down his headphones and returned to the mats to renew his rivalry with Bobby Gurley.  These big men put on a great show.  Bitner improved to 9-2 on Toro Cup.  He has the most wins in Toro Cup history.

The Corbe Brothers, Deandre and Gavin (Standard BJJ) were back on the famous “blue” Toro Cup mats.  Deandre had a long, tough fight against an always game competitor, Evan Arredondo.  Deandre forced Arredondo to tap to a heel hook after nine minutes of intense action. Gavin Corbe took on the “Giant Slayer” Estevan Martinez.  They had a wild, fast paced fight that ended with Gavin earning a 2-0 win.  

Toro Cup 20 raised $3,154 for the Autism Society of NC.  This brings Toro Cup’s total donations to over $50,000. 

Toro Cup 21 is scheduled for July 30, 2022.  Interested competitors should apply at

Full Toro Cup 20 Results: 

​1. Valerie Martinez def Samantha Schell via Knee Bar 4:45
2. Kondwani Khonje def Edward "Scott" Acosta, Jr. via Arm Lock 8:00
3. Marco Albuquerque def Tommy Cuozzi via Arm Bar 9:53
4. Amber Epps def Kari Lennon 2-0
5. Shelton Sales def Isaiah Monroe 15-0
6. Chanan Holloman def Jesse Royall 2:20 RNC
7. Gracie Grecco def Jessica Carter in OT, 2-0
8. Michael Karayiannis def Kevin Masterson, 13-2
9. Christian O'Brien def Justin Hale via injury default
10.  Annika GodinGreen def Ranndi Bitner via Omoplata 7:01
11. Joshua James def Tucker Peace 9-0
12. Daniel Charles Frank def Desmund Reid 13-2
13. Sarah Woods def Paola Gibbs via Collar Choke 3:12
14. Andrew Bitner def Bobby Gurley via Arm Bar 5:42
15. Aren Besson def Trenton Blaine due to "no show"
16. Melissa Connors def Aylissa St. John-Dorsey 7-0
17. Jonah Paasche-Orlow def Keijon James 10-0
18. Wilson Reis def Cody Maltais via Brabo Choke 6:55
    Reis becomes the Toro Cup Masters Lightweight Champion
19. Cidney Davis def Brianna Milholand via Arm Bar 2:25
20. Carson Quinene def Christian Massaro via Triangle 6:27
21. Adrienne Saunders def Aswini Cherukuri via Heel Hook :52
    Saunders won $100 for a submission under 1:20
22. Xzavier Atkinson def Joey Ward via Knee Bar 1:00
    Atkinson won $100 for a submission under 1:20
23. Ethan Daily def Dylan Martin in OT 2-0 
24. Shawna Barrow def Shannon McKenna via Bow & Arrow 7:50
25. Trevor Price def Sam Slyman via Ankle Lock 2:30
26. Clinton Stanley def Roland Mizell via Arm Bar 7:32
27. Nyla Harris def Elizabeth Turner via Arm Bar :35
    Harris won $100 for a submission under 1:20 
28. Deandre Corbe def Evan Arredondo via Heel Hook 9:27
29. Ryan Oakley def Chris Stepanski 9-0
30. Lydia Bergamasco def Colleen Daly 11-0
31. Philip Paynter def Wyatt Chapman via Arm Bar 8:43
32. R. Jimenez def Owen Tipton 17-2
33. Rebecca Jones def Audrey Copeland via Arm Bar 5:45
34. Marco Fuentes def Jose Scope via Guillotine 8:40
35. George Stephens def Michael Murray via Triangle 5:01
36. Elizabeth Dollason def Jenna Kazmierczak 9-0
37. Jared Fekete def Rayyan Naz via Arm Bar 3:55
38. Gavin Corbe def Estevan Martinez 2-0
39. Barbara Blanchart def Amaya Harris 4-2
40. Joshua Grubbs def Luke Humphreys via Arm Bar 1:38
41. Anastasia Kouloganes def Zoe Perissos via Kimura 7:35
42. Braylon Manuel def Robert Somersette 10-0

July 31, 2022

Durham, NC: Toro Cup was back in action with their 21st event presented by Gov Smart, Saturday, July 30, 2022.  
There were 38 action packed matches, highlighted with a World Title match between Gabriel Sousa and Gavin Corbe.

The day started off with two Toro Cup vets, Michael Costello (ZR Team) and Alex Lahman (TJJ), battling for 5 straight minutes until Costello forced Lahman to tap due to an arm lock. 

