Nathiely de Jesus just became the first grappler to defeat Gabi Garcia in both gi and no-gi at the black belt level at Who’s Number One: Craig Jones vs. Ronaldo Junior. This was the third match the competitors have had — they’ve previously faced off in the gi twice, with Garcia taking home the win against de Jesus at Pans in 2019 and de Jesus beating Garcia at F2W 121 later that year. After an intense back-and-forth match at WNO tonight, de Jesus has now defeated Garcia in both gi and no-gi.
Garcia immediately charged forward, sending the match out of bounds and forcing a reset. De Jesus then pulled closed guard, and Garcia stood up and attempted a straight ankle lock, which de Jesus defended. Garcia then worked her pressure passing from inside de Jesus’ guard, and de Jesus was able to trap one of her opponent’s arms between her legs and attempt a triangle. Garcia’s stack was too much for her, though, and she was unable to close it up. Garcia then sat back for a straight ankle lock, going belly-down to try to get the submission, and de Jesus worked to unravel her opponent’s legs to escape.
De Jesus went for a heel hook as Garcia stood back up and resumed trying to pass the guard, and de Jesus did an impressive job of escaping Garcia’s attempt to keep her on the ground and in control. De Jesus went back to seated guard, and Garcia wasted little time in going for yet another leg lock, and de Jesus came up to defend herself and forced Garcia to her back in the process. Garcia didn’t stay there for long, though, coming up to move inside de Jesus’ closed guard. She then went belly-down on another ankle lock, and de Jesus countered with a heel hook. As Garcia tried to come up, de Jesus transitioned to 50/50 and used it to tip Garcia over and latch onto an inside heel hook. Garcia seemed unfazed and sat back for another straight ankle lock. Eventually, both competitors disengaged and returned to their feet.
After they ventured out of bounds a couple of times, de Jesus resumed playing guard. She got up to defend against another ankle lock attempt from Garcia, and Garcia capitalized on the position to try to get up and wrestle her opponent back to the ground. De Jesus avoided the takedown on the reset by pulling closed guard. Both competitors were able to neutralize the other’s attacks, with de Jesus’ flexible guard keeping her safe from Garcia’s pressure passing and Garcia keeping her pressure on to avoid de Jesus’ submission attempts.
With about three minutes left, Garcia went for another belly-down straight ankle lock, and de Jesus answered with a toehold. Garcia avoided a back take from her opponent and went for a heel hook, which de Jesus countered by stepping over with her other leg. De Jesus then transitioned from a head-arm choke to take the back, getting both hooks in and flattening out Garcia. Garcia then slipped out of one hook and, later, out of de Jesus’ persistent head-arm choke attempt.
Garcia was once again in de Jesus’ guard with a minute left in the match. Another straight ankle lock attempt from her gave de Jesus the opportunity to come up and take the top position inside Garcia’s half-guard, flattening her out before time ran out.
The judges awarded de Jesus the win by unanimous decision.