WNO: Craig Jones vs Tye Ruotolo

Hollywood Mike's WNO Match Ratings

Hollywood Mike's WNO Match Ratings

Ranking every WNO match since we adopted our current ruleset on a scale of one to five stars.

Jun 22, 2021 by Michael Sears

Who’s Number One (WNO) has always been about putting on the most exciting grappling matches possible. This is reflected in the athletes we try to use on the cards, athletes known for caring about putting on a show and entertaining the fans. Our ruleset is designed to favor those who consistently attack and aggressive athletes have been the most successful by far.

Something new I will add is giving a match ranking in terms of excitement after events, with five stars being the highest and ½ star being the lowest possible. This factors in a number of things, but generally it is how exciting a match was to watch for the fans. For my initial ratings I will only do matches that took place under our current ruleset, so starting with WNO: Gordon Ryan vs Matheus Diniz in September, 2020.

This by no means has anything to do with how I think an athlete performed or whether they will be invited back. Dominant victories, which of course we love, suffer a little bit here from just being too one sided. Sometimes a match can be made boring by one of the two competitors and we recognize that for our future matchmaking.

While submission finishes always add to the excitement, some of our best matches went the entire fifteen minutes. Close matches can be giving high ratings, as long as the match wasn’t such a stalemate that not much happened. Total dominations are fun but will probably have a harder time getting a high rating than a match that goes a little longer and shows great jiu-jitsu from both competitors.

I want to keep the five star rating prestigious, and it will be extremely hard for a match to get five stars. Don’t take it personal if one of your matches gets a low rating, sometimes two great athletes go out there and the match just doesn’t turn out as good as it could have been for a bunch of reasons, and sometimes both athletes are not to blame.

Two stars are the stalemates or some matches that could have been improved with submission attacks, two and a half stars matches are good, three stars and up are the must watch matches, with anything over 3 being especially exceptional.

These are not grading athletes performances by any means, some of the most dominant wins are rated pretty low here. Just my opinion on my favorite matches to watch. You already hate me, so don't act like this changed anything if you're not happy about the rating.

Quick summary if you want to skip ahead and hear my explanations - 

Gordon Ryan vs Matheus Diniz10/2/2020*****
Kade Ruotolo vs Ethan Crelinsten4/30/2021*****
Tye Ruotolo vs Kody Steele12/11/2020****1/2
Gordon Ryan vs Roberto Jimenez2/26/2021****1/2
Damien Anderson vs Luis Quinones5/28/2021****1/2
Grace Gundrum vs Alex Nguyen4/30/2021****1/2
Craig Jones vs Roberto Jimenez10/2/2020****
Nathiely de Jesus vs Gabi Garcia2/26/2021****
Micael Galvao vs Andrew Tackett5/28/2021****
Tye Ruotolo vs William Tackett4/30/2021****
Roberto Jimenez vs Dante Leon12/11/2020***1/2
Kaynan Duarte vs Rodolfo Vieira12/11/2020***1/2
Craig Jones vs Ronaldo Junior2/26/2021***1/2
Jessa Khan vs Pati Fontes5/28/2021***1/2
Gordon Ryan vs Vagner Rocha3/26/2021***1/2
Kade Ruotolo vs Cole Franson6/18/2021***1/2
Dante Leon vs Kody Steele10/2/2020***
Nicky Ryan vs Tony Ramos10/2/2020***
William Tackett vs Jason Rau10/2/2020***
Maggie Grindatti vs Rafaela Guedes3/26/2021***
Jessa Khan vs Danielle Kelly2/26/2021***
Mikey Musumeci vs Marcelo Cohen3/26/2021***
Craig Jones vs Luiz Panza5/28/2021***
Mikey Musumeci vs Lucas Pinheiro5/28/2021***
Jessica Crane vs Lauren Sears4/30/2021***
Rafaela Guedes vs Erin Harpe6/18/2021***
Andrew Wiltse vs David Garmo4/30/2021***
Danielle Kelly vs Jessica Crane6/18/2021***
Nathalie Ribeiro vs Luiza Monteiro10/2/2020**1/2
Kennedy Maciel vs Geo Martinez12/11/2020**1/2
Andrew Tackett vs Sean Yadimarco3/26/2021**1/2
Nicky Ryan vs Gabriel Almeida5/28/2021**1/2
Oliver Taza vs Johnatha Alves5/28/2021**1/2
Cole Abate vs Sathya Wiltse5/28/2021**1/2
Andrew Wiltse vs Gabriel Almeida6/18/2021**1/2
Haisam Rida vs Miha Perhavec6/18/2021**1/2
Kody Steele vs Philip Rowe6/18/2021**1/2
Mikey Musumeci vs Junny Ocasio6/18/2021**1/2
Geo Martinez vs Paulo Miyao10/2/2020**
Vagner Rocha vs Jon Blank12/11/2020**
Geo Martinez vs Junny Ocasio2/26/2021**
Gabi Garcia vs Elisabeth Clay10/2/2020**
Oliver Taza vs Johnny Tama3/26/2021**
Rafael Lovato Jr vs Gilbert Burns5/28/2021**
Nick Rodriguez vs Yuri Simoes3/26/2021**
Micael Galvao vs Oliver Taza6/18/2021**
Craig Jones vs Tye Ruotolo6/18/2021**
Mayssa Bastos vs Grace Gundrum12/11/2020*1/2
Elder Cruz vs Jacob Couch2/26/2021*1/2
Andrew Wiltse vs PJ Barch2/26/2021*1/2
Nicky Ryan vs PJ Barch4/30/2021*1/2
Vagner Rocha vs Josh Hinger5/28/2021*
Haisam Rida vs Sloan Clymer4/30/2021*

