FEBRUARY 27, 2021 – Austin, Texas, witnessed another Who’s Number 1 event, the 6th edition of the popular FloGrappling show, and the 5th straight featuring no-gi jiu-jitsu. It was also the 4th headlining a member of the Danaher Death Squad, with the headliner of the next event already disclosed another DDS showdown between Gordon Ryan and Fight Sport’s Vagner Rocha in a no-gi ruleset.
Although with interesting match-ups on order last night – particularly the black belt debut of Art Of Jiu-Jitsu phenom, Jessa Khan – most of the mat action was overshadowed by the slapping incident between Gordon Ryan and Atos Academy’s head coach André Galvão. If you follow any type of social media in this sport, you won’t have missed the ongoing feud between these two members of the grappling community. Keeping a long story short, yesterday, after his match Gordon extended his hand to Galvão receiving “the middle finger” in return. As Ryan returned backstage to perform his after-match interview, André approached and appeared to push DDS’s unofficial team captain, that exchange was met with a slap by Ryan. The two continued to argue until separated.
With that out of the way, we return to the matches. The card offered fun, forward-moving jiu-jitsu for the fans, with the match between Gabrielle Garcia and Nathiely de Jesus, arguably, the most fun to follow out of the bunch, in terms of a two-sided war. In our opinion, the match of the night. The fast-paced action and work-rate these two athletes put forth should be commended. It is not every day we see two heavyweight competitors maintain the level of intensity and the pace seen by Gabi and Nathiely. For a more in-depth analysis of the action, check the results below.
– Elder Cruz DEF. Jacob Couch via decision
Checkmat La Habra’s “El Monstro” laid out the blueprint on how to compete against a superior leg-locker. Knees on the ground, fantastic distance management, and forward pressure proved to work perfectly against the very talented Hillbilly Hammer, an athlete BJJ Heroes classed as the Purple Belt Breakthrough of 2020.
After a very even 13 minutes of mat time, Cruz broke through Couch’s guard, establishing a pass and a back-take to seal a decision win in his favor.
– Jessa Khan DEF. Danielle Kelly via decision
A barrage of attacks by Khan over Danielle who showed solid defensive skills but was never able to set up any worthy attacks of her own.
Overall, Jessa threw everything but the kitchen sink at Kelly, going for guillotines, inside and outside heel hooks, straight ankle locks, toe-hold, kneebar, armbar, the works, all this while also conquering a sweep, mount control, and back control on the Silver Fox pupil. Kelly had a successful single-leg takedown in the match but overall a very worthy debut by the AOJ athlete which left us eager to see Khan back on the mats soon.
– Andrew Wiltse DEF. PJ Barch via decision
Although this match-up promised to be a barn-burner on paper, it did not deliver the excitement we had anticipated. Oddly, we would not attribute this diminished fun-factor to the athletes involved as both showed eagerness to engage.
Two extremely even athletes in terms of technical ability and physicality who simply could not break through each other’s defenses. PJ was committed to passing with a lead-leg (knee-cut stance), a style met by Wiltse’s strong reverse DLR game. Andrew did have more offensive moments in the match, with a handful of single-leg sweep attempts, but Barch’s very solid wrestling background blocked the Pedigo Academy’s athlete from finishing. In the end a decision win for Wiltse.
– Geo Martinez DEF. Junny Ocasio via decision
Another match with two evenly matched grapplers. On a tangent, Ocasio showed up with what looked like an homage to Jean Jacque Machado’s ADCC uniform (loose t-shirt and black shorts).
Martinez is exceptional from his back but opted to work from a passing position – something we’ve seen consistently for the past few years, playing on the counter-attack, looking for the back from Junny’s leg attacks.
With no clear victor after regulation time, Martinez was appointed the winner by the judges.
– Nathiely de Jesus DEF. Gabi Garcia via decision
If you were expecting your standard Gabi Garcia crushing half-guard pressure performance you were gravely mistaken. The multiple-time ADCC champ came not only to win but to put on a show, working over-time to pass the crafty guard of Nathiely from a standing position while always looking to attack Jesus’ feet, keeping the action rolling throughout the 15 minutes of the match.
Nathiely showed solid footlocking defense, taking Garcia’s submission attempts as opportunities to come on top and try her passing game. These dynamics transformed this match into a backward-and-forward match that was very exciting to follow.
Although deep in quite a few heel-hooks and straight ankle locks, both grapplers showed a lack of experience with the finishing mechanisms necessary to take the W via submission. Near the end of the match, one of Garcia’s tight ankle lock attempts exposed her back, an opportunity taken by Nathiely. Gabrielle ultimately escaped, but the dominant position achieved by the former Cicero Costha pupil likely swayed the judges in her favor in an otherwise even match.
– Gordon Ryan DEF. Roberto Jimenez via armbar
In the co-main event, Ryan once again showed why he is universally regarded as the best no-gi grappler in the sport. Going up against the dangerous Jimenez, Gordon laid out the efficiency of clean jiu-jitsu technique and correct combat structure.
Gordon’s first interaction with Jimenez had the American pulling guard, effortlessly placing Roberto in the saddle-position using his butterfly hooks, sweeping, applying a picture-perfect knee-cut pass from half-guard, mounting and attacking the arm of Roberto via S-mount. Incredible finesse and timing against a world-class athlete.
The first attempt didn’t fully work as Jimenez managed to narrowly escape the arm attack. Ryan went back to work, applying a similar sequence which ended with a match-ending armbar. Spectacular.
– Craig Jones DEF. Ronaldo Junior via inside heel-hook (from 5050)
Ronaldo approached this match from a passing stance but didn’t look comfortable engaging with the Australian at a close range, opting for distance passing. In an early exchange, while attempting the Ruotolo’s leg-stomp control, Junior exposed his leg enough for Jones to get into 50-50 guard. From there, the DDS athlete was able to conquer his patented inside-heel-hook.