Nicky Rodriguez has just stepped up on short notice at UFC FightPass Invitational 3, where he will now be taking on Gordon Ryan in the main event. Originally Ryan was scheduled to face Vinny Magalhaes, one of a tiny handful of men who have ever managed to beat him since he was promoted to black belt. Although Ryan was definitely looking forward to avenging one of his only losses since reaching the highest level of the sport, this match with Rodriguez is equally intriguing. Rodriguez hasn’t ever defeated Ryan, but he has rolled with him more than the majority of grapplers ever will thanks to the fact that they were training partners for a long time under John Danaher.
Nicky Rodriguez and Gordon Ryan have only met on the competition mats once before, in the finals of the under 99kg division at ADCC 2022. Ryan made incredibly short work of that match, managing to finish Rodriguez with a heelhook and taking home the gold medal in the process. Although that was only a few months ago, Nicky Rodriguez went right back to work and won EBI 20: The Absolutes in impressive fashion. It’ll be interesting to see if he can put the improvements he’s made to good use in his second match with Ryan and potentially level the score at 1-1.
Nicky Rodriguez was also supposed to compete at UFC FightPass Invitational 3, just not against Gordon Ryan. He was originally part of the eight-man lineup set to compete in an absolute tournament for a $25,000 grand prize. Now that he has been moved up to the main event, he has been replaced by Ryan’s teammate Luke Griffith; and Griffith will be facing Andy Varela in the opening round of the tournament instead.
The news that Nicky Rodriguez was stepping in to replace Vinny Magalhaes against Gordon Ryan at UFC FightPass Invitational 3 was announced in a post to the promotion’s official Instagram account: