5 big takeaways from WNO 24

These are the top five takeaways from WNO 24, which took place on June 20, 2024, in Austin, Texas.

Who’s Number One (WNO) 24 took place this past Thursday and as always the athletes brought the heat. From the first bout of the night through the main event which featured the return of Gordon Ryan, submissions were flying and statements were made.

View the full results from WNO 24 here.

#1 Gordon Ryan is still the guy

Gordon Ryan returned from an extended hiatus due to health issues to deliver a vintage performance against hulking heavyweight Josh Saunders.

Ryan was aggressive from the onset of this bout as he quickly pulled guard and looked to attack Saunders’s legs. Saunders did a great job defending early but Ryan used these attacks to sweep and obtain top position. From there, Ryan systematically and continually shredded through Saunders’s guard looking to expose the match-finishing position. Saunders met his demise at the 8:33 mark of the match as Ryan entered the inside sankaku position from top-side control. From there Ryan was able to pass the leg to the outside and finish with his patented outside heel hook.

Here’s to hoping Ryan’s health is where it needs to be so we can see him back to a regular competition schedule. The jiu-jitsu community needs to see “King” Ryan back to facing legitimate top 5 competition. With ADCC right around the corner, we may see Ryan sooner rather than later.

#2 Diego Pato deserves more pound-for-pound recognition

Diego “Pato” Oliviera has been on an absolute tear in 2024 and he kept the ball rolling at WNO 24 which saw his submit rival Fabricio Andrey via rear-naked choke.

Andrey gave Pato all he could handle during the bout. He was able to successfully pressure pass through Pato’s guard, threaten with a kimura trap, and stay safe from Pato’s dangerous leg attacks. In the end, it did not matter as Pato stayed calm and found the finish.

Recent no-gi wins over Dante Leon, Gianni Grippo, Kennedy Maciel, Diogo “Baby Shark” Reis and now Andrey, Pato deserves a spot near the top of the pound-for-pound rankings. Pato is a well-rounded grappler who can finish from anywhere. The WNO champ-champ is one of the most exciting grapplers on the scene today.

#3 Tainan Dalpra is the real deal in no-gi

At WNO 24 Tainan Dalpra continued his ascent up the no-gi jiu-jitsu ladder as he secured his most impressive no-gi win yet. Dalpra defeated ADCC West Coast Trials champion and ADCC world championships veteran Jay Rodriguez by decision.

Early in the bout, Rodriguez scored a takedown and was able to briefly pass Dalpra’s guard and almost secure full mount. Rodriguez kept the pressure and pace on Dalpra throughout the bout. Dalpra’s guard proved tricky as always, he used consistent leg attacks and inversions from the bottom to offset Jay-Rod’s passing. Late in the bout, Dalpra was able to threaten a back take with a berimbolo and use it to gain top position. From there he passed the guard and this time secured back control which ultimately gave him the judge’s nod.

Wins over ADCC veterans Oliver Taza and Jay Rodriguez, as well as his accolades in the gi, make Tainan Dalpra deserving of an invite to ADCC or The Craig Jones Invitational (CJI). Dalpra has fully committed himself to no-gi grappling and he deserves a chance to perform on one of the biggest stages in the sport.

#4 Joezef Chen may be the top young prospect in the sport

Nineteen-year-old Jozef Chen made a statement at WNO 24 by submitting ADCC East Coast trials champion Elijah Dorsey. Chen was incredible on Thursday night displaying dominant wrestling and guard passing on his way to securing the fight-ending rear-naked choke.

Chen has a jam-packed schedule coming up as he has bouts scheduled against Andy Varela (Main Character jiu-jitsu) and Tye Ruotolo (ONE Championship). Chen is also slated to compete at the inaugural Craig Jones Invitational. After this run, Chen may solidify himself as not only one of the hottest prospects in the sport today but possibly the top grappler in the sport.

#5 Backtakes are still king

The sport of jiu-jitsu both in the gi and no-gi evolves at a rapid rate. There are tons of intricate guards, passing concepts, and submission attacks. However, most positions still lead to the back. The rear-naked choke is the most commonly hit submission in both sports.

At WNO 24 we saw the taking of the back as the deciding factor in many of the bouts. There were four rear-naked choke finishes on the card. In the aforementioned Dalpra vs. Rodriguez match, Dalpra’s back take at the end of the bout secured him the victory.