Flograppling’s first ever event, Who’s #1, went off without a hitch. The concept behind the event was a pretty novel one as it featured the top-ranked competitors in their respective weight-class and belt level, defending the right to call themselves the number 1 ranked athlete. As a result, the card featured some incredible talent that we’re going to see far more of in the years to come like Tye Ruotolo, Micael Galvao and Tainan Dalpra. The main attraction however, was both Nicholas Meregali and Keenan Cornelius defending their spots at #1 and #2 in the rankings against Victor Hugo and Roberto Jimenez respectively.
Keenan Cornelius v Roberto Jimenez
First up at Who’s #1 was Keenan Cornelius taking on Roberto Jimenez in what was quite possibly one of the most difficult stylistic matchups Cornelius could have taken. Jimenez pulled guard immediately and worked hard on taking the back with a berimbolo but settled for ending up on top and taking a 2 point lead. Cornelius tried and failed to get his signature Lapel game going as Jimenez allowed him to stand up instead of getting a sweep, although he did make up for it with a smooth takedown to level the score at 2-2. He worked hard on the Kimura Trap trying to take Jimenez’s back but got nothing but an advantage for his troubles.
When Jimenez escaped to standing he immediately shot in for a takedown and secured another 2 points to take the score to 4-2. Cornelius was again struggling to work his Lapel guard system on the crafty Jimenez but this time he managed to force Jimenez to sit back to deal with the grip, allowing him to come up on top for another 2 points to level the score again at 4-4. Jimenez was relentless in working for the Berimbolo and although he didn’t get the back, he got another 2 points for coming up on top with the sweep to take the lead once more at 6-4 as the match reached past the halfway mark.
Cornelius pushed the pace hard in the last four minutes and scored another advantage for a near-sweep. He also forced Jimenez to retreat and allow him to stand back up in order to avoid conceding a sweep with a little under a minute left. Jimenez then showed brilliant tactical thinking as he pulled guard and started to tie Cornelius up as the clock ticked down. Cornelius exploded out of closed guard and immediately started to pass, then performed a slick backtake but couldn’t get both hooks in with enough time to score any points, finishing the match with Jimenez leading 6-4.
Nicholas Meregali v Victor Hugo
Victor Hugo showed some great standing grappling at Who’s #1 as he pulled full guard, half-guard and attempted to work some Judo on Meregali all in the first minute. After settling in half-guard, Hugo attempted a Waiter Sweep that Meregali had to work very hard to prevent. After standing to avoid it, Hugo transitioned to 50/50 and started to use a lapel grip to work on an straight ankle lock attempt. Meregali defended the submission excellently and was never really in any solid danger, but working his way out of it ate up over a third of the ten minute time limit.
As Hugo started to lose control over one leg, he switched to gripping Meregali’s other leg in order to unsettle his balance. It took a lot of work but Hugo managed to disrupt Meregali enough to force him onto his back and he quickly stood up to claim the 2 points for the sweep from 50/50. With just under 3 minutes left, the athletes moved out of bounds and were reset from standing with Victor Hugo leading 2-0. This time Meregali was the one to pull guard and immediately start attempting to transition to Rubber Guard.
Although the Rubber Guard transition failed, it distracted Hugo enough for Meregali to sink in a deep Loop Choke. Even though Hugo escaped pretty quickly, it was enough to give Meregali the first advantage of the match. Meregali really turned it up as he managed to sweep Hugo, although he reacted fast enough to turn to turtle and prevent the points being scored. As Meregali was awarded another advantage, Hugo held onto a leg and drove into him, forcing him onto his back. Hugo was working hard to pass Meregali’s guard and while he didn’t have enough time left to do so, he finished the match strong and walked away with the victory by points, 2-0.
Who’s #1 Full Card Results
Black Belt Matches
Victor Hugo defeats Nicholas Meregali via Points 2-0.
Roberto Jimenez defeats Keenan Cornelius via Points 6-4.
Dream Art v Atos Matches
Micael Galvao defeats Mateus Rodrigues via Choke.
Tye Ruotolo defeats Jhonathan Marques via Referee Decision.
Brown Belt Matches
Tainan Dalpra defeats Mike Khatchikian via Bow & Arrow Choke.
Andy Murasaki defeats Lucas Protasio via Referee Decision.
Jessa Khan defeats Vicky Hoang via Toehold.
Conner DeAngelis defeats Miha Perhavec via Points.
Meyram Alves defeats Joshua Cisneros via Points.
Adam Bradley defeats Dante Cano via Points.
Purple Belt Matches
Nsima Inyang defeats Chad Wesley Smith via Armbar.
Jansen Gomes defeats Rui Alves via Points.
Rico Staton defeats Robin Bohlin via Advantages.
Lucas Montalvao defeats Elder Cruz via Advantages.
Blue Belt Juvenile Matches
Cole Abate defeats Sebastian Oyervidez via Flying Triangle.
Andrew Tackett defeats Dominic Mejia via Points.
Gustavo Ogawa defeats Jonah Gratt via Armbar.
To watch the replay of Who’s #1, click here.