Who’s Number One (WNO) have made a huge impact on the Jiu-Jitsu world recently and have quickly become the most popular promotion in North America, but they’ve kicked things up to a whole new level with the announcement of their first ever championships event that will take place at Lightweight. Traditionally, WNO has always followed a superfight model where they arrange a relatively short fight-card of around ten matches and each one lasts fifteen minutes, with that being the only time the athletes will compete that night.
Now, they’re moving into the realm of tournaments for the first time and unsurprisingly for WNO, they’ve managed to secure an incredible lineup for the eight spaces available in their 155lbs grand prix. There are two clear favorites in the list with Mikey Musumeci being a multiple-time IBJJF World champion and Kennedy Maciel being the runner-up at 145lbs at ADCC 2019, although Musumeci will definitely be undersized as he’s competed as low as 125lbs in the past.
That’s not to say victory will be a foregone conclusion for either one of them however as the tournament also features one of John Danaher’s most recent black belts Ethan Crelinsten, 10th Planet’s posterboy Geo Martinez, IBJJF Pan-ams champion Diego Oliveira, and the man he defeated in the final, Joshua Cisneros. The final two places are taken by two incredibly young competitors and despite the disadvantages that come with competing in your teenage years, both of them have proven that they belong at the highest levels of Jiu-Jitsu and either one could come out on top.
One half of ATOS’ most popular set of twins, Kade Ruotolo, might only be a teenager but he’s already defeated one of his fellow competitors Crelinsten, twice in fact. Both of these matches happened under the WNO ruleset with the first win coming by decision and the second by submission. The final competitor will then be Cole Abate, the youngest entrant at just fifteen years-old who will be representing Art of Jiu-Jitsu as a blue belt in BJJ. Despite being the least likely to win the tournament, Abate has defeated black belts before and could quite easily provide an upset or two even if he doesn’t win the entire event.
The full Lightweight edition of the Who’s Number One Championships will be available to watch live on September 25th and 26th on FloGrappling, click here to subscribe and watch.