Who’s Number One 21: Pedro Marinho vs. Rafael Lovato Jr. - Highlights, Updates, and Results

Who’s Number One 21: Pedro Marinho vs. Rafael Lovato Jr. - Highlights, Updates, and Results

1. WNO 21 - Giancarlo Bodoni Replaces Gordon Ryan - An Explosive Bout

The WNO 21 fever peaked with Giancarlo Bodoni replacing Gordon Ryan. Giancarlo Bodoni, a renowned American submission grappler, and a BJJ black, recently competed against Lucas “Hulk” Barbosa, another skilled BJJ black belt and submission grappler, at the Who’s Number One 21 event held on November 30th, 2023. Originally, Gordon Ryan was meant to compete in this highly anticipated main event; however, Bodoni proved to be a great replacement and a worthy opponent for Barbosa. The previous rivalry between Bodoni and Barbosa was further fueled on the mats of Who’s Number One 21. Over the last years, the two grapplers had competed against each other in six matches, with Barbosa securing victory in four out of six bouts. However, Bodoni’s significant victory at the 2022 ADCC against Barbosa increased the temperature and the excitement of the match and as expected, the results were quite satisfying. 

Previously, all the matches fought between Bodoni and Barbosa either concluded with a points lead or a decision win. However, the 2022 ADCC tournament changed that, when these two highly skilled submission grapplers faced each other in the 88 kg division and were later pitted against each other in the 2022 ADCC final. Giancarlo Bodoni, unintimidated by Barbosa, secured a remarkable victory via a well-executed rear-naked choke. This marked the first submission finish in a Bodoni vs. Barbosa bout, making the win at ADCC a memorable moment for Bodoni, his fans, and the international grappling circuit in general. Due to this win, the recently organized seventh fight between these two martial artists at Who’s Number One 21 became a highly anticipated event, Barbosa was eager to avenge his defeat in the last fight, while Bodoni was committed to retaining his win status, and even the win score against Barbosa.

The event had already attracted a lot of attention with the announcement that Gordon Ryan would be fighting to defend and retain his title. However, with Ryan withdrawing from the event, Bodoni now had the perfect opportunity to prove his prowess and make progress in the game. Since Ryan held the winner’s belt, the card had been rearranged, moving the initial co-main event further up.

1.1. WNO 21 Main Event Headlined: Pedro Marinho vs. Rafael Lovato Jr.

The main event for Who’s Number One 21 was then premiered as the light-heavyweight title bout scheduled between Rafael Lovato Jr. and Pedro Marinho. On the other hand, Lucas Barbosa was scheduled to face Giancarlo Bodoni earlier in the night.

2. Announcement for Live Updates and Results at Flograppling

Flograppling shared all the important information about this event on its official Instagram handle. The post included the following details about the event.

“Giancarlo Bodoni will step in to replace Gordon Ryan vs Lucas Barbosa in a rematch from the 2022 ADCC final at Tezos WNO 21: Marinho vs Lovato Jr. on Thursday, November 30th, 2023, in Austin, Texas.

Tickets are on sale.

The card will feature three title matches, several highly anticipated Tezon WNO debuts, and much more.”

Later, Flograppling also featured real-time results and updates of the Tezon WNO 21: Marinho vs. Lovato Jr. live from Austin, Texas on November 30th, 2023. The live event kicked off at 8 pm ET. This WNO event has an exciting undercard, including three championship bouts and a no-gi black belt debut of Tainan Dalpra.

The long-awaited fight between Pedro Marinho, a WNO Champion, and Rafael Lovato Jr. was the main highlight of the fight night. Moreover, Mica Galvao faced Kody Steele, a WNO veteran and a popular MMA fighter, to defend his welterweight title, while Diogo Reis competed against Diego Pato Oliveira in an ADCC South American trials rematch to defend his featherweight title.

3. Who’s Number One 21 Results

3.1. WNO 21 Main Event

Pedro Marinho (C) vs Rafael Lovato Jr. - Light Heavyweight Bout - 15 Minutes

Marinho Defeated Lovato Jr. via Referee Decision 

Pedro Marinho dominated in the first five minutes of a short and quick match, successfully attempting two takedowns and impressing judges in the process. Lovato tried hard to match Marinho’s pace but failed to break Marinnho’s well-established defense, losing judges’ favor and the match.

Mica Galvao (C) vs Kody Steele - Welterweight - 15 Minutes

Mica Galvao submitted Kody Steele via Rear Naked Choke (12:38)

The two grapplers tried to dominate each other from the start of the bout. However, Mica Galvao striked first with a foot sweep and quickly executed an arm-in-guillotine. Galvao then countered a strike from Steele and attempted a choke. After several minutes into the match, Galvao attempted a front headlock and then a mounted guillotine. He then acquired a dominating position by forcing his way on Steele’s back and finished the bout with a rear naked choke.

In his post-fight interview, Galvao shared that he will defend his welterweight title against Nicky Ryan at WNO 22 to be held in Costa Mesa, California, U.S.A.

Diogo Reis vs. Diego Pato Oliveira - Featherweight Championship - 15 Minutes

Diego Pato defeated Diogo Reis through submission (8:55)

Diego Pato initiated the attack, executing a jumping guard pull and then immediately followed it with a heel hook. Both grapplers used leg attacks to breach each other’s defense and dominate. After several minutes into the match, Diogo injured his knee during a scramble and tapped out, announcing Diego Pato’s victory before the referee crowned him the new WNO Featherweight Champion.

