Less than one week before the Who’s Number One (WNO) Championships, Pedigo Submission Fighting brown belt Jacob “The Hillbilly Hammer” Couch agreed to fill in for Pedro Marinho as a last-minute replacement in the middleweight division. The event featured many of the best grapplers in the world, and represented a massive step up in competition for Couch, who came into the tournament unranked by FloGrappling. In Couch’s one and only previous WNO appearance, he lost to a clear decision to Elder Cruz.
In the first round of the eight-man tournament, Couch squared off with elite no-gi competitor Roberto Jimenez. A BJJ black belt, Jimenez is widely considered one of the sport’s most entertaining competitors, and holds notable wins over Dante Leon, Nick Rodriguez, and Kade and Tye Ruotolo. Jimenez was, understandably, heavily favored.
Couch, though, had other plans, as he was able to attack Jimenez with his best weapon — leg locks. Just under two minutes into the scheduled 15-minute match, Couch found himself deep on an inside heel hook. Jimenez was able to defend the initial attack, but as he stood to further defend, Couch dropped his weight on Jimenez’s knee, forcing the tap and earning a massive upset.
Couch would lose by submission to phenom Mica Galvao in the next round. In the semifinals of the consolation bracket, Couch lost to Jon Blank, but when Blank was unable to continue to the third-place match, Couch filled in to face William Tackett. Again, Couch found himself as a significant underdog to the relatively much more accomplished Tackett, but would again spring the upset, this time by decision.
Watch the full match between Couch and Jimenez below.