The 2019 Abu Dhabi King of Mats roster has been shuffled once again.
First, Lucas "Hulk" Barbosa replaced Gilbert Burns, and now, it has been revealed that veteran competitor and dark horse of the event Alan "Finfou" do Nascimento has sustained an injury and will not be able to compete in the 85kg KOM competition.
Luckily, given the barrage of talent set to compete at the 2019 ADGS Abu Dhabi this same week, event organizers were able to find a very intriguing replacement for Finfou on short notice in NS Brotherhood's surging new black belt and 2018 LA Grand Slam Champion Caio Caetano.
Although only promoted to black belt after the 2018 World Championships, Caetano had one of the most impressive performances of at the LA Grand Slam of any competitor, besting veteran black belt Victor Silverio, rising star Leo Lara and solid competitors Alef Birto and Michael Trasso on his path to gold in the 77kg division.
Caio Caetano vs. Leo Lara – 2018 LA Grand Slam
A shot at the King of Mats will certainly be a step up in competition as Caetano will now get to tangle with four of the very best jiu-jitsu athletes on the mats today, including Lucas "Hulk" Barbosa, Espen Mathiesen, Rudson Mateus and Gabriel Arges.
A solid showing here will catapult Caetano from rising prospect to legitimate contender in all future appearances.