Who’s Next Overview
As Brazillian Jiujutsu competitors are gaining more spotlights through events like Who’s Number One (WNO), FloGrappling has decided to create a reality TV show that follows young jiujutsu prospects in a form similar to the famed Ultimate Fighter that is called Who’s Next. On the show, fighters are brought in and split into two teams with two perspective coaches. Throughout the duration of the show, the audience gets a chance to follow the fighters’ day-to-day lives in the Who’s Next house while they complete challenges and move through the competition bracket to see who gets crowned the winner of the show. The format of the matches on Who’s Next is no time limit, submission only matches and the winner of the show will receive a $10,000 prize and a three-match contract on Who’s Number One.
Watch Who’s Next on FloGrappling here.
Episode 1 & 2 Recap
The first episode of Who’s Next is kicked off with an electrifying introduction by the author, podcaster, former Navy Seal, and jiujutsu blackbelt Jocko Willink. We are then introduced to the 16 athletes competing on the show, Hollywood Mike who will be this season’s host, and the two coaches Craig Jones and Tim Spriggs. Craig Jones trains out of the B-Team gym in Austin, Texas and is known for specializing in the leg game. Jones is also known for his sense of humor and chill attitude off the mat. The opposing coach Tim Spriggs trains out of the Lloyd Irvin gym and is the current WNO heavyweight champion. These two competitors met in a match back in 2019 where Jones won via inside heel hook.
To kick off the show, a bomb is immediately dropped on the contestants that they will have to face off and win a match before actually entering the Who’s Next house. After the matches cut the number of contestants down to eight, the two coaches then picked their respective teams. There were some awesome moments in the matches like the match between Bradley and Overvig that almost went for three whole hours, the blazing speed that came from the 6’7” giant Daniel Manasoiu, and we were also introduced to the Spencer Fossier aka the Sewer Rat who was an absolute personality.
Below are the results of the preliminary matches and the team picks:
Jansen Gomes defeated Andy Varela via armbar (7:13)
Daniel Manasoiu defeated Breylor Grout via heekhook (0:28)
Kyle Chambers defeated Max Hansen via inside heel hook (9:22)
Adam Bradley defeated Tristan Overvig via rear-naked choke (2:53:59)
Izaak Michell defeated Josh Demas via inside heel hook (4:10)
Andrew Tackett defeated Fabian Ramirez via armbar (45:26)
Rene Sousa defeated Jay Rodriguez via buggy choke (2:54)
Mike Rakshan defeated Spencer Fossier via camel crush (6:08)
Episode two kicks off with the first challenge of the season which was an arm-wrestling match. The obvious winner was Team Sprigg’s 270lb Big Dan, who singlehandedly breezed through all of Team Jones’s members. Big Dan then chose the first matchup to be between Adam Bradley and Izaak Michell. The pick confused all of the contestants as Bradley had just come off a close to three-hour-long match and picked up many injuries in the process. Many speculate that the reasoning behind it is due to the fact that Big Dan trains with Gordon Ryan, who has been engaging in social media back and forths with Bradley over the past few months. The fighters then arrive at the Who’s Next house as they sprint into the rooms to claim their beds for the season. Later that evening, the teams head to their first training session. After Jones demonstrates a few moves, he brings in a special guest. At a first look, it seemed to be the infamous John Danaher with his signature bald head, fanny pack, and rashguard look. The contestants then quickly realize it is the Sewer Rat Spencer Fossier who Jones has invited back as an assistant coach for the team. The show then cuts to fight day, where Bradley and Michell have their match. Michell dominates most of the match but Bradley seems to survive every back take and submission attempt. Finally, after 45 minutes, Michell is able to sink in a rear-naked choke for the win. Much respect to Bradley as he fought through all of the injuries and fatigue that came from his preliminary match.
Episode 3 Recap
In episode three, it starts off with a brief segment of the youngest competitor Andrew Tackett attacking the oldest competitor Mike Rakshan in a playful manner, but towards the end, the latter seemed to get a little heated. The audience is then introduced to the second challenge of the show as the competitors are brought to the Broken Rodeo where they were all in shock seeing giant bulls running around. The first challenge was the calf scramble, where the competitors needed to pull a ribbon off of two bulls as they were galloping around. The winner of the challenge would then be able to pick the order of the next challenge that determined the next quarterfinals matchup. Team Spriggs won the coin toss and decided to have Team Jones go first for the calf scramble. It took some time for the team to get used to chasing the calves before Andrew Tackett dove headfirst and took both down. Tackett’s heroics did not pay off as Team Spriggs won the challenge. Kyle Chambers grabbed the first ribbon while Big Dan was able to headlock the calf. Chambers then swiftly grabbed the second ribbon as well without any help. Chambers was the unsung MVP for the first challenge.
In the second challenge, the contestants were tasked with bull wrestling, where they needed to turn the steers of the bulls and flip them onto their back. Only two contestants from each team were allowed to participate. Since Team Spriggs won the previous challenge, Big Dan was selected to go first. Most people would have thought if there was anyone to flip a bull it would be Big Dan, but in the end, he was unable to complete the task. Next up was Andrew Tackett who was one of the smaller and younger guys on the show. Tackett came out and flipped the bull over after securing a front headlock in 3.7 seconds. Chambers and Michell followed afterwards but were unable to flip the bull. Team Jones wins the challenge, Tackett picked the next matchup, and he chose himself to face the largest competitor in Big Dan. His reasoning was that he had already dealt with one bull and wanted to take down another.
In the next scenes prior to the match, we were then given an inside look at Andrew Tackett’s background. Tackett was actually home-schooled so that he would be able to focus on jiujutsu. Tackett also has an older brother named Billy Tackett who has made a name for himself in the jiujutsu world as well. Tackett stated that his rivalry with his brother and love for the sport had propelled him to where he is now. The show then cuts to Team Spriggs arriving at the B-Team facility where they conducted their next training session. Spriggs noticed that there were security cameras and was skeptical of Jones pulling up the footage to get a peek at their training sessions. After the training session, we then got an inside look at Big Dan’s background. Big Dan started training at 15 years old but did not take it fully seriously until he realized his passion for the sport two years later. He stated that his goal is to become an ADCC champion. In order to achieve his dreams, he revealed his absurd commute from Pennsylvania to New York where he woke up at 3:00 am every day in order to train at the Renzo Gracie Academy while completing schoolwork between training sessions. He also talks about the influence and gratitude that the great John Danaher and Gordon Ryan have had on him. The show then cuts to the training session for Team Jones and of course, Jones immediately pulls up the security camera footage.
The match begins with Big Dan choosing to start from a seated position hoping to attack Tackett’s legs right away. Tackett then rattles off a few guard passing attempts. They go back and forth until five minutes in when Big Dan is able to secure a straight ankle lock that looked very tight but Tackett was able to escape in the end. Tackett then utilizes a kimura set up to take Big Dan’s back and finishes him via a rear-naked choke at 8:42.
In a preview of the next episode, we see Army special forces and retired middleweight UFC veteran Tim Kennedy who introduces the contestants to the next challenges revolving shooting guns.