The rematch between Felipe Pena and Nicky Rodriguez headlined a Who’s Number One event on February 25th, 2023 but it was only arranged at the very last minute, as Pena’s original opponent Gordon Ryan withdrew from the event on just a few day’s notice. Despite the fact that Ryan was no longer competing at the event, he was still watching and evaluating both of the athletes in the main event. This makes sense of course, seeing as his match with Pena has only been delayed and it will no doubt take place pretty soon and he’s been going back and forth with Rodriguez recently on social media.
Ryan has fought and defeated Rodriguez two times already, with the first of those meetings coming in the final of the over 99kg division at ADCC 2022. Ryan submitted him quickly in that match and although Rodriguez did significantly better when the pair met again at UFC Fight Pass Invitational 3, he still lost in EBI overtime then. Ryan’s rivalry with Pena is much tightly-contested of course, as Pena is the only man to have submitted him in competition and won their first two encounters. Ryan won their third match at a recent Who’s Number One event and this was going to be his opportunity to level the score with Pena, but now he’ll have to wait a bit longer.
Gordon Ryan isn’t the only thing that connects Felipe Pena and Nicky Rodriguez of course, as they have met before at ADCC 2022 when Rodriguez defeated Pena in the semi-final of the over 99kg division. When Pena and Rodriguez met for the second time in the main event of Who’s Number One, it was a back-and-forth battle that Pena eventually won by decision. Ryan has broken down the match between his two former opponents and given his thoughts on each man’s performance, although he didn’t have many good things to say about either of them.
Gordon Ryan went into detail about his breakdown of the match between Felipe Pena and Nicky Rodriguez in a recent post to his official Instagram account: