Pedro Marinho is the reigning WNO light-heavyweight world champion and he’s going to put his title on the line against Rafael Lovato Jr at Who’s Number One 20: Night of Champions on October 1st, 2023. Although a match like this would normally be able to serve as a main event on any other card, this particular event is going to be stacked with elite grapplers competing for the promotion’s titles. This match will prove to be just one of several where a title will be up for grabs for the winner and the main event has already been confirmed as Gordon Ryan v Patrick Gaudio for the heavyweight title.
Pedro Marinho is actually the only man to ever hold the promotion’s light-heavyweight title, as he won the inaugural title by defeating Craig Jones in the main event of a Who’s Number One card at the beginning of 2022. It’s not all that often that champions defend their promotional titles though, primarily because none of them have exclusive contracts and there are only a handful of WNO events each year. Marinho has already defended the belt once though, as he won a decision against Giancarlo Bodoni earlier this year.
Rafael Lovato Jr might be the challenger in this match, but he’s the one with significantly more experience in competition. In fact, Lovato Jr was promoted to black belt in 2004 and won his first IBJJF world championship gold medal back in 2007. Marinho was just 9 years old at the time Lovato Jr won his first world title and hadn’t even started training in the sport yet. Lovato Jr might have started his 40s earlier this year, but he’s experienced a career resurgence and put on a fantastic performance at ADCC 2022 along with a recent victory over Elder Cruz at WNO 18. It’ll be interesting to see if Lovato Jr can turn back the clock once again and claim the light-heavyweight title.
FloGrappling announced the news that Pedro Marinho will defend his WNO light-heavyweight title against Rafael Lovato Jr at Who’s Number One 20: Night of Champions in a recent post to their official Instagram account: