Who’s Number One on Friday, February 26 was easily the most anticipated grappling event of 2021 so far. Even without the backstage mayhem involving Gordon Ryan and Andre Galvao, the event delivered high-level, high-action submission-only action as promised. In the main and co-main event, Danaher Death Squad representatives Gordon Ryan and Craig Jones both earned impressive submission wins.
Here’s the complete Who’s Number One results and highlights.
Craig Jones def. Ronaldo Junior via submission (heel hook)
For most fans, the result here isn’t particularly surprising. Jones is a leg-locking specialist with a wealth of experience in no-gi submission-only competition, while Junior is almost exclusively an IBJJF competitor with a focus on gi jiu-jitsu.
Jones certainly respected Junior’s guard passing game, but nonetheless quickly and aggressively attached himself to Junior’s legs. Moments later, Jones moved to the 50-50 position and quickly secured a deep inside heel hook, sealing an undefeated night for the Danaher Death Squad.
Gordon Ryan def. Roberto Jimenez via submission (armbar)
Although Ryan quickly sat to guard and achieved a great leg-locking position early, he would spend the bulk of the match passing Jimenez’s guard and maintaining mount. From that position, Ryan moved to an S-mount before transitioning to an armbar. Jimenez defended this armbar once, but only minutes later he found himself in the same position. Jimenez couldn’t escape the second armbar attempt and Ryan secured yet another dominant victory.
In one of the night’s most impressive performances, De Jesus became the first woman to defeat Garcia in both no-gi and gi competition. De Jesus spent the vast majority of the match working from her back, carrying Garcia’s weight in between moments that Garcia dropped back for straight ankle locks, several of which appeared close.
In the final five minutes, Garcia again dropped back for an ankle lock, but De Jesus used the opening to move to top position and eventually to mount and Garcia’s back. The brief positional advantage, plus De Jesus’ numerous counter-leg locks secured her a clear-cut decision victory over the most accomplished no-gi grappler in women’s jiu-jitsu.
Martinez used a steady guard passing attack and a well-timed takedown to even the score in his rematch with Ocasio. To the surprise of many fans, the 10th Planet representative opted to consistently grapple from top, constantly threatening the guard pass while defending Ocasio’s attempt to enter on the legs. Coupled with a late takedown, Martinez’s consistent aggression earned him the competitive but clear decision.
Daisy Fresh’s Wiltse’s guard was simply too much of a puzzle for 10th Planet’s Barch to solve. Wiltse’s single-leg X game and leg entries from open guard forced Barch on the defensive for much of the match. Although Barch put in solid work from the knee-cut position, he was never particularly close to passing Wiltse’s guard.
19-year old Khan impressed in her black belt debut, as her consistent attacks from her back forced Kelly on the defense for the better part of 15 minutes. Although Kelly has excellent leg locks of her own, it was Khan’s leg locks and threats of leg locks that earned Khan the decision.
Elder Cruz def. Jacob Couch via decision
Cruz put in a workmanlike performance against Couch, using heavy top pressure and relentless guard passing to completely shut-down Couch’s attacks from his back. At one point late in the match, Cruz used a guard pass to move directly to the back, sealing the deal on a decision win.