The inaugural WNO Championships went down this weekend on FloGrappling. The first event of its kind featured 5 no-gi divisions with $30,000 cash prizes awarded to each of the winners. 15 minute rounds, $1,000 submission bonuses, and wrestle-backs where competitors who lost could compete for third set WNO apart from other super fight shows. From big upsets to devastating submissions, the WNO Championships had something to offer all grappling fans. Below are the results and main takeaways from the event.
Men’s Heavyweight - Time Spriggs
Womens’s Heavyweight - Rafaela Guedes
Men’s 185 lb. - Tye Ruotolo
Women’s 115 lb. - Mayssa Bastos
Men’s 155 lb. - Kade Ruotolo
Early upsets set the tone of the event
Gabi Garcia, Mikey Musumeci, and Roberto Jimenez were all considered among the favorites in their respective divisions leading into the tournament, but all three fell in the first round. In what many considered the upset of the event, Amanda Leve took out Gabi Garcia in the opening round of the women’s heavyweight division. Amanda, who splits her time between MMA and professional grappling, was able to take Gabi’s back multiple times and almost finished the match with a rear naked choke, securing a unanimous decision win. In the men’s 155 lb. bracket, many considered Mikey Musumeci the favorite. In the first round, he met ZR Team’s Gabriel Sousa, who was coming off a second place finish at the 2021 Pan Ams. Gabriel set the tone of the match early, stringing together guard pass attempts which eventually resulted in a north south pin. From there, Gabriel was able to latch onto a north south choke that Mikey was forced to submit to.
Gabriel Sousa just SHOCKED the world! He submits Mikey in round 1— FloGrappling (@FloGrappling) September 25, 2021
Presented by @fattire
A third opening round upset came from Pedigo Submission Fighting product Jacob Couch. Couch, a heel hook specialist, squared off with #2 ranked Roberto Jimenez. Despite being a very late replacement, Couch was able to enter into Roberto’s legs early and finished with a heel hook in less than 2 minutes.
Tim Spriggs returns to competition with a vengeance
Prior to entering the WNO Championships, many thought Tim Spriggs was done with jiu-jitsu competition. He was coming off of losses to Nicholas Meregali, Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu, and Victor Hugo. During the pandemic he started working on other business ventures and Spriggs seemed ready to prioritize these projects above competition. In the first round, Spriggs faced Haisam Rida of Assembly Jiu-Jitsu and submitted him with an inside heel hook, adding a new wrinkle to his submission game. In the semis, Spriggs earned a unanimous decision victory over Tex Johnson of Gamblers Jiu-Jitsu. One the other side of the mat from Spriggs in the final was Kaynan Duarte, who came into the tournament as a heavy favorite while riding a 12 fight win streak. The match started with some takedown exchanges before Kaynan elected to play bottom and pulled guard. During a scramble in which Kaynan attempted to sweep Spriggs, Spriggs was able to set up a leg entanglement and an outside heel hook, forcing Kaynan to submit.
Ruotolo brothers capture 185 and 155 lb. titles
Tye Ruotolo of Atos Jiu-Jitsu and Mica Galvao of Fight Sports made it to the finals of the 185 lb. division at the WNO Championships despite being just 18 and 17 years old, respectively. Tye submitted Johnny Tama in the quarters with a D’Arce choke and Dante Leon in the semis with a guillotine. Mica earned a unanimous decision victory over William Tackett in the quarters and submitted late replacement Jacob Couch with an armbar in the semis.
Tye gets it done early with a pretty slick d'arce— FloGrappling (@FloGrappling) September 25, 2021
Presented by @FatTire
In one of the most anticipated matchups of the entire event, Tye and Mica spent most of their finals match feeling each other out. Mica used his flexibility to retain his guard as Tye attempted to pressure forward and pass his dexterous legs. Ultimately the theme of the match remained the same throughout, and Tye Ruotolo took home $30,000 with a split decision victory.
Tye’s twin brother Kade also had a spectacular performance at the WNO Championships. Kade submitted Diego Oliveira in the quarters and advanced to the finals after his opponent Josh Cisneros was unable to continue due to injury in the semis. Kade’s opponent in the final was Gabriel Sousa. Gabriel submitted Mikey Musumeci in the opening round and then won a close split decision against 16-year-old blue belt Cole Abate in the semis.
In the final, Kade started the match with multiple takedowns. He eventually forced Gabriel Sousa to the turtle position and then locked up another D’Arce choke for $30k and another $1k submission bonus.
Rafaela Guedes and Mayssa Bastos cruise to $30k
Rafaela Guedes was the #4 ranked pound for pound female grappler heading into the WNO Championships. She defeated Elisabeth Clay in the quarters and Amanda Leve in the semi’s, both by unanimous decision. Her opponent in the finals was Gracie Barra’s Kendall Reusing, who defeated Erin Harpe and Ana Carolina Vieira on her way to the finals. Although neither competitor had scored a submission so far in the tournament, Rafaela was able to capitalize on an opening during a near guard pass with a guillotine choke that she finished from the mount.
In the 115 lb. women’s division, Mayssa Bastos looked to retain her #1 spot in the rankings in a stacked division. She used her flexible and active guard in the quarter and semifinals to earn unanimous decision wins over Alex Nguyen and Tammi Musumeci. Grace Gundrum of 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu defeated Danielle Kelly via unanimous decision in the quarter finals and scored a twister submission against Jessa Khan in the semis, the first twister submission in WNO history.
In the final, Grace looked to pass Mayssa’s guard early. Mayssa used her guard to ward off Grace’s attacks before scoring a sweep. Once in the top position, Mayssa secured a guard pass and the mount. From there she locked in a head and arm choke that she held onto until time ran out.
Look for more WNO action on October 20th, as Beatriz Mesquita takes on Luiza Monteiro and Ffion Davies goes competes against Nathalie Ribeiro.