Diego ‘Pato’ Oliveira just made history by becoming a double champion at WNO when he submitted Dante Leon to claim the lightweight title at Who’s Number One 22 on February 9th, 2024. It was a huge moment for Oliveira, as he had only recently managed to become the promotion’s featherweight champion, beating Diogo Reis to claim that title back at Who’s Number One 21. He was eager to take on a massive challenge to add to his legacy though, and there isn’t many more difficult opponents out there than Leon. Not only is Leon the bigger man anyway but he even proved that he can hang with the biggest men in the sport when he won the IBJJF No Gi Pan Championship at super-heavyweight last year.
Oliveira wasn’t phased though and he pulled guard at close range right at the start of the match, working from his back to threaten Leon constantly. Leon dropped to his knees and even had to sit down several times in the first few minutes in order to avoid the leg entanglements that Oliveira was hunting for. Oliveira eventually got a K-guard entry to work though and put Leon under a lot of pressure, although he was able to escape and get back to his feet to resume passing. Oliveira’s inversions and heavy use of de la riva hooks were causing trouble for Leon and although he almost managed to set up a double-under pass at one point, Oliveira retained guard perfectly.
Oliveira had the best offense in the first 5 minutes with everything coming off his back, and the judges were favoring him as a result. After another minute of playing guard he was able take advantage of Leon sitting to defend his legs, and he came on top to secure the sweep instead. He started to pass but as soon as he got the opportunity he jumped on a straight ankle-lock and tried to finish it, but Leon managed to escape and return to top position himself. He resumed passing for a while but Oliveira was able to get an entry to the legs again, and this time he locked up the heel hook incredibly quickly and got the tap.
It was pretty much a flawless performance from Diego ‘Pato’ Oliveira and it was definitely worthy of him being crowned the WNO double champion. He was on constant offense right from the start and he never gave Leon a moment to breathe, ensuring that he was going to win the match by decision even if he couldn’t find the finish. He did though of course, and this was actually the first time in about a year and a half that Leon has been submitted in competition. Taking into the account the phenomenal run that Leon has been on and the fact that he was the Jits Magazine ‘No Gi Grappler of the Year’ in 2023, Oliveira did something truly incredible at Who’s Number One 22.