Tezos WNO 21: Pedro Marinho vs Rafael Lovato Jr.

Everything You Need To Know About Tonight's Tezos WNO 21 Card

Everything You Need To Know About Tonight's Tezos WNO 21 Card

Tezos WNO 21 kicks off tonight at 8pm CT/7pm ET in Austin, TX. Here's what you need to know.

Nov 30, 2023 by Corey Stockton
Everything You Need To Know About Tonight's Tezos WNO 21 Card

Tezos WNO 21: Marinho vs Lovato Jr. presented by Fat Tire is the fifth and final event of the 2023 WNO season.

Three champions are set up to defend their belts, while other high-profile athletes are set to make their debuts on the Tezos WNO stage. Tezos WNO is set in Austin, TX at the Palmer Event Center, scheduled for 8pm ET.

In the main event, light heavyweight champion Pedro Marinho will look to defend his belt against Rafael Lovato Jr, a Tezos WNO veteran on a two-match submission win streak.

In his most recent match on Tezos WNO, Lovato Jr submitted Riccardo Evangelista with a beautiful triangle from the back. In his previous match, Lovato competed in front of his home crowd in Oklahoma City and submitted rising star Elder Cruz via rear naked choke.

Lovato was supposed to challenge Marinho for the title during his last WNO appearance in October. But Marinho was sidelined via injury, leaving Lovato to face a late-replacement, Evangelista.

Marinho's last match on Tezos WNO was during the first card of the year in February 2023, when he made his fist successful title defense against ADCC champion Giancarlo Bodoni. He'll return looking to defend his strap for the second time tonight.

Asside from the main event, Tezos WNO 21 will feature bouts for the welterweight and featherweight titles, as well as four more main card matches and four additional undercard matches. See the full event card below:

Tonight's Tezos WNO 21 Card:

Main Card | watch it live HERE!

  • Pedro Marinho vs Rafael Lovato Jr | Light Heavyweight | 15 min
  • Mica Galvao vs Kody Steele | Welterweight | 15 min
  • Diogo Reis vs Diego Pato | Featherweight | 15 min
  • Giancarlo Bodoni vs Lucas 'Hulk' Barbosa | Heavyweight | 15 min
  • Luke Griffith vs Roosevelt Sousa | Heavyweight | 15 min
  • Helena Crevar vs Julia Maele | Featherweight | 15 min
  • Tainan Dalpra vs Troy Russell | Middleweight | 15 min

Undercard | Live on FloGrappling.com and YouTube at 8pm ET

  • Dominic Mejia vs Owen Jones | Featherweight | 9 min
  • Estevan Martinez vs Reese LaFever | Lightweight | 9 min
  • Mia Funegra vs Janice Russell | Strawweight | 9 min
  • Nick Mataya vs Ian Butler | Middleweight | 9 min

Mica vs Kody for the belt, and the Mayor of Suplex City

In the co-main event of the night, Mica Galvao will look to defend his newly-won Tezos WNO title against rising MMA star and long-time WNO veteran Kody Steele.

In the MMA scene, Steele has gone viral with his vicious knockouts. In grappling, he's made his way around social media with his high amplitude throws, especially at ADCC Trials last month.

WNO champ Mica Galvao, too, has gained some recognition for his affinity for suplexes. On his path to a title match at Tezos WNO 20, Mica faced Jay Rodriguez, and took an opportunity to attempt a chest wrap suplex, an uncommon move on jiu-jitsu mats.

During the press conference, both men confessed that they were interested in trading takedowns in their match. We've nicknamed this one "the battle for the mayor of suplex city."

Mica, the champ, is one of the winningest athletes on Tezos WNO. He holds an 8-1 record.

Another installment in the Baby Shark vs Pato Rivalry

Newly-crowned champ Diogo 'Baby Shark' Reis is set to defend his featherweight title against a familiar foe, Diego 'Pato' Oliveira.

In his campaign for the title, Reis showed off his dominant wrestling and his heavy top game. But Pato has one of the best guards in the business. Pato has ever-danger leglocks, which Reis will be weary of. They have competed four times to date: three in the gi and just once in no-gi.

