At the Who’s Number One (WNO) Championships, perhaps no competitor was more heavily-favored to win his division than heavyweight Kaynan Duarte. A 2019 ADCC world champion, the top Atos representative had lost just once in the past two years. Going into the finals of the WNO Championships, Duarte was a large favorite over Tim Spriggs, a 2018 no-gi world champion that came into the tournament on a three-match losing skid.
Spriggs shocked the jiu-jitsu community with a heel hook win over Duarte in the match’s opening minutes. Top pound-for-pound no-gi competitor Gordon Ryan, present at the WNO Championships to provide commentary for FloGrappling, responded to the loss on social media.
Predictably, Ryan was highly critical of Duarte’s performance, calling it “an embarrassment to our sport…”
Ryan and Duarte have some history. Ryan defeated Duarte by submission in the finals of the absolute division of the 2018 IBJJF no-gi Pans. The pair looked like they were on a collision course in the absolute division of the 2019 ADCC Championships, but Duarte suffered another upset loss (again by heel hook) against Lachlan Giles before that could happen. Since then, Ryan has been essentially the consensus best heavyweight grappler, and Duarte the consensus second best heavyweight grappler in the world. For many, that opinion is likely to change in light of Duarte’s loss to Spriggs.
In May, Ryan announced an indefinite leave of absence from competition due to ongoing health concerns. At the WNO Championships, he announced his return to competition — an exhibition match against UFC welterweight Philip Rowe.