WARNING SPOILERS: but most of these matches happened months ago so shut up. 

If you've never used a computer before, click on the names of the match to be taken to the actual match video.

***** Five Star Matches

Gordon Ryan vs Matheus Diniz - Maybe Gordon’s most impressive performance of all time, complete domination of a reigning ADCC champion. Whenever Gordon achieved top position it was simply a clinic, and I feel this match is when everyone realized he can basically do whatever he wants against the best in the world. This match gets a boost in the rating due to the wide range of beautiful jiu-jitsu Gordon utilized, going through almost every position in the game before finally finishing with a heel hook. This match is the definition of what we want from an athlete on Gordon’s side, always working to advance in all positions, and Matheus put up a good fight no matter how bad things got for him to add to the excitement. Beautiful finish, with Matheus’ reaction to Gordon’s shoulder crunch sumi gaeshi setting up the inside heel hook. 5 stars

Kade Ruotolo vs Ethan Crelinsten - Best WNO match of all time, just nonstop action from start to finish with an amazing submission. Both guys clearly came in fired up, with Ethan feeling he was robbed in their first match and Kade wanting to prove the doubters wrong in their second meeting. There were more positions passed through in the first 30 seconds than some matches have in 15 minutes. Just watch this one, Kade puts Ethan in a nasty arm bar at one point that I still have no idea how Ethan didn’t tap, and finishes with a beautiful darce entry. But there are so many nice transitions here I could write an entire article about it, best WNO match ever and maybe best jiu-jitsu match ever. 5 stars

****½ Four And a Half Star Matches

Tye Ruotolo vs Kody Steele - Tye looked unbelievably good in this match, and Kody doesn’t know how to go backwards so of course it resulted in an instant classic. Lots of wrestling to start this off, and the type of wrestling we want to see on the show, with everything being offensive. Throw by got the takedown for Tye and he just never stopped attacking from there. Tye’s passing is some of the best in the no-gi scene, and he has the cardio chain his attacks until one works, which ended up happening around five minutes into the match. Kody recomposed to half butterfly, then Tye passes with a beautiful leg pin to back step for his second pass of the match. Leg pin to back step again by pass led to another near pass, scramble and they’re on their feet again. Foot sweep sets up a snatch single by Tye, just beautiful wrestling by him in this match, but Kody ended up kicking back out to a neutral position. Blast double almost immediately by Tye, he really just gave Kody no opportunity to recover once he got going. Side smash to mount, but Tye loses the position going for a mounted triangle. Tye gets back on top, bolo dives, ends up winning by inside heel hook. Tye never let off the gas, Kody put up a great fight, and it doesn’t get any better than this. 4.5 stars

Gordon Ryan vs Roberto Jimenez - Gordon stepped in on late notice after his brother was injured for this match. Obvious mismatch, and that’s no knock on Roberto, you can say that about Gordon vs anyone at this point. This was also the debut of Gordon calling his sub before the match. Two of the most exciting grapplers ever is a recipe for success, and while Gordon showed his typical flawless technique Roberto showed tremendous heart. Gordon was in a position to attack a heel hook 20 seconds in, but obviously he had committed to win by armbar, so used it to sweep instead. Gordon used some side to side passing on the feet to drop into top half guard, secure the crossface and pass the guard and then mount. As exciting as Roberto can be, Gordon’s technique really locked him down in this match. Any Gordon match is fun to watch just because you get to see the P4P King demonstrate the crisp technique that has gotten him to this level. Roberto showed great reaction, escaping Gordon’s first armbar from s mount, settling on top. Roberto didn’t play it safe, trying a bolo dive, but that might not have been the best decision as it resulted in Gordon regaining to position, Gordon passed directly to mount this time, and it was game over at that point. Armbar from the s mount again, and this finish isn’t for the squeamish.  4.5 stars