Giancarlo Bodoni vs. Lucas “Hulk” Barbosa - Heavyweight - 15 Minutes 

Giancarlo Bodoni defeated Lucas “Hulk” Barbosa via referee decision  

In a highly-anticipated WNO 21 bout, Giancarlo Bodoni faced Lucas Barbosa. Despite consistent effort, both fighters remained unable to break each other’s defense. Eventually, Bodoni managed to nearly score a takedown using foot sweep and arm drag to throw Barbosa off-balance. By utilizing overhook, underhook, and heavy collar ties, Bodoni countered Barbosa’s attacks and secured the win via referee decision.

Luke Griffith vs. Roosevelt Sousa - Heavyweight - 15 Minutes

Luke Griffith defeated Roosevelt Sousa via heel hook (3:25)

Roosevelt Sousa opted for a guard position after exchanging multiple heavy collar ties with Griffith. During their ground-based fight, both fighters attacked each other, with Sousa specifically targeting Griffith’s legs. Next, Sousa tried to pull Griffith in a 50/50 guard; however, this move provided an opening for Griffith to successfully execute a heel hook and submit his opponent.

Helena Craver vs. Julia Maele - Featherweight - 15 Minutes

Helena Crevar defeated Julia Maele via referee decision 

The WNO 21 bout against Julia Maele proved to be Helena Craver’s most significant victory to date. Helena Craver got into the kitchen sink position, effectively attacking Maela’s legs. Despite continuous attacks, Craver remained unable to finish. Consequently, Craver transitioned to the mount position to execute a katagatame. Crevar then transitioned into a triangle, making it impossible for Maela to escape. Helena Crevar attacked again and tried to find the finish using Aoki lock, but Julia Maela countered with a strong submission defense. Both fighters continued their struggle to breach and counter each other’s defenses. Helena Crevar eventually emerged victorious via the referee's decision.

Tainan Dalpra vs. Troy Russell - Middleweight - 15 Minutes 

Tainan Dalpra defeated Troy Russell via armbar (4:30)

Tainan Dalpra’s WNO debut was one of the most long-awaited bouts of this event. The black belt no-gi debutante attempted a single-leg takedown and immediately transitioned to side control. He then secured the mount position and patiently scored double underhooks, moved to the s-mount position, and finished off with an armbar submission.

3.2. WNO 21 Undercard

Dominic Meija vs. Owen Jones - Featherweight - 9 Minutes

Owen Jones defeated Dominic Meija via referee's decision 

Owen Jones made his WNO debut in the WNO 21 event. He showcased an excellent guard play combined skillfully with leg attacks and a near-back take. These moves and attacks by Jones were enough for him to prevail over his opponent, Dominic Meija, and secure a remarkable victory via referee decision in his debut bout.

Estevan Martinez vs. Reese LaFever - Lightweight - 9 Minutes 

Reese LaFever defeated Estevan Martinez via referee decision 

This exciting 9-minute WNO 21 bout started with Estevan Martinez executing a single-leg takedown. Estevan Martinez attempted a cartwheel pass and several flying triangles on his opponent, LaFever, who remained refused to lose his composure and stance, effectively manipulating Martinez to gain positional control and looking for openings for leg attacks. Reese LaFever found several opportunities to apply the crucifix position and eventually emerged victorious via referee decision.

Mia Funegra vs. Janice Russell - Strawweight - 9 Minutes

Mia Funegra defeated Janice Russell via armbar (5:02)

Mia Funegra skilfully navigated Janice Russell’s guard position and remained focused in her attempts to successfully pass Russell’s guard. However, Funegra met several inversions. Throughout the match, she showcased outstanding guard passing ability. She eventually secured a highly dominating mount position to find her armbar finish. Funegra’s submission momentum cemented her victory.

Nick Mataya vs. Ian Butler - Middleweight - 9 Minutes

Nick Mataya defeated Ian Butler via kimura (3:25)  

Instead of unleashing constant attacks, Nick Mataya practiced patience and maintained his composure from the start of the match. He eventually set his uchi mata game in place, effectively attempting throws twice. After attempting the second throw, Nick Mataya quickly transitioned to side control and executed a kimura, submitting his opponent, Ian Bulter, to find his finish.

4. Who’s Number 21 Order of Fights

Who’s Number One 21 - Order of Fights
Main Card
Fight Title Weight Class Time Winner Win Method
Pedro Marinho vs. Rafael Lovato Jr. Light-Heavyweight 15 Mins Pedro Marinho Referee Decision
Mica Galvao vs. Kody Steele Welterweight 15 Mins Mica Galvao Rear-Naked Choke
Diogo Reis vs. Deigo Pato Oliviera Featherweight 15 Mins Diego Pato Submission
Giancarlo Bodoni vs. Lucas “Hulk” Barbosa Heavyweight 15 Mins Giancarlo Bodoni Referee Decision
Luke Griffith vs. Roosevelt Sousa Heavyweight 15 Mins Luke Griffith Heel Hook
Helena Craver vs. Julia Maele Featherweight 15 Mins Helena Craver Referee Decision
Tainan Dalpra vs. Troy Russell Middleweight 15 Mins Tainan Dalpra Armbar
Fight Title Weight Class Time Winner Win Method
Dominic Meija vs. Owen Jones Featherweight 9 Mins Owen Jones Referee Decision
Estevan Martinez vs. Reese LaFever Lightweight 9 Mins Reese LaFever Referee Decision
Mia Funegra vs. Janice Russell Strawweight 9 Mins Mia Funegra Armbar
Nick Mataya vs. Ian Butler Middleweight 9 Mins Nick Mataya Kimura

Photo Credit: @flograppling

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