The no-gi match was the ADCC South American Trials final, where Reis broke out a clever strategy to edge a decision win over Pato. Reis went on to take gold at the 2022 ADCC World Championships, while Pato took bronze.

Can Giancarlo double down on recent win over rival, Hulk?

Giancarlo Bodoni stepped in on a week's notice to fill in for injured teammate, Gordon Ryan against Lucas ' Hulk' Barbosa. Hulk was setup for a rematch against a familiar foe in the king. But with Ryan injured, Hulk will face an even more familiar foe, Giancarlo Bodoni, against whom he has competed six times to date.

Still the storied history between the two only adds intrigue to the matchup. Leading into September 2022, Hulk held a 4-1 record over Bodoni, defeating him at almost every run-in. But at ADCC 2022, to-date the largest grappling event in history, Bodoni got his revenge when it mattered most, submitting Hulk in the 88kg final.

This match is an opportunity for both of them to make a point. Hulk will hope to show that the last match was just a flash in the pan, while Bodoni is out to demonstrate that he has surpassed his previous form, and that he has Hulk's number moving forward.

500lbs of grappler on the mat in heavyweight clash

Two of the biggest heavyweights at the top of the heap will take the mats tonight. Luke Griffith and Roosevelt Sousa, both of whom weighed in at more than 250 lbs, will face off in an important match for both athletes.

Griffith is 2-0 on Tezos WNO, and holds two of the fastest submission victories in the events history. That includes a leg lock from last year, which was the fastest WNO submission of 2022.

Sousa, too, has his fair share of rapid submissions, especially by leg lock. But he's been on the receiving end as well. En route to his third place finish at ADCC, he suffered a fast leg lock defeat to Gordon Ryan. But Sousa says that loss has motivated him. He hopes that with a win over Griffith — a teammate of Ryan — he can prove that he deserves another crack at the king for a WNO title shot.

Crevar looking to snipe an ADCC veteran after falling short at trials

Teenage phenom Helena Crevar has had a stellar year, including a successful submission win on her Tezos WNO debut. Her one hurdle this year was a narrow loss at the ADCC East Coast Trials finals to Morgan Black.

But Crevar proved with that performance that she's ready for another step up in competition. And this time, it's 2022 ADCC European Trials champion Julia Maele.

Maele, the more decorated of the two, may be on the defending her position as the more credentialed of the two. But it's a huge opportunity for her to demonstrate the prowess of her jiu-jitsu, which was enough to earn her a spot in ADCC last year.

P4P gi great, Tainan Dalpra transitioning to no-gi for WNO debut

Two-time IBJJF world champion Tainan Dalpra, who has maintained a gi record of 70-1 in IBJJF competition as a black belt, will compete in no-gi competition for the first time as a black belt, and the first time since he was a juvenile blue belt competitor.

It's a long-awaited change for Dalpra, who has demonstrated some of the most clean and fan-friendly technique in jiu-jitsu since breaking onto the scene in 2021.

He'll challenge Lovato student Troy Russell, a 1-1 WNO veteran with savage leg lock skills. Elite leg lockers have been known to upset the hopes of gi athletes making the switch, and Russell confessed that his path to victory would be to try and break one of Dalpra's legs.

Mejia & Jones dug in at the press conference, squaring off tonight in feature free prelim

At the top of the four preliminary matches tonight, ADCC East Coast Trials silver medalist Dominic Mejia will take on ADCC European Trials winner Owen Jones.

Both athletes are young, scrappy, and dangerous, and neither will back down from a battle. Look no further than their back-and-forth banter at yesterday's press conference where they agreed on very little, except that this match would be nonstop.

Here are the reigning Tezos WNO Champions

  • Men's featherweight (145): Diogo Reis
  • Men's lightweight (155): Dante Leon
  • Men's welterweight (170): Mica Galvao
  • Men's middleweight (185): Tye Ruotolo
  • Men's light heavyweight (205) Pedro Marinho
  • Men's heavyweight (205+) Gordon Ryan
  • Women's straw weight (115): Mayssa Bastos
  • Women's flyweight (125): Ffion Davies
  • Women's bantamweight (135): Beatriz Mesquita
  • Women's featherweight (145): Elisabeth Clay
  • Women's Heavyweight (145+)  Nathiely de Jesus 

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