Damien Anderson vs Luis Quinones - Can’t ask for a better match to start a card and set the tempo for the night than this one. Luis hit a single five seconds into the match and was all over Damien. Luis forced a turtle from a pass and started working a front headlock, then nearly passed once Damien recomposed. Damien stood back up only for Luis to quickly snap him down to a front headlock. Luis passed and roced a turtle, then took the back, completely dominating the opening five minutes of this match. Damien escaped and ended up on top, the tables seemed to turn here and Damien started controlling the match. Once back on the feet Luis clearly had less energy, but he still managed to hit a duck under, although Damien ended up with a front headlock and Luis simply looked out of gas underneath him. Damien backstepped from a knee slide, looking to set up a heel hook but Quinones rolled out. The finish came soon after, a backstep to the back and quick RNC. 4.5 stars

Grace Gundrum vs Alex Nguyen - Alex came into this match a late replacement and a big underdog but really impressed in a loss here. Alex pulled guard and swept from X Guard pretty quickly. Alex was working a little from a knee slide position, which plays into Grace’s quarter guard game, but worked in guillotines nicely as a control position. Alex was really aggressive from top here, but a lot of her positions which would be dominant against most grapplers played into Grace’s great quarter guard and lockdown game. Grace was extremely close to sweeping from the lockdown but Alex defended well to keep top position. The big underdog Nguyen actually had the judges favor at the 10 minute mark. Nguyen gave up top position going for a toe hold, and then quickly tried to get to a heel hook from bottom. Grace stacked Alex from double unders halfway through the match and really took control from that point on. Trying to get to the truck and then backstepping to side control, and controlling Alex tih a bodylock through some transitions. Alex attempted another heel hook entry but Grace defended beautifully, settling in a side smash with double underhooks. The last three minutes you really saw a sense of urgency from Grace, applying some great pressure and eventually passing the guard. That pass with 90 seconds left probably sealed the victory, but she spend the rest of the match attacking nonstop submissions. First an RNC, then switched over to a reverse triangle with the arm in danger. Nguyen looked in big trouble from the triangle, but had to tap to a nasty arm bar with seconds left. Probably the best women's match on WNO so far and no doubt one of the best matches overall. 4.5 stars

**** Four Star Matches

Craig Jones vs Roberto Jimenez - Two of the most exciting athletes in the sport here, and the action did not disappoint. While it was a quick one, Roberto went right after Craig and there was not a boring second in the match. There were some nice exchanges for such a quick match, such as Craig’s armdrag into cross ashi garami and Roberto’s quick escape. This match was a non stop flow of action, until Craig finally locked Roberto down. In classic Craig Jones fashion, when he gets a shot on a heel hook he finishes, and this was the beginning of his run of quick submissions at WNO. 4 stars

Nathiely de Jesus vs Gabi Garcia - This match was simply incredible, with tons of action and of course the underdog coming out on top over the greatest woman’s competitor of all-time. Gabi clearly wanted to show a different side of her game in this match, even going for some heel hooks. I think this match benefited from Gabi wanting to put on a show after the slow paced match with Elisabeth Clay. It’s not very often, if ever, you see Gabi Garcia drop from top back for an ankle lock like she did in this match. Gabi’s passing was pretty fast paced and had Nathiely on the run at points. We even saw some guard play from Gabi, she went out of her way to make this a fun match instead of sticking to her proven path to success that has worked so well over the years. Both women went after some heel hooks here, with Nathi getting a pretty good bite on the heel at one point. Match was pretty even until Nathi took Gabi’s back off a heel hook attempt near the end to seal the win. 4 stars

Micael Galvao vs Andrew Tackett - Mica’s first WNO match in no-gi, and damn did he look impressive. Mica pulled to start, Andrew was offensive from top and some scrambles ensued, resulting in Mica climbing the back and coming on top in side control, then quickly transitioning to mount. Andrew defended great and fought until the end, but Mica was always in control. Mica was attacking an arm bar near the end, and a submission would have probably bumped this match to four and a half stars. 4 stars

Tye Ruotolo vs William Tackett - William stepped in on a few days notice here, and Tye maybe looked better than ever, dominating from start to finish. Great wrestling technique from Tye, hitting a foot sweep from a russian early, and it seemed like Tye’s pressure on the feet forced William to pull guard a little over a minute in. William immediately got active going after Tye’s legs, but Tye never seemed to be in any real danger. Bolo dive to counter the leg attacks from Tye at 3 minutes in was beautiful, he didn’t secure the position but got one hook in. William wrestled up with a bodylock to take top position, landing with Tye flattened out in a body lock. Tye recomposed quickly and got back to his feet, immediately getting after Tackett until he pulled again. Five minutes in, the judges actually favored Tackett. More leg attempts from William, but once things opened up Tye got his leg step passing going, but passed from a quick knee slide and mounted immediately. After a recovery from William, Tye passed to side control almost immediately, and started threatening north south choke. This match showed yet again why Tye is one of the best passers in the game. Tye never stopped pressuring, threatening a baseball bat choke from a side smash, and attempting another bolo dive from a leg entry by William, ending up in the mount again. Tye even gave up the mount to try and set up a heel hook, he attacked to the end and looked incredible. 4 stars

