Tezos WNO 19: Meregali vs Duarte Presented by Fat Tire

Kaynan Not Feeling Pressure, Ready To Bring It To Meregali At Tezos WNO 19

Kaynan Not Feeling Pressure, Ready To Bring It To Meregali At Tezos WNO 19

Kaynan Duarte spoke about his years long rivalry with Nicholas Meregali, and his confidence ahead of their first no-gi encounter at Tezos WNO 19 on Aug 10.

Aug 3, 2023 by Carlos Arthur Jr.
Kaynan Not Feeling Pressure, Ready To Bring It To Meregali At Tezos WNO 19

One weeks ahead of Tezos WNO 19, two-time ADCC world champion Kaynan Duarte is wrapping up his preparations to face Nicholas Meragali in the main event on August 10. Scheduled to take place in Austin, TX, the event will feature the Atos heavy hitter in the main event against a rival with whom he shares a 2-2 record.

But if Kaynan is feeling pressure about headlining such a star-studded event, he surely doesn’t show it. After months of training with his teammates, with the addition of Gracie Barra black belt Felipe Pena, Kaynan is brimming with confidence to add yet another high-profile win to his grappling record.

“I’ve been training a lot and even have a strategy ready for the fight," Kaynan told FloGrappling. "Besides, I’ve also learned a lot with Felipe Pena, observed his routine and got a few tips regarding technique and mental preparation. So yeah, there’s no pressure. The pressure will only begin on the day of the match, and I’ll be the one applying it.”

But for all his confidence, Kaynan will be stepping into a somewhat uncharted territory. Meregali might be an old rival of his, but this will be their first time facing each other in a no-gi bout. Their last encounter was way back in December 2021 at the IBJJF World Championships. Since then, Meregali has built a no-gi game and a new competitive style, now under the New Wave banner with coach John Danaher.

With all these unknowns, Kaynan took his time to study his opponent and plan accordingly.

“So far, we’ve faced each other four times, with two victories for each. This will be the tie-breaker and our first no-gi match. He’s a pretty aggressive fighter and uses a good combination of wrestling and judo in his no-gi style. However, without the gi, he doesn’t seem very comfortable with his guard yet, and the lack of collars and cloth will make it harder for him to play as he likes, tying the opponents.”

With his grappling record and many titles putting him as the favorite for the upcoming duel, it’s worth remembering that Kaynan first rose to prominence as a purple belt in an 2017 ADCC trial. Since then, the Brazilian black belt has improved his game by training under the tutelage of Andre Galvão. Now with his training almost complete, he’s as excited as everyone else for the long-awaited rematch.

“At the end of the day, I’m still that same purple belt with a hunger for victory, only more experienced and with all the resources that Atos provides me. We took our time with the negotiations, but it’s finally happening. The fans have been asking for it for a long time and I’m thrilled to be able to represent my hometown and my academy in this duel. It’ll be a great fight, I’m really happy about it.”