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