***½ Three And a Half Star Matches

Roberto Jimenez vs Dante Leon - Two guys that are a guaranteed great match against anyone, put them together and it is guaranteed action. These guys thrive in scrambles and it didn’t take long fot them to get there. Dante had a serious sub attempt early with a deep heel hook. Both guys did what they do, constantly attacking and this is the perfect example of a match that can be exciting while still going the distance. Roberto went berimbolo less than two minutes in, Dante defended well but Roberto adjusted and still ended up on the back. Switching to a triangle and then armbar allowed Dante to escape, and he instantly went on the offense on top. Dante spent more time on top here, and what is expected, trying to advance instead of killing time. Beautiful snatch single leg from Roberto with about 4:30 left. Dante almost hit his own bolo around 3 minutes left, these guys were really getting after it in a back and forth match. Roberto came up with a bodylock from guard with a minute left and scrambled into the mount, Dante bucked his way out and then Roberto finished the match with Dante in a fully locked triangle. Doesn’t get much better than this. 3.5 stars

Kaynan Duarte vs Rodolfo Vieira - Incredible performance by Kaynan here, everyone knew he was the heavy favorite but I don’t think anyone expected this. Throw by to the back and a quick finish for Kaynan. Kaynan was non-stop offense from start to finish. 3.5 stars

Craig Jones vs Ronaldo Junior - Craig is a terror under these rules, everyone felt this was a bis mismatch, and Ronaldo was probably rushed into the main event because of the ongoing Atos/DDS feud that was taking place. This is actually the longest Craig has spent on the mat at WNO, incredible because this match lasted less than five minutes. Ronaldo certainly played it a lot safer than Roberto did with Craig, attempting to kick out any time Craig established a guard. Maybe his plan was to drag Craig into deep waters, but withstanding Craig’s attacks for that long is easier said than done. Wasn’t really any action until Craig finally got control of the legs, and when Craig gets a bite on the heel it’s game over. A nice match to study on how to get to the legs on a disengaging opponent, but not as exciting as Craig’s meeting with Roberto. 3.5 stars

Jessa Khan vs Pati Fontes - Jessa’s shot at redemption after losing to Pati a few years ago. Jessa pulled to start and wrestled her way to top in about a minute. Pati tried working some Lucas Leite stuff from quarter guard with the underhook, but once Jessa countered nicely from top, eventually using a guillotine to pass and quickly mount. Pati fought her way back to top closed guard and stood up, Jessa went for a k guard entry from there that resulted in Pati attacking an ankle lock. Extra point for a beautiful finish, Jessa secured an underhook while still in guard and transitioned to an arm bar for the sub. 3.5 stars

Gordon Ryan vs Vagner Rocha - The infamous incident where Gordon handed Hywel an envelope containing the submission he would hit before the match even started. There was about 90 seconds of Gordon chasing Vagner around on the feet before Gordon pulled and quickly got to ashi garami. He swept pretty quickly, becoming the first person to sweep Vagner in 2020. A little standing passing from Gordon until he forced half guard, and once he got the cross face it wasn’t long until he got the mount and then back. Match got a little strange at points, with Vagner and Gordon talking while he was on his back. Obviously we know afterwards that it was because Gordon was committed to finishing by triangle and was not going to attempt the RNC.  The moments where Gordon was in a dominant position but couldn’t finish because of his commitment to calling the sub make this his lowest rated WNO match, the talking just made it seem like a light roll at times. Finish was pretty nice though, as most people thought Gordon was going Kimura before he turned it into a triangle. 3.5 stars 

Kade Ruotolo vs Cole Franson - It’s a Kade Ruotolo match, so he’s attacking nonstop, and won his second straight sub of the night with a buggy choke. 3.5 stars for the badass finish

*** Three Star Matches

Dante Leon vs Kody Steele - Two guys who never seem to disappoint here. Kody came in as a late replacement when the UFC pulled Gilbert Burns from his match with Dante. Dante got things off to a great start with an early double leg in the match. Dante took risks on top, giving up top position with a solid guillotine attempt early, and then wrestled his way back to top with a single leg not long after. Solid passing from Dante, always trying to advance, and got to side control with five minutes left. Dante basically did all you could ask for in terms of excitement, being aggressive on the feet and from guard, and always moving forward to pass while attempting a bunch of guillotines from top. Kody put up a hell of a fight here as well. 3 stars

Nicky Ryan vs Tony Ramos - A hard match to rate, as this was the shortest match in WNO history and definitely the strangest match I ever booked. Nicky did what everyone thought, with the heel hook in under 30 seconds, but was just too big of a mismatch to be rated as one of the best matches. 3 stars

William Tackett vs Jason Rau - Any match with either of these guys is bound to be exciting. Rau worked hard to get in on the legs early and Tackett defended perfectly, then pressed forward with passing attempts when he had the chance. Short match, the action never really stopped, gets a boost from the transition that ended the match being beautiful. 3 stars

