In one of the most anticipated grappling events in memory, Gordon Ryan, ADCC champion and arguably the best submission grappler in the world, will compete against three time NCAA wrestling champion Bo Nickal.
In the world of jiu-jitsu and submission grappling, there is perhaps no more well-known competitor than Gordon Ryan, a.k.a. King Ryan. He's established himself as the dominant force in submission competition and is known not just for his unparalleled technical abilities, but for his bold trash talking exchanges across social media. On the mat and in competition, he's backed up the talk with victories at the highest level, including his most recent ADCC championships in both the 99kg and absolute divisions. Ryan is a no-gi specialist and part of the Dahnaher Death Squad, Renzo Gracie teammates training under John Dahnaher that are renowned for their leg lock submissions and success in competition.
When it comes to NCAA wrestling, Bo Nickal is as big of a name as it gets. Nickal is a three time NCAA champion from Penn State University who finished his collegiate wrestling career with a record of 90-3. Most recently, Nickal has set his sights on competing at the world and Olympic levels. In October, Nickal won gold at the U23 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. There is no question that Nickal's wrestling ability is world class. It's also been reported that Nickal has been training jiu-jitsu and MMA, however, it's not clear what his skill levels are in these disciplines. Even so, it's hard to imagine it would be anywhere close to that of Ryan.
Rules and Format
Both Ryan and Nickal have agreed to rules modified from typical submission grappling competitions. The rule modifications are meant to level the playing field in a format where Ryan has the advantage. Some of the rule adjustments include no guard pulling and no leg locks. This should give Nickal an advantage on his feet. After all, it's extremely unlikely that Ryan would be able to takedown the three time NCAA champion from the neutral position. However, once the competitors hit the mats, even with the top position, Nickal will be in dangerous waters against Ryan who is the clear favorite despite the restrictions on attacking leg locks.
To his credit, Ryan has agreed to a future match against Nickal where the rules will be modified to favor Nickal's wrestling skillset. Credit also goes to Nickal to accept a competition of this type to begin with.
Overall, the December 7th event is great for both wrestling and jiu-jitsu fans. We get to watch two competitors at the top of their respective disciplines battle it out on the mats. It's excellent exposure for both sports and we hope to see more events of this type in the future.
Let us know what you think about the competition and who will win by leaving a comment below.
Interested in reading more? Check out our article on wrestling vs. jiu jitsu.
Watch an old school Gordon Ryan instructional video.