Preview: Third Coast Grappling 3 ‘Ryan vs. Nickal’

Dec 6, 2019

This post originally appeared on

Third Coast Grappling 3 on Saturday stops in Houston with a truly unique headliner. The event has gone through a few iterations, as Gordon Ryan was initially scheduled to face Rodolfo Vieira before he was hit with injury. He was then matched with Erberth Santos, only to see him pull out of the card, as well. This must have made for a stressful buildup as the promotion caps off its debut year. Third Coast Grappling is also planning on leaving FloGrappling and selling the event alone.

However, 3CG appears to have pulled one out of the bag and arranged for Ryan to face three-time NCAA champion Bo Nickal under modified rules -- a move intended to bridge the gap between wrestling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. The match will consist of one 15-minute round, leading to victory by submission or on points. Nickal will see one of his biggest advantages taken away, as 3CG has removed the possibility of his winning by technical fall. Ryan may be more hamstrung, as heel hooks are considered illegal and pulling guard will not be allowed. Despite the attempt at even footing, Ryan still holds the edge. Nickal never needs to train submission defense for his sport, but Ryan trainings in wrestling on an almost daily basis. Nickal is still on another level and will almost certainly take down Ryan at will, but once the action hits the floor, expect the latter to advance to the back and finish with a rear-naked choke relatively quickly.

Alongside the Ryan-Nickal main event, Third Coast Grappling 3 features two other excellent matches: Jake Shields vs. Romulo Barral and Gilbert Burns vs. Edwin Najmi. Shields was at one time one of the best grapplers in MMA, but Barral is a multiple-time world champion in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, meaning this is his battle to lose. Meanwhile, Burns is coming off a loss at Polaris 12 but remains a fantastic competitor and should be a little too hard for Najmi to handle.
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