Maggie Grindatti vs Rafaela Guedes - There is rarely a boring Rafaela Guedes match, and she certainly entertained in this match. A few minutes of wrestling, but both girls were working offensively. Rafaela eventually used an underhook to set up a knee tap and get the takedown, almost taking the back in the process but ending up on bottom. Rafaela’s second takedown came from a snatch single, she displayed some really good wrestling in this match. Rafaela forced a turtle from a stack pass before spinning around to attack the back. Rafaela attacked a choke with one hook in and ended up in guard after an escape from Maggie. Even while playing closed guard Rafaela fired off nonstop attacks. She ended up securing the back and a body triangle, and finished with an RNC. Great display of jiu-jitsu in all positions from Rafaela, and her offensive wrestling style is exactly what we want if you’re going to wrestle. 3 stars

Jessa Khan vs Danielle Kelly - Jessa Khan only knows how to go forward and attack, being conservative is not in her arsenal. She constantly attacks submissions, and although this match went to decision she was chasing subs the entire time. Kelly can wrestle, and you could tell Jessa was ready for it, snatching a tight guillotine off the first shot of the match. Not long after Jessa attacked a pretty tight knee bar, with Kelly defending well and then Jessa transitioning to a heel hook. Kelly hit a nice sweep single after they got back to their feet, and then Jessa attacked an armbar within seconds of the match hitting the mat. Khan has a very offensive closed guard and worked from there for a while, then hit a beautiful k guard entry when Danielle stood up to attack a toe hold and a knee bar. While Khan was always on the offense, Kelly’s defense was great and she survived a ridiculous amount of solid sub attempts. A couple heel hook attempts inside the last five minutes for Khan, her rate of submission attacks in this match was rapid fire. Jessa eventually wrestles up to a body lock, gets the takedown and secured side control, and didn’t rest there, constantly working until she advanced to the mount. Gift wrap to the back, this match was about as dominant as it can get without an actual submission. Danielle deserves credit for making this match exciting, she never gave up and her defense to nonstop sub attacks made this match a pleasure to watch. 3 stars

Mikey Musumeci vs Marcelo Cohen - Mikey’s first no-gi match in five years and his WNO debut. Mikey was the big favorite here and it showed throughout the match. Mikey came up on top about two minutes in and it was a clinic from there, using a crossface with the underhook to pressure pass to the mount. A rare match to get to watch Mikey pressure passing, and it’s worth a watch just for that. Mikey kept putting his foot back into quarter guard, and explained after he was trying to set up a specific sub, but passed and mounted at will. Mikey eventually set up a triangle from mount and then finished with a triangle armbar 8 minutes in. 3 stars

Craig Jones vs Luiz Panza - Craig was a late replacement for Gordon, but made quick work of this one. Heel hook in under a minute. Too one sided and quick to be considered a great match, but worth the watch to study Craig’s finish. 3 stars

Cole Abate vs Ned Johnson - Cole’s first no-gi match on WNO, and there were a lot of questions about how the 16 year old would perform against adults in WNO rules. He certainly proved he was ready in this match, dominating from start to finish. Cole attacks nonstop, starting the match off going from toe hold to kimura about a minute in. Belly down ankle lock gets the finish less than three minutes in. 3 stars

Mikey Musumeci vs Lucas Pinheiro - Big statement from Mikey in his second match back in no-gi. Mikey made quick work of the number one ranked grappler at his weight, quickly using a k guard entry to attack the leg but Lucas escaped the first attempt. Back to it and second attempt was game over, heel hook win in under two minutes. 3 stars

Jessica Crane vs Lauren Sears - The women’s strawweight division always seems to result in great matches. Sears attacked a guillotine off a single leg attempt by Crane, Crane escaped and finished another single on a shot immediately after, landing in a great position with Sears flattened out in half guard. Sears got to lock down, but Crane was eventually able to work her way up the body to a guillotine, using it to set up a knee slide that she passed with. Crane stayed super tight with an underhook and advanced to the mount, quickly securing a gift wrap. Crane’s top game was super impressive, staying tight and applying pressure while constantly working to advance position. Crane had a couple near back takes and was always able to recover the mount when it didn’t work. Once she finally secured the back, it was only a matter of seconds before she finished with a RNC. 3 stars

Rafaela Guedes vs Erin Harpe - Wonderful back and forth battle. I had no idea who would take this decision when it went to the judges, but it went to Harpe for the more dangerous submission attacks as opposed to Rafaela controlling position and not going for subs. 3 stars

Andrew Wiltse vs David Garmo - After a lackluster WNO debut, Wiltse got after it this time, and Garmo always puts on a show. Wiltse hit a nice arm drag and tried to get to a heel hook in the first couple minutes. Andrew has had a habit of letting the top player make it boring while playing guard, but playing conservatively is just not something Garmo knows how to do. Andrew also showed more insistence on finishing his single legs from guard in this match than he did against Barch. Wiltse also played more guard sitting up in this match as opposed to on his back, risky against Garmo’s guillotines but it definitely resulted in more action. Sumi gaeshi to a quick pass halfway into the match, then advanced to the mount and almost immediately to the back. Beautiful hand fighting from Wiltse on the back and finishes it with a one arm choke. 3 stars

