IBJJF Absolute Grand Prix Recap: Nicholas Meregali Triumphs in the 2023 IBJJF Absolute Grand Prix
Nicholas Meregali, Tainan, & Cole were among the big winners in Vegas.
On Friday, September 1st, the jiu-jitsu world witnessed an unforgettable event as part of Jiu-Jitsu CON, the largest jiu-jitsu event in the world. The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly the 2023 IBJJF Absolute Grand Prix, where the top fighters in the sport converged to compete for the GP title and a $40,000 cash prize. Three-time World Champion Nicholas Meregali emerged as the big winner, showcasing his exceptional skills throughout the tournament.
Meregali's journey to victory was nothing short of spectacular. In his first match, he faced Francisco Lo and displayed his dominance by first executing a sweep and guard pass. Nicholas then moved to the mount, where he found a submission via pressure. This victory set the tone for the night. In the semifinal, Meregali encountered Gutemberg Pereira, a familiar adversary. He once again put on a flawless performance, scoring 13 points on the 2022 Brasileiro open class champion before securing a collar choke from the back.
On the other side of the bracket, Victor Hugo was making his own mark. He submitted 2018 European Champion Horlando Monteiro with a choke from the back in the quarterfinal and then tapped 2X World Champion Fellipe Andrew with a triangle in the semifinal. Hugo's path to the final was a testament to his finishing abilities and set the stage for an epic showdown with Meregali.
The final match was highly anticipated, pitting the 2022 open class World Champion, Meregali, against the 2023 open class World Champion, Hugo. The contest was incredibly evenly matched, with both athletes displaying their skill in both top and bottom positions. Late in the match, Meregali executed a picture-perfect lasso sweep, earning himself two crucial points and securing the victory. With the win, Meregali became the 2023 IBJJF Absolute Grand Prix Champion and was awarded the $40,000 prize.
Aside from the Grand Prix, the event featured five thrilling super fights that kept the audience on the edge of their seats. In the first super fight of the night, Jackson Nagai faced Natan Chueng in a high-energy matchup that saw Jackson secure victory with a back take, finishing with a score of 8-2. In the next super fight, Janaina Lebre continued her dominance in IBJJF Grand Prix events by defeating Emily Fernandez with an impressive ezekiel choke from the mount position. Atos ace Ronaldo Junior took on Sebastian Rodriguez and demonstrated his speed and guard passing prowess, earning a victory on advantages.
The final two super fights at the Absolute GP were won by Art of Jiu-Jitsu representatives Cole Abate and Tainan Dalpra. Cole’s match was a highly anticipated battle between new black belts as he took on Eduardo "Dudu" Granzotto. Cole controlled the pace throughout and secured the victory in his IBJJF black belt debut. 2X World Champion Tainan Dalpra facing Yan "Pica Pau," with Tainan locking in a triangle early in the match and securing a submission finish.
The 2023 IBJJF Absolute Grand Prix at Jiu-Jitsu CON was a night to remember, with Nicholas Meregali emerging as the standout champion. The event was an amazing showcase of high level jiu-jitsu during the biggest event the sport has ever witnessed. If you missed any of the action, you can catch all the replays on flograppling.com.