The full card had just been announced for Who’s Number One 18 on May 18th, 2023, including an excellent headline match between Nicholas Meregali and Pedro Marinho. Meregali actually broke the news first when he announced that he had been booked to compete in the first ever WNO gi match, although he didn’t name an opponent. He also revealed that he’d had a lot of trouble getting an opponent for the event, as several grapplers said they were saving themselves for the IBJJF world championship instead. Pedro Marinho actually called for this match himself in the post-match interview after he won the main event of the last WNO, so it made sense that he would be happy to take the opportunity to challenge himself against Meregali.
Supporting this exciting main event will be an interesting light-heavyweight no gi match between two different generations of elite grapplers, as American legend Rafael Lovato Jr will be taking on fellow ADCC 2022 competitor Elder Cruz. Shortly before that is the only women’s match of the night, and it’s going to be another fun matchup between an established veteran competitor and an exciting young talent. Amanda ‘Tubby’ Alequin is already an IBJJF no gi world champion, while Alex Enriquez is a relatively new black belt who has been putting in a string of impressive performances for various promotions. They’ve actually already met before, and Enriquez won a decision by the narrowed of margins last year so it’ll be interesting to see what happens this time around.
The final two matches of the main card are also set to feature ADCC veterans and they both round out a card that is stacked with exciting matchups. Jacob Couch is the most frequent competitor that WNO has and the fan-favourite will be facing off against Izaak Michell in the middleweight division. Shortly before that, the first match of the main card will feature ADCC bronze medallist Dante Leon in a lightweight no gi match. Leon will be facing Ruan Alvarenga, the son of Iran Brasileiro Alvarenga who does normally compete in a slightly lighter weightclass than Leon.
WNO 18: Nicholas Meregali v Pedro Marinho Full Card
Nicholas Meregali v Pedro Marinho (Heavyweight gi)
Rafael Lovato Jr v Elder Cruz (Light-heavyweight no gi)
Amanda ‘Tubby’ Alequin v Alex Enriquez (Flyweight no gi)
Jacob Couch v Izaak Michell (Middleweight no gi)
Dante Leon v Ruan Alvarenga (Lightweight no gi)
Preliminary card to be announced later
The full Who’s Number One 18: Nicholas Meregali v Pedro Marinho card will be available to watch live on FloGrappling on May 18th, 2023.