Danielle Kelly vs Jessica Crane - Kelly was clearly disappointed in her performance against Jessa Khan and came in super focused for this one. Kelly clearly wanted to get to the legs, and did on her first attempt,  inverting before finishing a knee bar in about three minutes. 3 stars

**½ Two And a Half Star Matches

Nathalie Ribeiro vs Luiza Monteiro - A very even matchup here, resulting in a lot of static positions. They still got after it though, with both women attempting multiple submissions in the first five minutes. Nathalie nearly got both the back and the mount off a scramble at one point which probably won her the match. Lots of jiu-jitsu in this match, with action on the feet, both girls playing top and bottom and attempting subs. 2.5 stars

Kennedy Maciel vs Geo Martinez - Geo bumped up here for a match between the top ranked featherweight and lightweight. Match was pretty even, with Geo probably winning, until Kennedy’s pass late in the match. Some of the leg entanglements in this match may seem like a stalemate if you don’t do much no-gi, but Geo was in control and had Kennedy in some bad spots. Both guys countered each other pretty evenly for most of the match, but in the end Kennedy’s pressure was too much. 2.5 stars

Andrew Tackett vs Sean Yadimarco - Andrew was still 17 here and matched up with an accomplished IBJJF competitor in Yadimarco. Quick takedown for Tackett, then stayed active on top, diving for a guillotine, forcing a turtle and getting on the back pretty quick. Even after Yadimarco got back to guard, Tackett never really let off the gas and controlled the tempo the entire time. Knee slide to the mount and then Tackett ended up on the back for the second time in the first six minutes, Yadimarco escaped to his feet, and quickly ended up in a front headlock after shooting on Tackett. Seat belt for Tackett in the turtle, gets the back for a third time. Several minutes of Andrew constantly pressuring and Yadimarco defending. Another pass, another back take, Tackett honestly never stopped attacking for 15 minutes. Tackett even hit a takedown to side control near the end. Although he did not get a submission, this match might have been the most dominant positionally in any WNO match. 2.5 stars

Nicky Ryan vs Gabriel Almeida - Nicky’s third win in a row at WNO. Gabriel pulled to start it off, Nicky worked his way to a body lock quickly, eventually forcing Gabriel to turtle and taking his back about three minutes in. Gabriel was able to escape and work his way back to the feet, but Nicky put him down with a single leg not after. Underhook and crossface from half guard and a quick pass to side control. Gabriel turtles again and Nicky takes the back for a second time. Gabriel gets back to guard, Nicky passes and takes the back again. Once back to guard, Gabriel finally got a little offense going trying to work an ankle lock, but Nicky never looked to be in danger. Nothing really happened in the last five minutes, but clear win for Nicky. 2.5 stars

Oliver Taza vs Johnatha Alves - Back and forth match with some nasty heel hooks by Taza. Alves had some dominant positions, but the constant submission danger he was in made Taza the clear winner. Around seven minutes in, Taza nearly mounts from a bodylock and then falls back into a disgusting heel hoko, no idea how Alves did not tap. 2.5 stars

Cole Abate vs Sathya Wiltse - Just like Cole’s first no-gi match on WNO, he simply looked to be on another level here. He secured an underhook and quickly passed to mount. He used a kimura trap to go from the crucifix to an armbar, finally securing the triangle for the finish. Really one sided, we need to see Cole against top 10 guys soon. 2.5 stars

Andrew Wiltse vs Gabriel Almeida - Wiltse shot early and Gabriel attacked a guillotine. It looked like Andrew was going to play guard and likely lose the decision. Then he smartly stood up, wore Gabriel out with his wrestling and ended up finishing with a one arm choke. Great finish, very boring first ten minutes. 2.5 stars

Haisam Rida vs Miha Perhavec - Second quickest submission in WNO history. Perhavec ended up on bottom after attempting a throw, and Rida quickly rolled for a kimura trap to set up an arm bar. 36 second match. 2.5 stars

Kody Steele vs Philip Rowe - Great match here, both guys worked from start to finish, Kody took it to the mat with an imanari roll after a couple close shots. some rash guards might have made a finish more realistic in the second half. Kody was in control for the most part, but Philip kept his composure in some tough spots. Rowe hit a nice inside trip near the end and looked great in the final five minutes, but Kody clearly had the victory. 2.5 stars

Mikey Musumeci vs Junny Ocasio - Brilliant leg lock displays from Mikey again, Junny was able to roll out of bounds on all of them though. Had Mikey come up on top earlier he gets the choke probably. Junny was the first athlete to survive against Mikey at WNO though, but probably was limping the next day. 2.5 stars

