Nicholas Meregali Jiu Jitsu Study / Breakdown
All matches observed of Nicholas Meregali used in this small sample occurred at major jiu jitsu events in the years 2016-2017. Only techniques, occurrences, and outcomes that were recorded are displayed in the data below (i.e. if no butterfly sweeps occurred, there will not be a representation of that in the sample data charts). Matches were selected at random based on freely available matches. This is a limited sample – but given the estimated amount of matches in this time period – it is well above the percentage necessary to create a scientifically validated trend sampling.
Notable Study Stats:
- 80% win rate
- Scored first in 100% of wins
- Submitted his opponent in 66% of wins
- Average match length was approximately 5:46
- 50% of submissions were chokes from the back
- 75% of his submissions from guard were triangles
- 60% of his back takes took place when passing his opponents guard
Meregali Jiu Jitsu Breakdown
Nicholas Meregali is one of jiu jitsu’s fastest rising stars. Recently, he was able to out grapple perennial division favorite, Leandro Lo, to secure his very first Jiu Jitsu World title. What’s more, he did it in his very first year at black belt.
After commentating the IBJJF World Jiu Jitsu Championship this year, I thought I knew what to expect when evaluating Meregali’s jiu jitsu game. I discovered that there is more than meets the eye with this young Alliance standout.
What we learned in this jiu jitsu breakdown
When Meregali stepped on the mat at the Long Beach pyramid earlier this year to battle Lo in the finals, many expected Lo to do what he always does… find a way to win. Meregali had other plans. Meregali was able to use his precise timing, and complete bottom and top game, to frustrate and exhaust the future hall of famer. This is the game of Nicholas Meregali; sharp, calculated, and opportunistic.
Meregali is well known for his guard. His length and frame are the classic calling cards of great guard players past. In our study Nicholas submitted his opponent from his guard in 27% of all matches; and 1/3 of all of his wins. In fact, 50% of all of his submissions came from the bottom.
Meregali is about as efficient as they come from his guard. There is little wasted movement in his transitions, and he is about as talented as we’ve seen transitioning between different open guards. It was actually particularly difficult to classify which positions to attribute sweeps to; as many of the sweeping positions were connected by small effortless movements. In the study, Meregali swept opponents from 6 different guards using 7 different types of sweeps. According to our observations, he never completed the same type of sweep more than twice.
Defining Meregali’s game
This data would lead you to believe that this alone defines the game of Meregali; however, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, Meregali secured more guard passes in our study than he did sweeps; with a pass to sweep ratio of 10:9.
When passing Meregali preferred passing in space from the standing position. Approximately 70% of his sweeps came from this position; with the other 30% coming from half guard. 30% of his passes were variations of the leg drag – with another 30% coming from variations of the bull fighter pass. He blended these two together really well, but was always opportunistic in his chances to pass; therefore we saw a strong variety of techniques used. This is something we rarely see with young competitors.
Wrapping it all together
If you remember back to the beginning of this article you’ll remember that 50% of Meregali’s submissions came from guard. Where did the other 50% come from? They all came in the exact same fashion – chokes from the back position. Meregali took the back of his opponent in 33% of matches we observed. He also had a dangerous 80% finishing rate once he achieved the position.
Nicholas Meregali is one of the most talented and transcendent athletes in modern jiu jitsu. It is not impossible to see him one day being an Absolute Division World Jiu Jitsu Champion. In fact, it’s probably not fair to put any limitations on what he can achieve at this point. To say his future is bright would be an understatement.