Later tonight (Sun. Aug. 7, 2022) one of the most highly-anticipated Brazilian jiu-jitsu battles ever will take place between Gordon Ryan and Felipe Pena at the 2022 Tezos: “Who’s Number One” event from Frisco, Texas.
Why are grapplers so excited about that match? Ryan is the pound-for-pound king of no-gi grappling at the moment. The 27-year-old jiu-jitsu “King” has won 55 matches in a row, submitted most of his oppositions, and largely dominated the scene for the last few years. Ryan is controversial and disliked by many, but he’s also an incredible talent on the mats. The black belt has won gold numerous times at ADCC and no-gi worlds, succeeding in his own division and absolute divisions alike.
Pena (228.6 pounds) is a multiple-time world jiu-jitsu champion himself in both gi and no-gi. Perhaps more important, he’s the only man to defeat Ryan (227.8 pounds) twice, most notably in their 2017 gold medal match at ADCC 2017. He outpointed Ryan then, and the year prior, submitted Ryan via rear-naked choke.
Those losses remain unavenged, and the rivalry has only grown more intense over the years. Ryan insists that he’s the all-time greatest and claims most other elite grapplers are ducking him, but naturally, Pena tells a different story. Either way, the stakes are high, and the two will finally face off again for the first time in five years.
From a technical standpoint, a lot has changed. Back in 2017, Ryan was primarily known for his leg lock game. Though that’s still a dangerous part of his arsenal, Ryan has since really reinvented himself as a top control specialist, crushing through guards en route to back control and mount.
It’s a different challenge for Pena, who is clearly facing a superior version of his past foe.
This main event match is scheduled as a no time limit, submission-only battle. There’s little worry of referee interference or officiating controversy — tapout is all that counts! As such, this bout could be anywhere from two minutes to two hours, so maybe hit the bathroom ahead of time.
HOW TO WATCH
WNO: Gordon Ryan vs. Felipe Pena takes place tonight (Sun. Aug. 7, 2022) at 7:30 p.m. ET, and the main card will be available to purchase on FloGrappling. The undercard will be viewable on FloGrappling YouTube channel.
WNO 2022 Full Fight Card
Here’s a look at the complete WNO: “Gordon Ryan vs. Felipa Pena”-led card, which also features former Bellator champ and highly-decorated grappler, Rafael Lovato Jr.
Gordon Ryan vs. Felipe Pena
Nicholas Meregali vs. Rafael Lovato Jr
Mica Galvao vs. Alan Sanchez
Bia Mesquita vs. Elisabeth Clay
Jacob Couch vs. Jacob Rodriguez
Diogo Reis vs. Estevan Martinez
Fabricio Andrey vs. Fabian Ramirez
Stay tuned later today for updates and post-match analysis on the Ryan vs. Pena super fight.
For more grappling news and notes click here.