This past Thursday – July 14, 2022 – the promoters at FloGrappling executed another solid professional event under the Who’s Number One (WNO) brand, hosting the grand finale of the streaming platform’s Reality TV show, Who’s Next (WNX). This event also featured a WNO heavyweight title match between Gordon Ryan – one of the sport’s most well-known figures – and the current light-heavyweight champion, Pedro Marinho. Below are the results and analysis of these matches and the rest of the card.
WHO’S NUMBER ONE – WHO’S NEXT FINALE
– MIKE RAKSHAN DEF. SPENCER “SEWER RAT” FOSSIER VIA CAMEL CRUSHER
A quick match that ended with a submission for Rakshan with his trademark move.
– DANIEL “BIG DAN” MANASOIU DEF. TRISTAN OVERVIG VIA INSIDE HEEL HOOK
A big display of heart by Heath Pedigo’s student, Tristan who escaped a few tight lower limb attacks by Big Dan early on. Manasoiu kept pushing forward and eventually got the match-ending heel hook submission.
Sadly, the cracking sound heard from the inside heel hook was very loud and quite visibly led to an injury for the American young talent – to no fault of Big Dan who released as soon as the pop occurred.
– MAX HANSON DEF. FABIAN RAMIREZ VIA SPLIT DECISION
One of our greatest grievances with the submission-only or submission-grappling format is the lack of importance given to positional grappling, the basis of jiu-jitsu. The “Position Over Submission” ethos is often thrown out the window with the end result being two athletes gunning for submissions with reckless abandon for defense. As big fans of jiu-jitsu, this is not the type of spectacle we like to see and although this is not what took place in the Hanson x Ramirez clash, the judges were clearly looking for submission offense over any other type of positional dominance, otherwise, Max Hanson would have easily taken this with a unanimous decision instead of a tight split decision.
Dominating most of the clash, Max Hansen passed the guard of Fabian Ramirez, mounted, took the back, then took Fabian down with a single leg, and swept him twice. Ramirez showed his resilience, a scrappy grappler, no doubt, who defended well, attempted submission of his own, and even conquered two takedowns but, nevertheless, appeared outmatched, technically.
Fabian is now set to compete against IBJJF World champion and ADCC Trials winner Fabricio Andrey at the next WNO event, an athlete who is, arguably, a few steps up in competition.
– GIANCARLO BODONI DEF. JAY RODRIGUEZ VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION
Very few who watched the event will argue against this being the Match Of The Night and a spectacle worth rewatching. Bodoni spent the majority of the match on Rodriguez’s back after using a throw-by takedown attempt to find some exposure there. Jay defended supremely well, came on top and from there the two athletes went through a back-and-forth war with very interesting exchanges on both sides to the very last second.
– ANDREW TACKETT DEF. RENE SOUSA VIA RNC
A very strong pace throughout this match with Tackett showing why solid, fundamental, positional grappling is still today the more effective style of play.
Throughout the match, Sousa opted to attack his well-known Buggy Choke maneuver, “allowing” Andrew to establish the pass to gain access to the position. Tackett defended the choke and from a well-settled side control (3x) established the full mount (3x) and the back (3x). Rene defended well the first two attempts at the RNC, but the game-plan was set on replay until the match ending choke from back control by the talented Rodrigo Cabral pupil.
– NICHOLAS MEREGALI DEF. BREYLOR GROUT VIA ARM TRIANGLE CHOKE
A very dominant performance by Meregali, who is currently the world’s #1 gi player. Despite this clash being in the no-gi ruleset, we were still watching the very top of the food chain competing against a solid brown belt athlete. A crushing performance was expected (and delivered) here for the fans.
– IZAAK MICHELL DEF. KYLE CHAMBERS VIA ARMBAR
Although Michell did his best at keeping the ball rolling and making this 2-plus hour long match interesting for the fans, this clash proved why submission-only is a very hard ruleset to pull for the spectators and a tough one to make an argument for in terms of bettering the martial art, technically speaking. Despite the length of the clash and defensive posture by Kyle for large portions of the match, Michell versus Chambers was a grueling task for both athletes who should be commended for their effort, a match to be remembered, no doubt, but hopefully not a ruleset to be repeated.
Those who had any doubts regarding Gordon’s hegemony in the sport will have hopefully cast their hesitation to rest once and for all. This was as dominant of a clash as one can get. Takedown, guard-pass, back-take, repeated submission attempts, all while giving zero room for Marinho to even glance at an offensive maneuver. A very solid performance for Ryan who tried his best to submit the young Gracie Barra talent with his predicted Smother Choke, but ended up finishing from the back as Pedro met those choking attempts with good, solid defense.