The Texas-based Who’s Number One event returned on Friday in an event headlined by Gordon Ryan and Jacob Couch. Couch was originally scheduled to face Gordon’s brother Nicky Ryan, but a knee injury forced him to withdraw from the match. The co-main event was a highly anticipated matchup between Mica Galvao and Dante Leon, two of the most aggressive and technical middleweight grapplers in the world. Another feature match was between two-time IBJJF World Champion Nicholas Meregali against IBJJF No-Gi World Champion Arnaldo Maidana.
Gordon submits Jacob Couch in dominant return to competition
In the main event, New Wave Jiu-Jitsu’s Gordon Ryan took on Pedigo Submission Fighting’s Jacob Couch. After Couch’s original opponent Nicky Ryan was forced to withdraw due to injury, not many fans expected Gordon to step in. The number one ranked no-gi grappler has been dealing with ongoing stomach issues but was able to get to a point in his recovery where he felt ready to compete.
While Gordon did have an exhibition match with UFC welterweight Philip Rowe in October 2021, this was his first official match in nearly a year. Most of the match was spent with Gordon in top position as he methodically worked his way through Couch’s guard and into the mount. Gordon’s pressure was eventually too much for Couch to handle, and as Gordon transitioned to an armbar from s-mount, Couch tapped due to the extreme pressure. Couch was giving up weight and experience in the match and never attempted to stall, but Gordon was able to show why he’s currently the number one ranked no-gi grappler in the world.
Mica earns decision over Dante in tightly contested match
Mica Galvao of Fight Sports and Dante Leon of Pedigo Submission Fighting squared off in the co-main event and delivered exactly the type of match fans expected. Dante, an IBJJF No-Gi World Champion and ADCC veteran pushed the pace throughout, hitting a few takedowns on Mica and showing a good base from the top position. Mica’s best moment came about three minutes into the match. He inverted from the reverse de la riva position to sweep, coming to the top and stacking Dante. From there he dove to Dante’s back and transitioned to a beautifully timed armbar attack that Dante narrowly escaped. The submission attempt was enough to sway the judges as Mica earned the unanimous decision victory in a hard-fought match.
Meregali gets submission in no-gi debut
The highly anticipated no-gi debut of Nicholas Meregali ended in dramatic fashion. Meregali’s opponent was Arnaldo Maidana, a CheckMat representative who has an IBJJF No-Gi World title on his resume. Most of the match was spent on the feet where Meregali attacked with multiple single legs. Although he couldn’t use the majority of the attempts to get the match down to the mat, he made the times he did get it to the mat count. The finishing sequence came off a failed shot from Maidana that Meregali used to get to side control, where he locked a kimura grip and transitioned to an armbar for the finish. Despite having less than two full months of no-gi training, Meregali was able to put his newly formed skills on display and will likely continue to compete without the gi frequently ahead of the ADCC World Championships in September.
Full results can be found below:
Gordon Ryan def. Jacob Couch via submission (mount pressure)
Mica Galvao def. Dante Leon via decision
Nicholas Meregali def. Arnaldo Maidana via submission (armbar)
Haisam Rida def. Elder Cruz via submission (rear naked choke)
Keith Krikorian def. Gabriel Sousa via decision
Sophia Cassella def. Jessica Crane via submission (inside heel hook)
Luke Griffith def. Joe Dierkhising via submission (rear naked choke)
David Garmo def. Benji Silva via split decision
Replays for all matches can be found at flograppling.com.