Your Grappling Fix: Who’s Next, No Time-Limit Matches, and Gordon Ryan

8 min read
A shocking twist in the Who’s Next Finale, one team just signed a new head coach, and a short wrap up of submission only matches in jiu-jitsu’s modern history

Kyle Chamber's match with Andrew Tackett

Your Grappling Fix: Who’s Next, No Time-Limit Matches, and Gordon Ryan

A shocking twist in the Who’s Next Finale, one team just signed a new head coach, and a short wrap up of submission only matches in jiu-jitsu’s modern history

Location: Orlando, FL.

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Photo by: k_chambers10p

A shocking twist in the Texos WNO Finale: The Who’s Next Finale set for July 14th gives us a really exciting match leading into this year’s ADCC tournament, a significant team just grabbed a very shocking name as their new head coach, and a short wrap up of submission only matches in jiu-jitsu’s modern history. 

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The Trial Winners face off! Jay Rod vs Giancarlo… Who Will Come Out On Top

Jay Rod… photo by: jayrod2.0

Unfortunately, Andy Varela has had to withdraw from his match with Jay Rodriguez at the WNO’s on Thursday; however, FLO has managed to put together an even more exciting matchup for their fans. 

Taking this fight on short notice is no other than Giancarlo Bodoni. The ADCC East Coast Trials winner at 88kg. 

Bodoni is a daily training partner of Gordon Ryan at their gym, New Wave Jiu-Jitsu, and is probably one of the best performing black belts to represent the team. In late 2021 at the final of the East Coast Trials, he beat Elder Cruz in Atlantic City and is a well-rounded player who can fight from top and bottom positions. 

Pitting the East Coast Trials winner against the West Coast Trials winner – Rodriguez edged his competitor to become the winner of the most competitive North American Trials in history, also bringing home the gold in the 88kg division. Since Trials winners are likely to be located on opposite sides of the bracket at ADDC, there is a slim chance that we would see Jay Rod and Giancarlo go head to head at the World Championships, so this match creates an opportunity for both men to test their mettle just ten weeks out from the biggest stage of their lives. 

Historically, Rodriguez has been challenged with a much different test to that of the hyper-aggressive headhunter Varela, so it will be intriguing to see how the new star tailors his wrestle-first mentality for a seasoned practitioner like Bodoni. Both have fought at the recent UFC Invitational team grappling event, although they did not face each other at these tournaments. Bodoni drew against 10th planet’s PJ Barch, while Jay Rod submitted Song Yadong with a rear-naked choke, drew against Rafael Domingos, and lost by ankle lock to Bodoni’s teammate Oliver Taza.

July 14th, 7:30 PM EDT

Tezos WNO: Who’s Next Finale

Paulo Miyao at ADCC 2019

Welcome Dream Art’s New Head Coach, Paulo Miyao

In very unexpected news, last night, Dream Art announced that Paulo Miyao is the new head coach of the team. 

The Brazil-born 31-year-old is a prolific and highly decorated competitor in the feather and light-featherweight divisions, one of the most accomplished grapplers of the last decade. Sets his sights on helping the team by relocating to São Paulo, where he will work with their squad of high-performance athletes. With the likes of world champions Erich Munis, Ana Rodrigues, Meyram Maquine, Diego “Pato,” and many more. 

“The invite came from Isaque [Bahiense]; he was looking for somebody to help with the training,” Paulo wrote on social media. “As my focus now is to teach, I thought the idea was really interesting and decided to accept the challenge. I hope I can help everybody on the team conquer whatever their personal goals are.” 

This is an interesting and somewhat shocking move for Paulo, with no prior experience in coaching a high-level team such as Dream Art. Miyao, Formerly a member of PSLPB Cicero Costha and Unity Jiu-Jitsu, was one of the founding fathers of a NY-based group known as the “Quaranteam,” a collective of practitioners from various teams who began training together during the COVID lockdowns, and has trained until now with names such as Gianni Grippo, Silvio Duran and others in Hoboken, New Jersey. Paolo, much like his twin brother Joao, has backed away from the competition world of adult-level tournaments. However, he is still competing in the master’s divisions. 

Miyao started teaching and coaching others following his knee surgery at the end of 2019. Since then, he has taught jiu-jitsu daily, calling it a “good time” in his career, and he didn’t want to let this “huge opportunity” pass. “It’s a huge reasonability, to be leading a team with so many great high-level talents, but I think it’s the right time for me, and I’m very happy to become coach.” 

“Dream Art is one of the best teams in the world, not just because of the high-level athletes or world champions at black belt or in the colored belts, but because of the organization. I believe its the first truly professional jiu-jitsu team.”  

