The highly anticipated middleweight final at the WNO Championship frustrated spectators with what many considered to be a lack of action between teen phenoms Tye Ruotolo and Mica Galvao, but in the end, Ruotolo was crowned champion of what was unquestionably a challenging match.
Ruotolo and Galvao started by wrestling on their feet, hand-fighting as they searched for an opportunity to bring the match to the ground. After four and a half minutes of this, both competitors were warned by the referee that they needed to make more effort to initiate the movement to the floor. Galvao was eventually penalized for a lack of action, at which point he started shoving Ruotolo and searching for foot sweeps. Ruotolo then received a penalty as the match reached seven and a half minutes without having gone to the ground.
Ruotolo began searching for a single leg, which Galvao stepped away from. Finally, at almost nine minutes down, Galvao went to the ground and tried to attack a leg. The match was briefly paused after it appeared that Ruotolo accidentally kicked his opponent in the face. The match resumed, and Ruotolo was on top trying to attack Galvao with the smother from standing. Galvao followed Ruotolo around as the latter sought an opening to get past his flexible guard. Galvao eventually got to his feet, and Ruotolo tried to take him back down again with a foot sweep. Galvao recovered and returned to face Ruotolo from standing, and after more wrestling on the feet, Galvao returned to play guard and attack Ruotolo’s leg.
Ruotolo scrambled out of danger, and Galvao continued to target his opponent’s legs. Ruotolo countered Galvao’s flexibility by stepping on his legs to pin them to the floor. It still wasn’t enough to keep Galvao still, and he continuously defended against Ruotolo’s passing attempts. Ruotolo received another penalty for what the referee perceived as a lack of action; he later vocalized his frustration to the referee for receiving a penalty when he was trying to pass, claiming that Galvao “wasn’t doing anything.” Galvao was soon warned that he, too, would be receiving another penalty if he didn’t get more aggressive from the bottom.
Galvao briefly tried to attack a leg again before returning to his feet. They didn’t stay there long, though, and Galvao pulled closed guard. Ruotolo tried to smother Galvao from inside his guard, and Galvao countered in kind from the bottom. Ruotolo stood up inside the guard and pushed down on Galvao’s face in a smother, then returned to his knees again with about five minutes to go. Finally, Ruotolo stood up again, and Galvao’s guard opened. Galvao tried to attack a leg once more before returning to his feet with Ruotolo. Galvao pulled guard with two and a half minutes to go, again targeting a leg. Time ran out with Ruotolo trying to pass, ultimately unsuccessful in doing so.
The judges awarded Tye Ruotolo the split decision, and he claimed the middleweight championship title.