View the full card line-up and preview for WNO: Gordon Ryan vs. Felipe Pena II.
On Saturday, February 25, rivals Gordon Ryan and Felipe Pena will square off for the fourth time in their respective careers and the second time in a no-time-limit submission-only encounter. That highly anticipated match is set for the main event of FloGrappling’s Who’s Number One (WNO) and will have Ryan’s WNO heavyweight title on the line.
Also in action will be two-time ADCC champion JT Torres making his WNO debut, 2022 IBJJF no-gi world champion Jonnatas Gracie, rapidly rising black belt Jasmine Rocha, buggy choke specialist Rene Sousa, and other talented grapplers.
WNO: Gordon Ryan vs. Felipe Pena II full card line-up
- Gordon Ryan vs. Felipe Pena (WNO heavyweight title, no time limit)
- Pedro Marinho vs. Giancarlo Bodoni (WNO light heavyweight title)
- JT Torres vs. Magid Hage
- Oliver Taza vs. Jonnatas Gracie
- Jasmine Rocha vs. Amanda Bruse
- Kieran Kichuk vs. Rene Sousa
- Calon Sabino vs. Stephen Martinez
- Dominic Meija vs. Thien Luu-Nguyen
Gordon Ryan vs. Felipe Pena
Ryan and Pena first squared off in 2016, with Pena winning by submission after a grueling 45 minutes of action. The two would meet again just a year later in the finals of the absolute division at the 2017 ADCC World Championships; Pena won that match on points. In both contests, Pena showed his excellent leg lock defense and an incredible ability to take Ryan’s back off of leg entanglements.
Of course, Ryan has evolved significantly since 2017. Five years ago, he was primarily known as a leg locker. Today, Ryan is a methodical guard passer with arguably the best top control and mount in the world – a skillset he used to capture the WNO heavyweight title against Pedro Marinho. Still, his leg locks remain perhaps his most dangerous weapon, evidenced by the pair of heel hooks he landed on his way to winning gold in the heavyweight division at the 2022 ADCC World Championships.
In August 2022, the pair met for the third time for a no-time-limit WNO match. Over the course of nearly 45 minutes, Ryan seemed to have the slight upper hand, sweeping Pena early and scoring a pair of impressive takedowns. For his part, the Brazilian showcased an excellent guard, giving Ryan more problems than we’ve seen in years.
That match came to an abrupt end when Pena verbally tapped, although he was not in any sort of submission.
It’s important to note that the third Ryan/Pena match took place just hours after the tragic death of Pena’s friend Leandro Lo. According to Pena, he was in no state to compete that day and was an emotional wreck, causing him to quit mid-match.
Pena will need to be hyper-focused and prepared for a potentially hours-long match if he wants to defeat Ryan this time around. In terms of technique, Pena shows no glaring weaknesses, but he’ll be taking on a Gordon Ryan that hasn’t lost in years and, with his slow-paced, methodical approach, seems to be nearly unbeatable in a no-time-limit match.
To his credit, Pena has sought out additional training under the guidance of Andre Galvao at Atos – a move that could pay dividends as he’ll need to follow a smart gameplan and be in top shape to score the upset.
Pedro Marinho vs. Giancarlo Bodoni
New Wave Jiu-Jitsu’s Giancarlo Bodoni was one of 2022’s breakout stars with his gold-medal performance at the ADCC World Championships. He hopes to build on that momentum when he squares off with WNO light heavyweight champion Pedro Marinho.
Originally known as a back-taker, Bodoni has recently added an arsenal of top-tier leg locks to his game, making him an all-around submission threat.
Marinho, meanwhile, tends to grapple at a high pace, looking to impose his will on the feet and in the top position, all while constantly threatening his dangerous guillotine choke.
This match could very well play out on the feet with neither man willing to concede bottom position in order avoid the other’s elite guard passing. Look for Bodoni to use a wide variety of trips and wrestling attacks to bring the champion to the mat, while Marinho will utilize bursts of energy and explosive guard passing if he achieves top position.
JT Torres vs. Magid Hage
Two-time ADCC champion JT Torres hopes to make a splash in his WNO debut when he tests his ultra-technical all-around game against the unorthodox style of Magid Hage. Torres will likely be implementing his pressure passing to achieve dominant position before he hunts for the submission, but he’ll have to mind his P’s and Q’s at all times, as Hage possesses a unique mix of submissions and creative back-takes that make him a threat at all times.
Oliver Taza vs. Jonnatas Gracie
In an intriguing clash of styles, the submission-only, leg-locking specialist Oliver Taza will battle the tactically-minded IBJJF no-gi world champion Jonnatas Gracie. Known for his cagey defense and prodigious physical strength, Gracie will need to open up his offensive game if he wants to defeat Taza, who is extremely experienced under this ruleset and has displayed an ever-evolving wrestling and top-control game over the past year.
Jasmine Rocha vs. Amanda Bruse
Jasmine Rocha and Amanda Bruse – two of the sport’s fastest-rising black belt competitors – will meet in a rematch of their razor-close encounter in the semifinals of the 2022 ADCC West Coast Trials. In that match, Rocha earned a decision win on the strength of her superior wrestling, but it was Bruse that attacked more submissions, perhaps giving her the edge in this submission-only affair. Watch for both athletes to grapple at a torrid pace in this early pick for match of the night.
Kieran Kichuk vs. Rene Sousa
Kicking off the main card will be submission hunters Kieran Kichuk and Rene Sousa. Kichuk possesses all-around skills but is best known for his elite leg lock game, particularly his false reap entries. Sousa, meanwhile, is a 10th Planet black belt and has one of the best buggy chokes in the world, making him a unique challenge for any competitor.
How to watch: WNO: Gordon Ryan vs. Felipe Pena II takes place on Saturday, February 25 and will air live beginning at 9:00 PM ET. The preliminary card will be available for free on FloGrappling’s YouTube channel, and the main card will air on FloGrappling (subscription required).