Raquel Pa’aluhi Canuto vs. Caitlin Huggins Adds Extra Helping of High Quality Grappling to ‘KASAI Pro’


Second-generation martial artists face off in vintage ‘West Coast-East Coast’ showdown


November 28, 2017 – New York City, NY – KASAI Elite Grappling Championships (KASAI) has added a 145-lb women’s gi contest to the ‘KASAI Pro’ main card that sees professional MMA bantamweight Raquel ‘Lionheart’ Pa’aluhi Canuto take on BJJ rising star Caitlin Huggins.

“I’m delighted to bring Raquel and Caitlin to KASAI,” said Rolles Gracie, KASAI President. “Pa’aluhi’s rich MMA experience adds a unique dimension to ‘KASAI Pro,’ while signing Huggins reinforces our commitment to uncovering lesser-known athletes.”

A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under 2005 IBJJF World Champion Robert Drysdale of Zenith Jiu-Jitsu, Pa’aluhi took the sport by-storm in 2016 when she won purple-belt IBJJF titles at the no-gi Pan American, Pan American, and no-gi World championships. In 2017, Pa’aluhi also won the IBJJF Las Vegas International Open as a brown belt and the Long Beach International Open as a black belt.

‘Lionheart’ is also a MMA fighter currently signed to Invicta Fighting Championships. Her previous opponents in the cage included former Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann and current UFC bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes. The 27-year-old Hawaiian prizefighter now trains in Las Vegas alongside her husband Renato Canuto, one of the eight men vying for lightweight gold at ‘KASAI Pro’ on December 9.

Huggins, a resident of Charleston, South Carolina, is a black belt who won silver in the absolute women’s division at the IBJJF Atlanta 2016, Atlanta 2017 and Charlotte 2017 International Open tournaments. Since first being introduced to the world of Jiu-Jitsu by her father, Joshua ‘Foca’ Miller, and multi-time BJJ masters Pan American champion Eduardo de Lima, Huggins has also earned a 2014 NAGA openweight title at brown belt. Combined, these accolades prompted the IBJJF to place Huggins in their ‘Top 50’ ranking of black-belt females.

‘KASAI Pro’ is headlined by an openweight superfight pitting ADCC 88kg (194lbs) champion Gordon Ryan against 99kg (218lbs) champion Yuri Simões. The event also features Murilo Santana versus Craig Jones and a one-night, no-gi KASAI World Lightweight Championship tournament showcasing internationally-renowned competitors Garry Tonon, Gianni Grippo, Celso Vinicius, Mansher Khera, ‘Junny’ Ocasio, AJ Agazarm, Renato Canuto and Enrico Cocco.

Tickets for ‘KASAI Pro,’ hosted at the Greenpoint Terminal Warehouse in Brooklyn, New York on December 9, are available online at kasai.ticketleap.com/kasai. Viewers can also watch ‘KASAI Pro’ live on FloGrappling.com, available online, Roku or Apple TV 4.

For the latest information on KASAI events, please visit www.kasaigrappling.com.

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KASAI Elite Grappling Championships (“KASAI”) is New York City’s premier competitive professional and amateur Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) promotion, committed to hosting amateur and professional live events featuring the most talented male and female grapplers from around the globe. Founded in 2016, KASAI’s organization includes well-renowned names from the worlds of martial arts, media production and business finance who are committed to developing the sport’s public profile and amplifying the brand of BJJ’s greatest competitors.

For more information, visit www.kasaigrappling.com, or KASAI’s FacebookTwitter and Instagram social media channels.


Contact Information

Aidan O’Connor, PR Manager, KASAI Elite Grappling Championships

Ken Gelman, COO, KASAI Elite Grappling Championships