We are now less than two weeks away from the much-anticipated Who’s Number One (WNO) Championships on September 25-26, and the event has taken a major blow. On Monday, FloGrappling announced that Craig Jones, the favorite to win the 185-pound division, has withdrawn from the event and has been replaced by his former Danaher Death Squad teammate Oliver Taza. At the time of this writing, no reason has been given for Jones’ withdrawal.
The two-day event features five brackets of eight grapplers competing in submission-only matches over the course of two days. Jones was slated to compete in the 185-pound division. Even with Jones’ withdrawal, the division might be the most stacked of the event, featuring elite competitors such as Tye Ruotolo, Roberto Jimenez, and the phenom Mica Galvao.
Oliver Taza is an elite competitor in his own right. A black belt under John Danaher, Taza is a leg locking specialist and a two-time ADCC veteran. He is also a three-time WNO veteran with wins over Johnny Tama and Jonatha Alves and, most recently, a loss to Mica Galvao. And although Taza is known for his leg locks, he has displayed ever-improving wrestling and top control, a skill he may look to employ to wear down his opponents in the 15-minute WNO matches.
How to watch: The WNO Championships take place on September 25-26 in Austin, TX, and will air live on FloGrappling (subscription required).