  Jillian Chalke (Checkmat Charlotte) bumped her Toro Cup record to 3-1 with a speedy 1:21 arm bar over Maggie Jones (ZR Team).  Chalke earned a $100 bonus for a submission  at 1:21 or under.

In a match up of brown belts, Timothy Carrico (Lake JJ) moved to an impressive 5-1 record on TC with a 2:07 arm bar over Joe Coleman (Verity BJJ).

Summer Carpenter (Charlotte JJ) improved her TC record to 3-3 with a quick and impressive win over the previously undefeated Anastasia Kouloganes, 2-1 (Standard JJ) with an arm bar at 1:03.  Carpenter picked up the $100 bonus for a submission  at 1:21 or under.

Philip Paynter (The Next Element Academy) continued his undefeated streak at Toro Cup.  The nogi specialist had a very game opponent in Trevor Price (Standard JJ).  The action was back and forth with Paynter moving his TC record to 4-0 with the RNC victory at 7:40.  

Active east coast competitor, Nicole Mathew (Method Jiu Jitsu) made her Toro Cup debut versus the always tough, Taylor Sausser (Gustavo Machado).  Mathew was aggressive and came to fight.  Sausser was extremely game and battled back with strong attacks.  They had a constant give and take but at the 8:47 mark Mathew forced Sausser to tap due to a belly down ankle lock, dropping her TC record to 6-3

Jairod James (Diego Bispo), came in with a strong grappling background, including a NCAA Div 3 National Championship and a Division 1 second place. His opponent, Zach Mor (The Next Element Academy) proved to be a worthy opponent, displaying some strong wrestling of his own.  The action was fast paced. James came out with the RNC victory at 3:58.

Possibly the most impressive performance of the day came from Josh Grubbs (Revolution BJJ).  Grubbs was the heavy underdog against the always tough, D’Juan Owens (Elevate MMA).  Grubbs hit Owens with a quick double leg and from that point Grubbs was in complete control.  Forcing Owens to tap due to an awkward looking nogi baseball choke.   Grubbs moved his TC record to 4-0, while Owens fell to 5-2. 

Aren Besson (G13) returned to the signature “blue mats” of Toro Cup with a dominant victory over Dahlion Poteat (Inman Health and Fitness).  Besson took charge from the start and kept attacking for 3:12, at which time Poteat was forced to tap due to a bow & arrow choke.

The crowd got an incredible treat when Vinicius Coimbra (ZR Team) and Andrew Kochel (Valley Jiu Jitsu) WENT AT IT for 10 minutes.  The level of nogi Jiu Jitsu displayed was outstanding.  Each of these men wanted to win.  The match ended with a 2-0 victory due to a sweep, giving Coimbra the win.  

Alicia Price (Checkmat Charlotte) earned a quick victory over April Price (Wisconsin Elite Team) with a slick loop choke at 1:47.

 Two young and upcoming purple belts, Milo Ketterhagen (Caseraz JJ) and Mike Murray (Davidson County BJJ) had a fast and furious match.   Murray set up a sneaky baseball choke, while on bottom.  Ketterhagen moved to mount and his face began to turn pink, then red….yet he fought through it.  Murray was fully committed to the baseball choke.   Ketterhagen’s face turned an even brighter shade of red and then purple.  The crowd was nervous.  Suddenly Ketterhagen fell perpendicular to Murray and nailed a straight arm bar.  Murray was forced to tap at 2:12.  Ketterhagen moved to 2-0.  Murray to 0-1.

Is anyone paying attention to Adrienne Saunders?  The young blue belt now has 3 straight Toro Cup victories.  All by heel hook.  Her opponent, Rebecca Jones, is a tough, gritty competitor.  Saunders forced Jones to tap at the 1:33 mark.   Saunders previous Toro Cup match times:  1:00 and :52.  Wow. 

The main event: Sousa vs Corbe.   Corbe was coming off a victory over Sousa’s ZR teammate, Estevan “The Giant Slayer” Martinez at Toro Cup 20.  Sousa was focused from the moment the match began.  The scrambles were frequent and skillful.   In the end, Sousa retained his Lightweight Nogi World Title with a 4-2 victory.  Sousa moved his TC record to 2-0, while Corbe fell to 6-1.

Do yourself a favor.  Go to FloGrappling and find this match.  

Toro Cup 22 is scheduled for October 22, 2022 at Toro HQ, 124 Latta Rd, Durham, NC.

Apply for a chance to compete:

Toro Cup 21: Sousa Vs Corbe