Tim Spriggs is no longer the WNO Heavyweight World Champion after being unceremoniously stripped of the belt, while Gordon Ryan and Pedro Marinho will now be fighting for the vacant title on Thursday, July 14th. Spriggs won the title at the first and to date the only WNO Championships event, where he battled his way through a field of elite competitors to claim the belt. He has not defended the belt since winning it around ten months ago however, and has instead spent his time coaching opposite Craig Jones on FloGrappling’s grappling reality show, Who’s Next.
His opposite number Jones actually competed against Marinho himself for the vacant WNO Light-Heavyweight title earlier this year but was unable to get his game going and lost a unanimous decision. Pedro Marinho was then set to make his first title-defense at the same event that features the Who’s Next finale, facing off against Gordon Ryan in what will only be the latter’s second professional grappling match of 2022 after he submitted Jacob Couch at a previous WNO event.
Now that Spriggs has been stripped of his belt, the match between Marinho and Ryan has been moved up to the Heavyweight division instead. This represents little change for Ryan, who would have won a title in victory regardless, but offers Marinho a huge opportunity to become a champion in two different weightclasses. If he manages to become the first man in a long time to defeat Ryan then he will become the second person to hold two WNO belts after Tye Ruotolo won gold in both the Middleweight and Welterweight divisions.
The full WNO: Gordon Ryan v Pedro Marinho event will be available to watch live on July 14th on FloGrappling, click here to subscribe and watch.