In light of the shocking news that top pound-for-pound grappler Gordon Ryan is taking an indefinite leave of absence from competition, FloGrappling has acted quickly to find a main event replacement for the next Who’s Number One (WNO) event on May 28. Filling in for Ryan will be his Danaher Death Squad teammate Craig Jones, who will take on Ryan’s original opponent, Luiz Panza.
On paper, this could be a more interesting match-up than the originally slated Ryan vs. Panza match. Although Jones is an all-around submission specialist, he tends to do his best work when attacking the legs. Panza is also a leg locking specialist, however the vast majority of his experience and success has come under IBJJF rulesets that do not allow reaping or heel hooks. And with Panza’s specialty in the 50/50 position, he might be one of the few grapplers willing to engage with Jones in a spot that exposes his heel.
Craig Jones is an ADCC silver medalist and has consistently been one of the best overall no-gi grapplers of the past few years. He has competed once in 2021, submitting Ronaldo Junior at a February WNO event. He was previously scheduled to face Tye Ruotolo on the April WNO card, but was forced to withdraw due to health concerns.
Luiz Panza is a veteran black belt competitor representing Checkmat. A longtime training partner to Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida, Panza was a 2016 IBJJF no-gi world champion, and was a 2013 Pans double gold medalist. He last competed at BJJ Stars earlier this year, losing by submission to Felipe Pena in the gi.
How to watch: Who’s Number One takes place on Friday, May 28 and will air live on FloGrappling (subscription required).