WNO Championship Heavyweight Division Released — Can Anyone Beat Kaynan Duarte?

Image Source: Kitt Canaria for Jiu-Jitsu Times

The final division for the Who’s Number One Championship event has been released, and the heavyweight bracket is everything fans hoped it would be.

The eight-man bracket will feature some of the top male competitors in the upper weight divisions, and the favorite to win it all will likely be 2019 +99kg ADCC champion Kaynan Duarte.

Duarte has been winning everything he touches recently, adding a championship title at 3CG 6 to his numerous list of accomplishments earlier this year. The Pans and No-Gi Worlds champion is a WNO veteran, having defeated Rodolfo Vieira in his promotional debut at the end of last year. His most recent competitive appearance saw him defeat Matheus Diniz in under two minutes in the main event of the Road to ADCC.

Duarte isn’t the only ADCC champion on the card — 2015 champ Orlando Sanchez will be in the bracket as well. Sanchez is a bit of a legend in the competitive BJJ scene, but fans have only seen him compete at ADCC over the past few years. The WNO Championship will provide a rare opportunity to see him in action, and fans of “Big O” won’t want to miss it.

Also in the bracket is Mason Fowler, a fellow ADCC veteran who has really made a name for himself as the male Submission Underground champion — a title he’s held since SUG 16 after defeating Craig Jones not once, but twice. There’s potential for a rematch here — Fowler was stopped by Duarte in the semifinals of 3CG 6, and he’ll be eager to avenge that loss if they collide on the way to determining who will claim the WNO Championship title.

Fowler is scheduled to defend his SUG title against Kyle Boehm, but he may end up facing Boehm at the WNO Championship as well. Boehm, one of the most successful athletes out of the 10th Planet affiliation, won the eight-man tournament at SUG 24, earning a big cheque and the right to compete against Fowler for the title. Boehm most recently claimed the individual heavyweight title at Polaris Squads 3, and he’ll be hoping to add yet another to his ever-growing collection by making it all the way through this brutal bracket.

Haisam Rida will also be making his appearance here after making an impressive mark in his first two WNO appearances. The F2W veteran claimed gold at No-Gi Nationals earlier this year, and he’s won both of his WNO superfights so far — the first against Sloan Clymer and the most recent against Miha Perhavec. A win at this event would be huge for his career, and it would be a big mistake to underestimate him.

Fellow WNO veteran Luiz Panza will be returning to the promotion to try to claim the WNO Championship title for himself. Panza has won Pans (twice) and No-Gi Worlds, and though he didn’t last long against the formidable Craig Jones in their main-event meeting back in May, he’s proven that he’s a force to be reckoned with.

Aaron “Tex” Johnson will be making his promotional debut in this division, coming off a handful of Fight 2 Win superfights and a few medals at IBJJF Opens. The multiple-time Pans champion has a lot of rematch potential on this card — he’s gone up against Duarte, Boehm, Rida, and Tim Spriggs during his time as a black belt, and fans will be looking forward to see how those matches play out if they do happen.

Finally, Spriggs, a 2018 No-Gi World Champion, will be vying to take out the other competitors and claim the title for himself. This will be the WNO debut for the ADCC veteran, and though we haven’t seen him competing too much over the past two years or so, this will be the perfect opportunity to put himself back in the spotlight.

The men’s heavyweight division now completes a card that includes a women’s heavyweight division, a 185lb division, a 115lb division, and a 155lb division.

The WNO Championship will take place on September 25-26 and can be streamed live on FloGrappling.



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