Gordon Ryan and Bo Nickal are legends of their respective sports and they once faced each other in a BJJ match in the main event of Third Coast Grappling 3 on December 7th, 2019. The match was contested under a unique ruleset that attempted to bridge the gap between their respective sports, as Ryan and Nickal are elite competitors in BJJ and wrestling respectively. It was a fifteen-minute round where points could be scored but there was no possibility of a win by technical fall and no guard pulling. Heel hooks weren’t legal either, so the only way to win was by other submissions or by racking up the most points by the end of the round.
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Gordon Ryan v Bo Nickal – Third Coast Grappling 3
Gordon Ryan and Bo Nickal started out by fighting for position in the clinch but neither man was able to get what they wanted within the first minute or so. Ryan eventually shot in for a takedown but couldn’t get anywhere near Nickal’s hips and the pair stood back up. He eventually secured an overhook and tried to use it to set up a kani basami, with Nickal attempting to defend. Ryan managed to bring him down but the pair landed off the mats and were reset to a standing position in the center. Nickal fished for an underhook and Ryan hit the same sequence for the second time, almost landing off the mats again.
Ryan was able to scoot backward while still holding onto the saddle, controlling both of Nickal’s legs in the process. He tried to attack the free leg but Nickal was able to use a small amount of space to escape and return to standing. Gordon Ryan hit a kani basami on Bo Nickal for the third time, continuing the relentless attack on his legs. Nickal spun to defend after a short exchange and the pair went out of bounds once again, resulting in Ryan being awarded 2 points when they were resent in the center. Ryan shot in for a takedown after a brief time standing but Nickal was too far away for him to make a good connection.
Gordon Ryan tried another kani basami but Bo Nickal was quick enough to avoid it this time, letting him stand back up. They continued battling in the clinch and Ryan tried to bait Nickal into taking his leg, before shooting in himself. Nickal disengaged again and was quickly met with another kani basami attempt, but he avoided this one too. Ryan tried to bait him by giving up his leg again, before eventually resorting to exposing his back completely instead. Nickal still didn’t take the bait so Ryan shot in, staying in turtle after it failed but Nickal didn’t want to actually meet him on the ground.
The referee stood Ryan back up and gave both men penalties for stalling at this point. Ryan tried to bait Nickal into taking his leg again, but Nickal kept pushing him away. Ryan went for another kani basami and Nickal disengaged to protect himself, but the referee paused the action shortly after to give both men another penalty for stalling. Gordon Ryan started exposing his back again but this time Bo Nickal took the bait and hit a huge suplex, earning 2 points and standing back up as Ryan turned to face him.
Bo Nickal dropped to his knees to start passing Ryan’s butterfly guard, but Gordon Ryan was able to invert and start controlling one of his legs. The pair went off the mats and were reset with Ryan seated, so he immediately started chasing after Nickal while remaining on the ground. Ryan made contact and was able to start attacking Nickal’s leg, but Nickal spun free and disengaged again. Nickal dropped to his knees again and Ryan got an underhook, transitioning to the shoulder-crunch and using it to set up a triangle choke. Nickal slammed Ryan hard but it was too late, and he was forced to tap.
The full footage of Gordon Ryan submitting Bo Nickal in a BJJ match was uploaded to the official YouTube channel of FloGrappling: