World Series of Grappling 2

Big Money Brings Back Meregali, But Do The Numbers Back Up His Chances?

Big Money Brings Back Meregali, But Do The Numbers Back Up His Chances?

The big money offered by World Series of Grappling has brought out Nicholas Meregali, who is making his first competition appearance since Worlds.

Oct 6, 2018 by Michael Sears
Big Money Brings Back Meregali, But Do The Numbers Back Up His Chances?

The big money offered by World Series of Grappling has brought out 2017 IBJJF World champ Nicholas Meregali, who is making his first competition appearance since Worlds. 

Also signed up are Keenan Cornelius, Mahamed Aly, Gustavo “Braguinha” Batista and returning champ Kaynan Duarte. 

Let’s take a look at their recent performances and see how they could fare this weekend. 

Nicholas Meregali

An extremely active competitor in the colored ranks, Meregali has stuck to the major IBJJF tournaments so far as a black belt. Meregali always pushes the pace and is easily one of the most exciting black belts on the scene right now, with 19 of his 22 black belt victories coming by submission. Nicholas took double bronze at this year’s Worlds, going down to titans Mahamed Aly in his weight and Buchecha in the open class. Fans have been wishing for a match between Meregali and Keenan for some time, and we may see it this weekend. 

Keenan Cornelius

Cornelius went on a tear in the beginning of 2018, winning double gold at the Europeans and taking super-heavyweight gold at Pans. Along the way Keenan has amassed a 21-2 record this year, with 15 of those victories being submissions. Keenan entered the first World Series of Grappling tournament in July but was paired with teammate Kaynan Duarte second round and allowed Duarte to advance. Since then he went on to take double-gold at the IBJJF Asian Open in Japan. Cornelius and Meregali were two of the most dominant colored belts of all time, but have yet to compete against each other and in a bracket of 24 people the two submission hunters could very likely meet.

Mahamed Aly

Mahamed Aly (Lloyd Irvin) finally conquered a major IBJJF tournament this year after coming close several times when he won Worlds super-heavyweight gold. Aly defeated Meregali 5-0 in the semifinals of that tournament, bringing their black belt record against each other even at one win each. He also has fought Cornelius twice, losing two close matches (one by advantage and another by referee decision). Key expectations this weekend are a potential rubber match with Meregali or seeing if he can finally come out on top against Cornelius. 

Kaynan Duarte

20-year-old Kaynan Duarte (Atos) won the $20,000 last time in this division at World Series of Grappling and has been on fire since receiving his black belt from Andre Galvao at the 2018 Worlds. Kaynan is 23-5 in his short black belt career with wins over Jackson Sousa, Murilo Santana, Tim Spriggs and Fellipe Andrew. Duarte was a prodigy at the colored belts, winning Worlds at blue, purple and brown in three consecutive years. How the rookie black belt fares against black belt World champs Aly or Meregali if they meet will be a big test. 

2018 World and Pan champion Gustavo “Braguinha” Batista (Atos) is a third representative of Galvao’s San Diego academy in this bracket. Braguinha has been a black belt for one year and put together an amazing 40-3 win/loss record in that time. He will be one of the smaller competitors in this division as a medium-heavyweight, however Braguinha has had great success in open classes throughout his career and performed well against bigger opponents in the past. 

Keep an eye on… 

• Massive ultra-heavyweight Max Gimenis (GFTeam) has victories over both Mahamed Aly and Kaynan Duarte this year and should contend for the title.

• 19-year-old prospect Roberto Jimenez (Alliance) just received his brown belt in August and is jumping right into the fire against these elite black belts at WSOG. Jimenez put together a flawless run at the 2018 Worlds, where he submitted all ten of his opponents for double-gold.

• Another monstrous ultra-heavyweight, brown belt Victor Hugo (Ribeiro) has won Worlds three years in a row at the colored belts. 

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