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WNO Championship preview: Can anyone beat Gabi Garcia?

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This weekend sees a two-day BJJ event featuring five eight-person brackets to crown Who’s Number One.

FloSports: FloGrappling ADCC World Championship
Gabi Garcia when she grappled Carina Santi in 2019.
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Streaming on FloGappling today and tomorrow is the Who’s Number One Championship. The event features five different eight-person no-gi tournaments, each in a different weigh-class (women’s 115 lbs, men’s 155 lbs, men’s 185 lbs, men’s heavyweight and women’s heavyweight).

Each tournament awards the winner $30,000. The runner-up gets $16,000 and the third place competitors $7,500. These figures make this one of the more lucrative events on the BJJ calendar. The event will also crown WNO’s inaugural champions in these weight classes.

Women’s 115 lbs

The story of this bracket is Mayssa Bastos and whether anyone can stop her claiming first place. She’s never lost a no-gi match at blackbelt. Her field of competitors include Grace Gundrum, Jessa Khan, Danielle Kelley, Amanda Aluquin, Tammi Musumeci, Jessie Crane and Alex Nguyen.

Bastos, Gundrum and Khan are the only grapplers with pro experience in this bracket. Bastos is a multi-time IBBJF World Champion. Gundrum, a blackbelt under Eddie Bravo, won the F2W strawweight championship last year, as an 18-year-old. Khan was third place at this year’s IBJJF Pan Championship NOGI.

Men’s 155 lbs

Mikey Musumeci, who is unbeaten at 135 lbs in WNO, is jumping up to 155 lbs and will hope to keep his streak alive. He’ll have stiff competition for first place here, though, with the experienced Gabriel Souza and Diego ‘Pato’ Oliveira in his field. Souza has a pro record of 97-24. Pato is in rare form having already come first place in this year’s IBJJF Pan Championships, IBJJF Pan Championships NOGI and AJP Abu Dhabi World Pro.

Rounding out the bracket are Geo Martinez, Damine Anderson, Josh Cisneros, Cole Abate and teenage wunderkind Kade Ruotolo.

Men’s 185 lbs

An intriguing entrant in this bracket is the newly promoted black belt Mica Galvao, who is just 17 years old. He’s 8-2 in his young pro career and on a four-match winning streak. Earlier this year he took home first place in the IBJJF Pan Championships NOGI and AJP World Pros brown belt brackets.

It won’t be easy making an impact at this tournament, against a field headlines by former IBBJF champs Dante Leon and Johnny Tama. Other top middleweights in the bracket include William Tackett and Roberto Jimenez. Also included are Jan Blank, Jacob Couch, and Tye Ruotolo.

Women’s Heavyweight

This bracket is all about Gabi Garcia, whose pro record stands at an unassailable 70-6. She’s a four time ADCC champion and six time IBJJF champion. Hoping to thwart Garcia from adding another accolade to her collection will be Amanda Loewen, Elisabeth Clay, Ana Carolina Vieira, Rafaela Guedes, Erin Harpe, Amanda Leve and Kendall Reusing.

Men’s Heavyweight

The men’s heavyweight bracket, like the women’s, also features a dominant figure who the field will be hoping has an off day. Kaynan Duarte is on a 12 fight winning streak and has been training no gi exclusively in the past year. Duarte has a 100-13 record and first place wins at most of the world’s premier events.

Trying to block his path to the WNO heavyweight title are Haisam Rida, Aaron Johnson, Mason Fowler, Tim Spriggs, Kyle Boehm, Luiz Panza and Sean Strickland’s favourite grappler Orlando Sanchez.