Atos HQ scored four invitations to the inaugural Who’s Number One Championship tournament. All four competitors earned their spot in the finals. Tye Ruotolo, Rafaela Guedes, and Kade Ruotolo all took home the championship titles and over $30k each.
The two-day event was hosted by Flograppling in Austin, Texas. Day one consisted of quarterfinals, and semifinals in the championship brackets. And, day two hosted the consolation brackets in the morning, and finals in the evening.
There were five divisions: men’s heavyweight, 185-pound, and 155-pound divisions, accompanied by a women’s heavyweight, and 115-pound division. All matches were 15-minutes, sub-only, all subs legal, with the exception of the finals matches which were 30-minutes. All competitors were vying for the title of Who’s Number One Champion, as well as $30,000. Second and third place finishers didn’t leave empty handed either, earning a sweet $15k and $7.5k, respectively. And, each submission victory registered an additional $1,000 making it one of the top-paying grappling events in history.
Here’s a review of the complete performance by all four Atos competitors.
Kaynan Duarte’s Campaign to Finals
Kaynan Duarte made it to finals with two decisive wins over his opponents. In each match he maintained unquestionable control, and threatening submission attempts. After 30-minutes of match time he secured his place in the first ever Who’s Number On finals. He finished the tournament second with an dominant performance to finals.
Rafaela Guedes: Queen from Manaus
Rafaela Guedes face Elisabeth Clay for her fourth time and was able to secure her second, consecutive decision victory. In her semifinals bout she took on Amanda Leve, who was coming off of a huge upset over Gabi Garcia. Rafaela was able to dominate the 15-minute bout for another unanimous decision victory solidifying her spot in the women’s heavyweight finals.
In her finals she took on Gracie Barra’s Kendall Reusing. Kendall is known for her wrestling prowess. Throughout the tournament she was able to out-wrestle each of her opponents, until she squared off with Rafael. In the opening minutes of the match she was able to take Rafaela down. But, Rafaela was always able to find her way back to a controlled position. It only took about 10 minutes for Rafaela to really find her stride, and unleash her own take downs in return completely owning the momentum of the match. After about 18 minutes Rafaela was able to secure a guillotine to become by Who’s Number One women’s heavyweight champion, and take home the $30,000 cash prize, along with a $1,000 submission bonus.
Indomitable Tye Ruotolo
Tye Ruotolo had an impressive campaign to finals. In both of his opening rounds he submitted black belt no-gi World champions. He defeated Johnny Tama with his signature darce choke. Soon after, he avenged a loss against Dante Leon with a guillotine victory. An impressive statement for the 17 year old brown belt.
In the final round he took on up-and-coming, Micael Galvao. These were the youngest competitors in the division, and the last time they competed against each other was in the juvenile division. Now, they met at the most influential tournament of the year as professionals. During their 30-minute bout Tye stayed on his feet, with forward movement, threatening Mica’s guard. The match went the distance and Tye became the Who’s Number One 185-pound champion by decision, earning $30,000 and an additional $2,000 for the submission victories in the opening rounds.
Kade Ruotolo’s Perfect Run
Kade Ruotolo put on a flawless performance at Who’s Number One, submitting all of his opponents in the 155-pound division. In the opening round he took on Diego “Pato” Oliveira, and submitting him with a darce choke. In semifinals he met up with Josh Cisneros. Kade went for a flying scissor take down, which injured Cisneros and his opponent was not able to continue the match. It’s not an ideal way to win a match, but the Who’s Number One rules state that there are no timeouts for injuries, and inability to continue a match due to a technical move by your opponent will end the match.
Kade finished the tournament with what was possibly the match of the night against Gabriel Sousa. Earlier in the tournament Gabriel Sousa was able to submit favorite Mikey Musumeci, and continued on to have an extremely impressive performance in semis. This finals match was destined to be electric. While most anticipated a back and forth battle, Kade was relentless in imposing his game plan. He successfully hit two blast doubles on Gabriel, sending them flying off the mats In just about 7 minutes Kade found the route to another darce choke for the victory. Kade Ruotolo became the undisputed 155-pound champion, submitting his way to take home $33,000 total.