Who’s Number One 19: Meregali v Duarte is scheduled to take place on August 10th, 2023 and we’re on hand to preview the full card for the event. The lineup is stacked with ADCC veterans and will include two title-fights between some of the top competitors in their respective weight classes. All of these superb matches will be building up to the main event of the night, an epic grudge match between Nicholas Meregali and Kaynan Duarte. Some matches are closer than others on paper and some are genuinely too close to predict at all, but we’ll break down how each match is likely to go.
Who’s Number One 19: Meregali v Duarte Full Preview
Nicholas Meregali v Kaynan Duarte
This matchup between Nicholas Meregali and Kaynan Duarte is very tough to call, as they’ve each beaten each other twice in the past. This will be the first time that they’ve actually met in no gi competition though, and the experience advantage that Duarte has in it might be enough for him to gain the upper hand. The two men recently competed alongside one another in the under 99kg division at ADCC 2022, but Meregali lost a close decision to Craig Jones and Duarte won gold after he defeated Jones on points. This match really could go either way in the end, but Duarte does have the slight edge on paper.
Ffion Davies v Jasmine Rocha – For the flyweight title
Ffion Davies is the first and only woman to ever hold the Who’s Number One flyweight title and she’s putting it on the line against one of the top prospects in the sport. Although Jasmine Rocha won’t make it easy for her at all, Davies is still the firm favorite in this matchup. Davies has beaten the best grapplers on the planet many times over already and won the under 60kg division at ADCC 2022 last year, securing her place at the top of the sport. Although Rocha will undoubtedly be a top competitor for years to come, Davies is likely just too far ahead of her at this point in her career and should be able to defend the title pretty comfortably.
Dante Leon v Ethan Crelinsten – For the lightweight title
The second title-fight in this preview of Who’s Number One 19 is also a battle between two of the top Canadian BJJ competitors. While that’s a fun aspect of the matchup, it’s also set to be incredibly exciting thanks to the styles of both Dante Leon and Ethan Crelinsten. They haven’t crossed paths at the highest level of competition just yet because Crelinsten generally competes at a lighter weight class than Leon. It’s not just size that Leon should have in his favor either, as he’s come within inches of an ADCC final on two occasions and won a bronze medal in 2022. This will probably the most exciting match of the night and there will probably be plenty of back-and-forth, but Leon should be able to emerge victorious regardless.
Felipe Pena v Haisam Rida
This match was among the first to be announced for Who’s Number One 19, and it could easily have been mistaken for the main event on any other night. It represents a huge opportunity for Haisam Rida, who had a breakthrough moment when he submitted Roberto ‘Cyborg’ Abreu at ADCC 2022. While it is a great chance to prove himself, it’s also a huge challenge that will be very difficult to overcome. Felipe Pena has repeatedly won at the highest level of the sport and although Rida is definitely capable of causing the upset, Pena is still the favorite here.
Nicky Ryan v Rene Sousa
This match between Nicky Ryan and Rene Sousa is the one with the most unknown quantities involved, and as a result its one of the hardest to predict in this preview of Who’s Number One 19. Although it might seem logical to pick Nicky Ryan because of his skill level, he’s also found it difficult to put it together in competition before. On the other hand, Rene Sousa has been slowly working his way through the ranks and putting in a series of impressive performances in recent years. It’s going to be an uphill battle for Sousa but this has all the makings of an upset and it could be the moment that he establishes himself at the highest level of the sport.
Andrew Tackett v Troy Russell
This match will open the main card of the event and it’s an interesting battle between a top young prospect and a veteran competitor. Andrew Tackett is the younger brother of another top grappler, William Tackett, and he’s been working hard to reach the same heights as his brother over the past few years. Troy Russell is a tough opponent and he has experience on the Who’s Number One stage already, but Tackett has reached a whole new level this year. He won the Combat Jiu-Jitsu welterweight world championship at the beginning of the year and he should be able to continue that fantastic run here.
The preliminary card for Who’s Number One 19 is every bit as impressive as the main card, and this preview will also break down each of the four matches that will lead up to the biggest matches. For any smaller promotion, each one of these matches could easily serve as a main event and each of these competitors are capable of putting on an impressive performance on the night.
Sebastian Rodriguez v Hunter Colvin
This match between will serve as the lead-in for the main card and the matchmakers have done a great job of putting the card in the best order to attract the most viewers. Hunter Colvin is known for putting on exciting performances and he was actually one half of the ‘Match of the Year’ from the JitsMagazine 2022 BJJ Awards. Sebastian Rodriguez is just as exciting to watch, but he’s also managed to put it together and win on the biggest stage in the sport. Rodriguez is the reigning IBJJF no gi world champion after Jonnatas Gracie was disqualified for failing a test for PEDs and although either man could submit the other, Rodriguez is the most likely to land the submission first.
Ben Eddy v Carlos Henrique
This match represents an incredibly interesting clash of styles, and not just because Ben Eddy is a master of the rubber guard. Carlos Henrique is the silver medalist from the lightweight division of last year’s IBJJF no gi world championship and as such, he should have a bit of a size advantage when he meets Eddy. Although Eddy’s style is incredibly unpredictable and he’s been known cause plenty of trouble for his opponents, Henrique should be able to find a way through his unconventional guard to win the match.
Helena Crevar v Healy Dayan
Helena Crevar has to be one of the most-watched prospects in the history of the sport at this point, and at 16 she’s just about to hit the point where she can compete at the highest level physically as well as technically. She’s already beaten adult black belt competitors and she’s been dominating the ADCC Open circuit at both juvenile and adult recently. B-Team Jiu-Jitsu‘s Healy Dayan is a solid competitor in her own right but a win here would be a gigantic upset, and Crevar is the clear favorite to win this match.
Achilles Rocha v JB Bechtloff
Achilles Rocha is the son of ADCC medalist Vagner Rocha and he’s competing shortly before his sister later on in the card. He’s been competing with adult black belts for years now and that kind of experience had helped him develop into an exciting grappler with tons of promise. JB Bechtloff is another B-Team Jiu-Jitsu representative and it’s tough to predict how he’ll fare given that his BJJ experience at this level is limited, although he is a great wrestler. The odds tip slightly in Rocha’s favor here but it’s not impossible for Bechtloff to come away with the win.
The full Who’s Number One 19: Meregali v Duarte event, including all of the above matches in this preview, will be available to watch live on August 10th, 2023 on FloGrappling.