** Two Star Matches

Geo Martinez vs Paulo Miyao - This was a big statement for Geo, who had been on somewhat of a slide and got his revenge against Paulo here for his first win in their rivalry. Paulo seemed intent on playing from guard, passing up several opportunities to come up and pass, which is disappointing considering how good his no-gi passing is and that might have cost him this match. Geo’s guillotine attempt was the only time anyone attempted a sub and probably what secured him the decision win. Neither athlete is really at fault for this not being the funnest match, sometimes guys are just so evenly matched it is hard to get something going.Instead of the back and forth sweep battle, I’d like to have seen a little more taking a risk to go for a submission from top or bottom to get this match a higher rating. In these rules, where sweeps don’t really matter, dropping for a heel hook or going after a kimura or guillotine from top could have made this one a little more fun. 2 stars

Vagner Rocha vs Jon Blank - Started this thing off with some Vagner style dirty wrestling and trash talk until Blank jumped closed guard. Vagner is known for shutting down attacks while passing, and Blank had a lot of trouble getting any offense off from the bottom. Blank got a great leg entry at 6:45 left but wasn’t able to really put Vagner in any danger. Vagner is a very smart fighter and his plan was obvious looking back on it, pass on the feet but try to get to an underhook and crossface with Blank flattened out, but a side smash redirected to the other side is how he eventually finished the pass. Not much was achieved from the side control though, but in a match this close that was enough. Not really any serious submission attempts in this match, but both guys' counters were on point and there weren’t any real opportunities. Had Blank threatened a little more with that early heel hook he would have taken the decision most likely. Not a boring match by any means, both guys were always working, just countered each other too well to make anything memorable happen in the match. 2 stars

Geo Martinez vs Junny Ocasio - Kind of a stalemate, but no doubt some great technical jiu-jitsu displayed here. Definitely more standup than you would expect with these two, and in a match this close Geo’s late takedown definitely got him the decision win. Another match that was so closely contested that not much happened, and there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s expected sometimes at this level. The trip Geo hit on the edge to secure the win was beautiful, but this is certainly not a must watch match by any means. 2 stars

Gabi Garcia vs Elisabeth Clay - Not the most exciting match by any means, but I think Elisabeth really impressed by going the distance with the 4x ADCC champion Gabi. Gabi displayed her top pressure that has made her the most accomplished female grappler of all time, but Elisabeth also looked impressive with her guard retention. This match didn’t suffer from either athlete not trying to push the pace, it just seemed like either had the right reaction at all times to keep the other from getting on a roll. Like Mayssa/Grace, this seemed like a 15 minute feeling out process in the first meeting between two of the best in the division, and I’m sure it will look a lot different the second time they meet. Gabi pressed forward throughout, forced turtle a couple of times, but there were no real dominant positions or dangerous submission attacks achieved in this match. Not much happened, but they stayed active throughout, with Clay even attempting an omoplata in the final seconds. 2 stars

Oliver Taza vs Johnny Tama - People were torn on this decision, while it was close I agree with the judges just because Johnny didn’t do anything with side control. Just getting there doesn’t count for anything in these rules, it’s what you do with it once you get there. But these guys always bring it, and it was a decent match. Taza dropped back for a heel hook early and definitely had Johnny in danger. Mostly a stalemate, not a great match but not hard to watch either. Johnny definitely could have been more offensive from his guard, and Taza had the only submission attempts in the match. 2 stars    

Rafael Lovato Jr. vs Gilbert Burns - First off, these guys are legends who have been around forever, so to expect this to be as fast paced as Tye Ruotolo vs William Tackett would be unrealistic. Lovato pulled to start and started working from half guard, both guys stayed active on the ground flowing through a lot of positions. Super evenly matched, although they were both active not much happened for the first 10 minutes. I think both the vets planned on saving it for the last five minutes, and the judges favored Lovato with five minutes left. Burns eventually got to the back though, definitely enough to seal the win in a very close match. 2 stars

Nick Rodriguez vs Yuri Simoes - Yuri shocked the world by pulling guard less than one second into the match, obviously trying to lure the wrestler Nicky Rod into doing some jiu-jitsu. Nicky looked more impressive than ever though, with some brutal body lock passing, and passed the guard less than a minute into the match. While Yuri is one of the better wrestlers in the sport, nobody would have argued with the strategy of pulling guard on Nicky, but this match was where Nicky showed how far his ground game has come, with multiple guard passes on the 2x ADCC champion. Might not have been the most fast paced match, but the control and technique by Nicky on the ground was a beautiful technical display. A great match to watch if you want to study bodylock passing, especially Nicky’s footwork while completing the passes. 2 stars

Micael Galvao vs Oliver Taza - Mica’s second no-gi match on WNO, second match that went the full 15 minutes. Taza was clearlyn intent to wrestle and get on top, and although he was able to get in on the legs several times from the feet Mica seemed to be too athletic. Mica attained all the dominant positions in this match. Good wrestling exchanges and scrambles, nobody really came close to finishing though. 2 stars

