Nicky Ryan returns to face ‘Hillbilly Hammer’ Jacob Couch at Who’s Number One

After injury kept him on the sidelines for much of 2021, Nicky Ryan is returning to the Who’s Number One (WNO) stage. On Friday, March 25, Ryan will take on Daisy Fresh representative Jacob Couch, AKA “The Hillbilly Hammer.” That match will take place at 185-pounds.

FloGrappling announced the match-up on Instagram.

A longtime member of the Danaher Death Squad, Ryan is now competing out of The B-Team. He was undefeated in 2021 with wins over PJ Barch, Gabriel Almeida, and Dante Leon, but Ryan injured his knee in his match against Leon, forcing him out of action since July.

Jacob Couch was one of 2021’s breakout stars. A brown belt under Heath Pedigo, in September Couch stepped into the WNO Championships on short notice and shocked many fans when he defeated established elite competitors Roberto Jimenez and William Tackett to earn third place in the middleweight division. He is coming off a submission win over David Garmo at WNO.

Couch is known as a dangerous leg locker, but in Ryan he’ll be facing an equally dangerous leg locker, so he may need to employ other parts of his game. In his win over Garmo, Couch showed off his closed guard game before transitioning to a heel hook; Couch may try to play more closed guard against Ryan.

For his part, Ryan has been showing developments well beyond just leg locks. Specifically, he has an excellent wrestle-up game, which he used successfully against talented wrestler Dante Leon.

The current WNO line-up also includes Mikey Musumeci vs. Geo Martinez and Dante Leon vs. Mica Galvao.

How to watch: Who’s Number One takes place on Friday, March 25 and will air live on FloGrappling (subscription required).

Ben Coate

Ben has been involved with grappling, whether through wrestling or Brazilian jiu-jitsu, essentially his entire life. After wrestling throughout his childhood, Ben found Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a young adult and quickly fell in love. He has been training for over ten years and currently holds the rank of brown belt, and remains involved in both the MMA and BJJ scene. Ben has been writing about combat sports since 2017. He has interviewed and profiled some of MMA's biggest stars, including multiple UFC champions.

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