The move to Dream Art marks a new chapter of Miyao’s career. He is now coaching a high-performance team made up of some of Brazil’s best athletes. The Dream Art team, now captained by Isaque Bahiense, an IBJJF World champion, formerly had Gabriel Figueiro as the team’s head coach, but Figueiro accepted a position as the main coach for the Al-Wadha Jiu-Jitsu Team in Abu Dhabi. 

The Short History of Submission Only Matches 

Gordon Ryan vs Ralek Gracie in a no time-limit submission-only match in 2017

Just like the fights that took place throughout the filming of season one of Who’s Next: Submission Fighter Challenge, the main match between Kyle Chambers and Izaak Michell will be a submission-only match. 

This type of competition was wildly unpredictable throughout the season, and no one knew what to expect on July 14th at the WNO: Who’s Next Finale. when they go head-to-head in the main event.

The timeline of submission matches dates back to the very start of Brazilian jiu-jitsu history, and fights of this nature have popped up numerous times over and over through the decades. The Gracie family became famous for publicly challenging their rivals and often choosing favorable rulesets for these back-alley fights. One of their favorite tactics was to insist upon a no-time-limit, submission-only match so that the only way a victor could be decided would be through submission (which highly favored the BJJ style over wrestling and judo practitioners).

No time-limit fights have never become a permanent fixture, with the most common matches of BJJ being point-based. The submission-only movement has really only gained traction in the last 10 years. 

The highest-profile submission-only match of recent history was between Gordon Ryan and Keenan Cornelius in August of 2016. The fight lasted approximately 90min before the then-20-year-old Gordon became the first/only person to ever submit Keenan as a black belt at the time. This infamous brawl was instrumental in establishing Ryan in the world of no-gi, predating both his success at EBI and the ADCC. It was arguably the most significant moment in establishing submission-only matches as more than just a fable. Thanks to Ryan’s definitive result and subsequent social media blow-up, he issued a string of call-outs that helped grow the future of no time-limit matches. 

Where did Ryan get this idea of no time-limit matches? The answer may lie with the Kumite, a truly remarkable exercise in marketing created in 2013 by Lloyd Irvin, who was Keenan’s trainer at the time. An early foot dip into a kind of grappling reality show, the Kumite showcased a handful of up-and-coming brown belts (one of which was Garry Tonon, Ryan’s teammate) battling against one other in a series of gi and no-gi grappling events where the only way to win was via submission. As Ryan would have no doubt seen, Keenan tapped every single opponent of his during the show, including Tonon, AJ Agazarm, and others. 

Kyle Chamber’s match with Andrew Tackett lasted 1:32:15

There have been only a handful of high-profile examples of submission-only matches because, as Ryan can testify, it is very hard to convince fighters to compete in this ruleset. The challenge of physically and mentally preparing oneself for an event that could easily last for hours scares most people away. Nearly every grappler will start a match with a sound strategy in their head based on the time limit under which they are given. With a match that could last for hours, creating an executable strategy becomes more challenging. Over time the fighter’s physical toughness depletes, and the match turns into a battle of fundamental jiu-jitsu and skill level. 

Izaak Michell’s longest Who’s Next match was 42:48 against Adam Bradley

Very few fighters have even trained for this type of match (let alone had the chance to compete in this ruleset), creating an extra layer of randomness. As we saw throughout the season of Who’s Next, some fights can be finished very quickly, whereas others can drag on for hours. During The Who’s Next show, the quickest match lasted under 30sec, while the longest was over 180min… 3 hours. 

Michell’s longest fight during the season was 42 minutes, whereas Chambers had an incredible 92-minute war against Andrew Tackett. 

Isaac’s quickest fight was under five minutes, whereas Kyle’s fastest was about ten minutes. There is no knowing how long the fight between Michell and Chambers will go on–less than 10 minutes? Maybe set a new record for the longest fight? The only thing we know for sure is that only one will come out with their hand raised as the victor, and we can undoubtedly say that it will be won through submission. All other fights on the finale will be held under normal WNO rules. 

Main card

• Kyle Chambers vs. Izaak Michell 

• Gordon Ryan vs. Pedro Marinho 

• Andrew Tackett vs. Rene Sousa 

• Big Dan Manasoiu vs. Tristan Overvig 

• Giancarlo Bodoni vs Jay Rodriguez

Free prelims 

• “Sewer Rat” Spencer Fossier vs. Mike Rakshan 

• Breylor Grout vs. Luke Griffith

• Fabian Ramirez vs. Max Hanson 

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