Nicholas Meregali and Kaynan Duarte may just be about to continue their epic rivalry, as the pair have been going back and forth on social media about potential matches in 2023. They have already shared four matches in the past, dating back to 2018 when they met in the opening round of the World Series Of Grappling 2 tournament at 180lbs. Duarte won their first meeting by decision before going on to finish in fourth place at the event. They met once again in 2019 in the absolute division of the Brazilian Nationals and Meregali managed to get his revenge, doing one better and finishing Duarte with a collar choke from the back.
It wasn’t long before they had a third match, crossing paths in the final of the first Spyder Invitational at under 100kg. Duarte won that match by decision again and won the $100,000 grand prize at the event, taking the record between the two to 2-1. It was a while before they met for their fourth and to date, most recent match, standing across from one another in the semifinals of the absolute division at the IBJJF World Championships in 2021. Nicholas Meregali managed to pull level again, winning a close referee decision and taking the score to 2-2 in his rivalry with Kaynan Duarte.
Fast-forward to now and Meregali has announced that he is working on both a gi and no gi match with Duarte in 2023, in a post to his official Instagram account:
The prospect of a no gi match between the pair is incredibly interesting, seeing as Meregali has only recent transitioned to that part of the sport and all four of their previous matches have been in the gi. In Meregali’s first major no gi tournament at ADCC 2022 both he and Duarte competed at under 99kg and although he did incredibly well to come away with a bronze medal, Duarte stormed through the other side of the bracket and won gold. Meregali did enter the absolute division too however, and eventually came away with a silver medal there as well.
Kaynan Duarte respond to the callout by Nicholas Meregali in a post to his own official Instagram account:
While Kaynan Duarte certainly turned up the heat in their rivalry, Nicholas Meregali didn’t shy away from it either. He responded quickly and pointed out the history that the pair have together, along with giving an explanation as to why he refused the match with him in place of Craig Jones: