Who’s Number One 22 is scheduled for February 9th, 2024 and we’ve put together a full preview of every match taking place at the event. There’s several interesting matchups booked and they all lead up to the superb main event between Nicky Rodriguez and Victor Hugo. There’s plenty to look forward to before that though, starting with some exciting grapplers on the preliminary card before moving into Tainan Dalpra facing the biggest test of his no gi career so far against Oliver Taza. There will also be some titles on the line later on in the night, although there’s only two title-fights remaining after one fell through at the last minute. Adele Fornarino saved the day by stepping in on short notice to replace reigning champion Ffion Davies against Amanda ‘Tubby’ Alequin though.
The first title-fight of the night is actually a champion vs champion match between Dante Leon and Diego ‘Pato’ Oliveira, where Leon is defending the promotion’s lightweight belt against the featherweight king. The second title-fight is also serving as the co-main event for Who’s Number One 22 and it’s almost certainly going to be one of the most entertaining matches of the night. Kenta Iwamoto replaced Nicky Ryan as the next challenger for Mica Galvao’s welterweight title and any match that Galvao appears in is always a good bet for ‘Fight of the Night’.
Who’s Number One 22 Full Preview
Nicky Rodriguez vs Victor Hugo
This will actually be the third time that Nicky Rodriguez and Victor Hugo have met on the mats, although it’s been almost 3 years since their last match. If past performances are anything to go by then Hugo should be able to win this, as he beat Rodriguez by decision in both of those matches. It’s been a long time since then though and Rodriguez has developed a huge amount over the past few years, so he should be able to present a tougher challenge to Hugo this time around. Hugo is coming off one of the best years of his career in 2023 though so with that momentum behind him, he should be able to move to 3-0 in the series between them.
Mica Galvao vs Kenta Iwamoto – Welterweight Title
Mica Galvao is the reigning featherweight champion and he was the clear favorite when Nicky Ryan was supposed to be his next challenger. That hasn’t changed now that Kenta Iwamoto has been called upon to replace Ryan and in fact, the odds have swung a little further in Galvao’s favor. There are very few men in the division who could actually beat Galvao and with him recently announcing that he’s moving up in weight, he’ll likely be coming into this match stronger than ever. He should be able to get the submission win over Iwamoto and knowing him, it’ll probably be by armbar.
Amanda ‘Tubby’ Alequin vs Adele Fornarino
This match is one of the most interesting of the whole Who’s Number One 22 card and it’s one of the toughest to predict in this preview. Adele Fornarino has broken through to the highest level of the sport in the last few years and she’s likely going to be a force to be reckoned with for quite some time. Amanda ‘Tubby’ Alequin on the other hand has far more experience competing at this level and she’s been involved in several tough matches with the best female competitors in the sport. It should be a very close match but we’re backing Fornarino to get the win over Alequin, and she should earn the right to be the next challenger for Ffion Davies.
Dante Leon vs Diego ‘Pato’ Oliveira – Lightweight Title
This is one of the biggest matches of the night despite being halfway down the main card, as Dante Leon and Diego ‘Pato’ Oliveira are two of the best competitors in the world in their respective weight classes. Both of them are known for pushing the pace and delivering entertaining matches, while also being very well-rounded grapplers. There will likely be action in every single area of the sport, but Leon should be able to impose his game on Oliveira by the end of the match. Oliveira has hardly ever been submitted, but Leon should be able to get the decision win even if he can’t find the finish.
Tainan Dalpra vs Oliver Taza
This is another match that’s tough to predict, but this time it’s only really down to one man. Tainan Dalpra is so new to no gi competition that there’s not a lot to go on, he’s only had a single match so far. Of course, he’s still one of the top gi grapplers of his generation so he was always going to have a pretty high level of success when making the transition. He won his debut against Troy Russell in impressive fashion at the last WNO event, but Oliver Taza is one of the top-ranked competitors in this weight class. Dalpra is still the safest bet and although he might not look as dominant as he did in his last match, he should still be able to beat Taza.
Jacob Couch vs Sebastian Rodriguez
Jacob Couch has been in phenomenal form lately and if his performance at ADCC East Coast Trials 2023 is anything to go by then he’s a serious contender right now. If he rides the momentum of that tournament into this match with Sebastian Rodriguez then it’s hard to see how Rodriguez can stop him. He’s a fantastic competitor in his own right and he’s had some big success at major IBJJF no gi tournaments, but Couch has been operating at a higher level recently. Couch has a pretty high finishing-rate too, so the most likely outcome here is that he wins by submission.
Elijah Dorsey vs Ivan Herrera
It’s unusual to see someone like Elijah Dorsey on the preliminary card, but that just speaks to how stacked the lineup is for this preview of Who’s Number One 22. He’s another recent ADCC Trials winner and although Ivan Herrera is definitely going to be a game opponent, there doesn’t seem to be a likely path to victory for him here. Dorsey isn’t really known for finishing his matches so the odds are good that this one goes to decision, but he’s beaten more successful grapplers in the last few months and he should be able to beat Herrera pretty comfortably.
Max Hanson vs Daniel Sathler
Daniel Sathler has managed to get some notable wins last year against the Josh Cisneros and Ben Eddy, but he’s not a particularly prolific competitor. Max Hanson on the other hand seems to compete almost every weekend and he’s faced so many different top grapplers around his weight for different promotions. This is actually another rematch, as the pair met in the IBJJF No Gi World Championship last year where Sathler won on points. It could go either way really, but we’re betting on Hanson to get some revenge and bring the score to 1-1 between them.
Ashlee Funegra vs Marilyn Cruz
Marilyn Cruz is a solid grappler and would normally make for a tough match, but Ashlee Funegra is one of the top prospects emerging at the moment. It’s a good test of her skills to face someone like Cruz but Funegra is the latest product of the Art of Jiu-Jitsu children’s system, so she has a lot of incredible training partners and coaches behind her. Funegra should be the winner of this match and it’ll be a great chance for fans of the sport to see someone who’s likely going to be competing at a very high level pretty soon.
Dory Aoun vs Kyle Chambers
Dory Aoun is a well-rounded competitor who might present some challenges in to Kyle Chambers depending on where the match goes, but Chambers has been able to have success at a higher level than Aoun in the past. As one of the top 10th Planet representatives in the sport at the moment, Chambers should be able to keep Aoun on the back foot from start to finish. Provided he performs to the best of his abilities, it should be Chambers getting his hand raised in the first match of the night.
The full Who’s Number One 22: Nicky Rodriguez vs Victor Hugo live event, including all of the matches in the above preview, will be available to watch live on February 9th, 2024, on FloGrappling.