Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!
Already a subscriber? Log In
For the first time in nearly 18 months, Kaynan Duarte will return to IBJJF competition at No-Gi Pans on November 21-22.
Duarte was suspended following his gold medal run at Worlds in 2019; he tested positive for a prohibited substance and was banned from IBJJF competition for a year.
Duarte was eligible to return as early as June 2, 2020, but due to COVID-related competition cancellations and coinciding travel bans, he has not been able to compete until now.
2019 was Duarte’s first full year as a black belt, and he was nearly unstoppable in gi and no-gi alike. He took gold at Euros, closing out with his Atos teammate, Gustavo Batista, in the heavyweight final, and he took bronze in the open weight division.
He also won Pans, and took bronze at Brasileros before winning Worlds at heavyweight. The IBJJF stripped Duarte of the world title as a result of his failed PED test. However, he continued to win major events in 2019, including ADCC and the Spyder Invitational.
Duarte beat a talented list of competitors last year, especially in no-gi formats. At Kasai 5, he submitted Craig Jones, and at ADCC, he overcame two of the highest-caliber competitors in the entire tournament: Yuri Simoes and Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida.
Watch: Craig Jones vs Kaynan Duarte At Kasai Pro 5
A return to No-Gi
In 2018, Kaynan won his No-Gi Worlds, and appeared on the No-Gi Pans podium twice, taking bronze at super heavyweight and silver in the open weight class.
Kaynan is one of the favorites to win gold in the seven-man super heavyweight bracket at No-Gi Pans upon his return. Other top contenders in the division include Arnaldo Maidana, whom Kaynan has beaten three times, and Devhonte Johnson, whom he has never faced.
Kaynan is also likely to enter the open weight class, where he and his teammate, Lucas “Hulk” Barbosa are likely to excel.
Duarte has not won No-Gi Pans in his short black belt career. A gold medal this year would be huge for his legacy. If he wins, he would be among a small list of competitors who have won ADCC, No-Gi Pans, and No-Gi Worlds.
According to a USADA statement, Duarte’s positive test was likely the result of a contaminated supplement, and not intentional use.
"After a thorough review of the evidence and cooperation from Duarte, USADA determined that the trace amount of ostarine detected in his sample was consistent with exposure to ostarine via cross-contamination. Additionally, a WADA-accredited laboratory confirmed a product possessed by a person close to Duarte contained ostarine, as listed on the product label, that could have been the source of the cross-contamination."