Two title-fights and more added to Who’s Number One 19
The main event for WNO 19 was confirmed just a few weeks ago as a grudge match between Nicholas Meregali and Kaynan Duarte, but now the rest of the card is starting to fill out with excellent fights too. There will be two titles on the line at the event, with Ffion Davies defending her 125lbs belt against Jasmine Rocha in the co-main event. Further down the card the promotion will crown a new lightweight champion, with the vacant belton the line for the winner of Ethan Crelinsten v Dante Leon.
Two more matches have been confirmed for the main card, and they both feature some of the biggest names in the sport. Former ADCC world champion Felipe Pena will be taking on B-Team’s Haisam Rida in what is set to be an exciting contest. The other big match on the card will feature a rare appearance by one of B-Team’s founders. Nicky Ryan will be stepping back on the mats for the first time since ADCC 2022 to take on one of the top up-and-coming talents to emerge from 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu, Rene Sousa.
ADCC makes huge changes to women’s divisions
It’s been a long time coming, but ADCC have just announced that they will be giving more opportunities to female competitors moving forward. It took 7 years for the organization to even offer a women’s division and they started out strong with two weight classes and an absolute division in 2005, before adding another two weight classes in 2007. Since those two events however, female BJJ competitors have been limited to just two divisions at either under or over 60kg.
Now, head organizer Mo Jassim has made a huge change by introducing a third division and adjusting the weight classes to accommodate the new division. There will now be a 55kg division included to allow for lighter competitors to succeed and the next weight class has been shifted up to under 65kg as well. This means that many women who would struggle to make 60kg will now be able to compete on a more level playing field, while the unlimited division has moved to over 65kg as well.
Two BJJ legends hint at returns to competition
It’s a common problem in combat sports that competitors have a tough time staying retired. In MMA or boxing, the results can be disastrous. Champions past their prime return to the ring or cage only to receive more brain damage against the new generation of athletes. That isn’t much of a problem in Jiu-Jitsu though. With no strikes involved, and age divisions to let aging competitors keep a more even playing field the opportunities for longtime BJJ practitioners to keep coming back are a lot kinder.
It’s not uncommon then to see top BJJ world champions return from retirement for one-off matches. Many of the best competitors of all time have done it at some point. Now Rubens ‘Cobrinha’ Charles wants to add his name to that list. He’s openly asked for a no time-limit match in 2024. He isn’t alone either; one of his old rivals might be returning too. Rafael Mendes retired young, but he’s been hinting at making a comeback in 2024 after helping the AOJ competition team train.
B-Team wins big at UFC Fight Pass Invitational 4
UFC Fight Pass put together one of the best grappling cards of the year for their fourth invitational event, and the competitors didn’t disappoint when they took to the mats. One of the biggest storylines of the night came from B-Team Jiu-Jitsu, as two of their founders won in the most important matches of the night. The main event saw Craig Jones defeat Felipe Pena in EBI overtime, while Nicky Rodriguez emerged victorious in an 8-man absolute tournament against some tough opposition.
Other notable moments came from Dan Manasoiu, who submitted both his opponents in the tournament before losing in EBI overtime in the final, and Helena Crevar, the teenage prodigy who put on a clinical display against Emily Fernandez. Nicky Rodriguez and Gordon Ryan went back and forth on a potential third matchup after the event too, although a more unusual future match emerged when Olympic gold medalist wrestler Gable Steveson challenged Rodriguez.
Full results for the event can be found here.
- Baseball legend Barry Bonds has taken up BJJ since his retirement and was just promoted to blue belt by Jay Janero at Evolve Training Center.
- Top UFC middleweight contender Jared Cannonier was promoted to brown belt in BJJ by his coaches at The MMA Lab.
- Heather Grace Gracie worked as the real-life model for Ana Vega, a character just released in the fourth season of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
- Mackenzie Dern is interested in returning to professional grappling, proposing matches with former UFC world champion Rose Namajunas and reigning ADCC world champion Ffion Davies.
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