Craig Jones vs Tye Ruotolo - Not the exciting match we all expected, with Tye passing against Craig’s leg lock entries. Craig displayed some nice tactics, wrestling his way to top and passing the guard. He got hit with a stalling penalty though, and this was both athletes least exciting match on WNO. They will meet again. 2 stars

*½ One And a Half Star Matches

Mayssa Bastos vs Grace Gundrum - Unusually boring match for two athletes who usually straight up murder people. Felt like a 15 minute feeling out process, I expect the inevitable next meeting between them to be a war. Mayssa seemed much more timid than usual here. Mayssa swept early with an arm drag, but then sat right back down instead of trying her usual pressure passing. I think Mayssa is one of the most exciting athletes in the sport, but constantly sitting down from top really hurt this match, especially when her passing is so good. Nothing much happened in this match, and like I said that is very strange considering how exciting these two normally are. Way too many sweeps in this match, a back and forth sweep battle is not far off from circling and clubbing when it comes to what we don’t want. It’s one thing if the sweeps are legit and the athlete who gets on top then tries to do something, but sweeping only to easily give up top position soon after simply is not entertaining. I’ll neither of these girls ever have a match rated this low again though. 1.5 stars

Andrew Wiltse vs PJ Barch - Both of these guys WNO debut, and they looked like they might have been timid as a result. Uneventful match, neither guy got anything going or even committed to an attack. Usually two exciting competitors but this match was not an entertaining one. Would have liked to see Andrew commit more to wrestling up from guard or pJ try to advance a little more on top. 1.5 stars

Elder Cruz vs Jacob Couch - These guys are both typically exciting, which secured them their invite to the prelims, but I think just being on this stage for the first time resulted in an underwhelming match. The entire match looked basically the exact same, with Couch playing half butterfly and “El Monstro” passing. Elder clearly wanted to keep his legs back and not engage Couch’s guard for most of the match, but Couch needed to adjust sooner or later to counter that approach. Elder eventually forced a turtle off a pass and took the back, to win a clear decision. 1.5 stars

Nicky Ryan vs PJ Barch - Barch has had some very exciting matches in his career, which is why we use him on WNO, but has seemed hesitant to pull the trigger in both of his WNO matches so far. Nicky Ryan was openly very upset about his performance in this match, while a great match on paper it just didn’t result in very much action. There were basically two exchanges, Nicky wrestling up and PJ countering with a kimura trap, and I think Nicky being the one who initiated the action rightly resulted in him getting the decision. Both guys stayed active, there was no running away or anything, sometimes a match is just a stalemate and that’s fine. PJ could have committed more to his pass attempts ot maybe went for a sub from top to improve this one. Close match, right call giving Nicky the decision, and both guys were pretty open that they weren’t happy with how this match played out. 1.5 stars

* One Star Matches

Vagner Rocha vs Josh Hinger - A match that caused a lot of outrage in the community, I have to take some of the heat here for simply bad matchmaking. These guys have had great matches with others, but two counter wrestlers was a recipe for disaster. This match is the example of the style of wrestling we don’t want on WNO, and I think some stalling calls and an eventual DQ if they didn’t pick up the pace would have been warranted. I also think if someone pulled guard here they would have gotten the decision just for that being the biggest attempt to initiate action in the match. Vagner definitely would have been the first guy to get hit with stalling, although neither had any offense in the first five minutes, Vagner moved backwards consistently. The match went nine minutes on the feet before the first shot. Lots of backwards movement, defensive hand fighting, locking up forehead to forehead, disengaging, interlacing fingers, all the recipes for a bad match. Only three shots in a fifteen minute match, never went to the ground, we would without question prefer a DQ about 10 minutes in or even quicker over this happening again. Gotta be the lowest possible score, 1 star

Rida Haisam vs Sloan Clymer - Two normally exciting competitors that I think just froze up under the lights at WNO. Probably the second worst match in WNO history. Too much defensive hand fighting on the feet and backing up, interlacing fingers, the typical stuff that kills a standup match minus the clubbing. Haisam did jump closed guard but neither guy got anything going on the ground and it went back to the feet. Around 7 minutes in it gets especially slow, adrenaline dump burning out the gas tank is normal for guys doing WNO the first time. Way too much interlacing fingers on the feet, nobody does any offense from there ever. Commentary says the takedown from Rida was an outside trip but ref was in the way of the camera. Clymer immediately got to a good half guard but might have just had no gas left 10 minutes in. Foot sweep by Rida in the last two minutes was beautiful. I’m sure both guys weren't happy with this match, it wasn't the best way to kick off a WNO, but was still somehow a million times more exciting than Vagner/Hinger. Clear win for Rida. 1 star

Something important regarding these one star matches, they both suffered from slippery mat conditions and would be better with our current mat surface in my opinion.

There you have it, we hate wrestling matches, and this is coming from a guy who did his first wrestling practice at five years old. Get it to the ground, one way or another. God bless you all.