On Thursday, July 14, three-time ADCC gold medalist Gordon Ryan will return to action in a highly anticipated rematch against IBJJF no-gi world champion and current Who’s Number One (WNO) light heavyweight champion Pedro Marinho. In many ways, the match-up is a true clash of styles, with Ryan preferring methodical control and constant pressure, while Marinho is explosive and movement based.
In a recent interview, Ryan’s longtime coach John Danaher broke down the match.
Danaher first learned of Marinho at the 2019 ADCC World Championships. Ryan submitted Marinho by heel hook in the first round of the absolute division.
I got the impression that at that stage, Pedro just didn’t really study the heel hook and so he got caught. If you don’t know the leg lock game, you’re gonna get caught by it. So I didn’t hold that against him.
Danaher sees a great deal of improvement in Marinho over the past couple of years.
The last two years, you gotta give it to Pedro Marinho, he improved so much. First of all, he’s defensively very strong now on leg locks. He proved that recently against Craig Jones. Craig is a master of leg locks and Pedro was able to completely shut that aspect of Craig’s game down. That was very impressive.
Danaher breaks down Marinho’s strengths as a grappler.
He’s got great physicality. He’s got a great sense of how to understand the ruleset and use tactics to win. PHysically he’s a real specimen. He will go in against Gordon with a height disadvantage, but he went in with a height disadvantage to Craig and it didn’t prove to be a problem at all. He finds a way to make his body type work for him. He’s got a nasty arm-in guillotine. Does it well on both sides… I think he’s gonna be a really tough opponent…
I think there’s gonna be a lot of standing wrestling in this fight, unlike the first one where Gordon just came straight out and they went straight to ground. I think Pedro will have much better anti-leg lock anti-leg lock tactics this time. And Pedro has, as I said, a nasty guillotine, and he proved also he’s got very good guard passing with no-gi.
Finally, Danaher describes a Marinho path to victory.
From Pedro’s perspective, he has the advantage that even if he just puts on a strong performance against Gordon, he doesn’t have to submit Gordon, imagine if he passed Gordon’s guard a couple of times, like he did with Craig. Imagine if he was initiating most of the standing tie ups and outworking Gordon, that would be enough to win a decision and he’d be a legend if he did that. I think that this is gonna be a very tough, scrappy, physical match… It’s gonna come down a lot to pacing.
How to watch: Who’s Number One: Gordon Ryan vs. Pedro Marinho takes place on Thursday, July 14 beginning at 7 PM CT and will air live on FloGrappling (subscription required).