Gordon Ryan and Nicholas Meregali are among the greatest competitors of all time in their respective rulesets, with Ryan specialising in no gi grappling while Meregali has historically focused more on gi competition instead. Realistically, calling either of these men a good grappler is completely underselling how dominant both of them have been in their respective fields. Ryan is almost universally regarded as the greatest no gi grappler on the planet, and Meregali has been a permanent fixture on the podium of the IBJJF World Championships since being promoted to black belt in 2016; including three gold medals at the event.
While the two men have competed in entirely different rulesets for the majority of their careers, they do also have some experience in each other’s field of expertise as well. Gordon Ryan trained in the gi a lot during his journey through the coloured belt rankings and even competed there several times too, while Nicholas Meregali decided to make the transition to no gi grappling in 2022. That’s when their paths crossed, as Meregali decided to move to New Wave Jiu-Jitsu in order to train alongside Ryan under John Danaher in advance of his no gi debut.
Meregali made his no gi debut at Who’s Number One against Arnaldo Maidana in impressive fashion, but the best was still yet to come. Meregali competed at ADCC 2022 and managed to leave the event with two medals, a bronze medal in the under 99kg division and a silver medal in the absolute division. There’s very few people on the planet who know better than these two what a difference the gi makes when competing with the best grapplers on the planet. That’s why they’ve teamed up to explain how to change your approach to attacking the back if you’ve decided to specialise in either gi or no gi grappling.
The footage of Gordon Ryan and Nicholas Meregali demonstrating some of the differences between back attacks in both gi and no gi grappling was uploaded to the official YouTube channel of Bernardo Faria: