Who’s Number One 21: Marinho vs Lovato Jr took place on November 30th, 2023 and there were several exciting matches and beautiful submission finishes featured in the results. The night started out strong with a entertaining preliminary card that was headlined by a match between two up-and-coming grapplers from either side of the Atlantic Ocean, Owen Jones and Dominic Mejia. It was a tough matchup with plenty of action but Jones was able to put his fantastic guard to good use, and he won the decision as a result. There were plenty of storylines heading into the main card, and one of the biggest ones was due to play out in the opening match as Tainan Dalpra would be making his no gi debut.
Dalpra proved that he can be just as dominant without the gi, as he used wrestling and top pressure to lock up an armbar finish within less than 5 minutes of stepping on the mats. The action didn’t stop there, as the very next match saw top prospect Helena Crevar taking on one of the biggest challenges of her career in facing Julia Maele. Crevar was relentless in hunting for the finish and tried several different paths to find it, although she wasn’t able to get through Maele’s solid defense. Her efforts weren’t in vain though, as they resulted in her getting the decision win over an ADCC veteran.
Later on in the night, her teammate Giancarlo Bodoni stepped in on a few day’s notice to take on Lucas ‘Hulk’ Barbosa after Gordon Ryan withdrew from the event. It was a grueling match and neither man was willing to risk anything, with both of them staying defensively sound from start to finish. Bodoni won the decision and he finished off a fantastic night for the team at New Wave Jiu-Jitsu, as their competitors went 4-1 in the results of Who’s Number One 21. This was the moment that the event really kicked into high gear, as the final three matches of the night all had titles on the line.
First up was Diogo Reis, who defended his featherweight title against Diego ‘Pato’ Oliveira. The match was had plenty of action at first, but ended in a bit of anti-climax as Reis suffered a knee injury during a scramble and was forced to concede. Mica Galvao put his welterweight title on the line against Kody Steele next and although Steele really did push Galvao to the limit, Galvao still found his back and submitted him with a rear-naked choke to retain the belt. In the post-match interview, Galvao revealed that he wanted his next title-defense to be against Nicky Ryan at WNO 22 and Ryan took to the stage to publicly accept the match.
The match was between Pedro Marinho and Rafael Lovato Jr was originally supposed to be the co-main event, but it was promoted to top billing after Ryan withdrew. It proved to be one of the most tactically interesting matches of the night, as Marinho seemed in control from the start and built up a clear lead by landing a pair of takedowns in the first half of the match. Lovato Jr seemed to sense that he was going to be down in the judge’s eyes and he immediately stepped up the pace to launch a comeback. It was a valiant effort and it certainly made things closer on the judge’s scorecards, but he couldn’t find the finish and Marinho secured the decision win.
Who’s Number One 21: Marinho vs Lovato Jr Full Results
Marinho retains the WNO Light-heavyweight title
Galvao retains the WNO Welterweight title
Oliveira wins the WNO Featherweight title
Mia Funegra defeats Janice Russell via Submission – Armbar (5:02)
Nick Mataya defeats Ian Butler via Submission – Kimura (3:25)
The full Who’s Number One 21: Marinho vs Lovato Jr event replay, including all of the above results, is available to watch on FloGrappling.