One of the top stars of Gi BJJ today is Alliance standout Nicholas Meregali. Since his promotion to black belt, he has proven to be one of the best BJJ athletes in the world.
There was a lot of hype around Meregali on his way to black belt and he has certainly bypassed all expectations. Let’s take a dive into Nicholas’ journey to becoming a world champion BJJ athlete. Starting with how he was introduced to Jiu Jitsu and detailing the work he put in to become a world champion.
Nicholas Meregali Intro To BJJ
Nicholas grew up in an area called Santo Antônio within the Brazilian state Rio Grande de Sol. Within his household his younger brother was actually the first to start training Jiu Jitsu.
His brother would come home from practice and try moves on him, he started to become interested in training. When he was 16, Nicholas Mergali began training at ACJJ Academy.
His first instructor, Jefferson Adan, started seeing potential in his young student almost immediately. After becoming a blue belt, Meregali started winning all of the major titles at the state and national level. Capping off his first year as a blue belt with a Brazilian national title.
Nicholas Meregali Changes Academy
After winning his first national title at blue belt, Nicholas realized that he would need to make a change. In order to take his Jiu Jitsu to the next level, he would need to relocate to another academy.
One with a more competitive atmosphere and higher skilled teammates. He would relocate to Porto Alegre to train under Professor Mario Reis. The most accomplished BJJ athlete to ever come out of southern Brazil.
Under Reis, Meregali’s game would drastically evolve. From blue belt to brown belt, he would dominate every competition that he entered.
Nicholas would win the Brazilian National titles from purple belt and also brown belt. Then he would break out on the international stage.
Winning everything from European, Pans, and World Championships multiple times. Even winning both his division and the absolute division in many of these championships.
Nicholas Meregali’s Black Belt Promotion
Nicholas’ run through the lower belts proved that he was ready to face the best Jiu Jitsu athletes. At the end of 2016 with numerous major BJJ titles under his belt, Reis promoted Nicholas to black belt.
With his promotion to black belt, Meregali was ready to take his first shot at a world title at black belt.
Meregali’s Run at Black Belt
Since becoming a black belt, Nicholas has not disappointed in his performance. In his first test at black belt, Meregali would place third at IBJJF’s Pan Championship.
Not the result he wanted for his first big tournament at black belt, but he would make adjustments. Coming back stronger at the IBJJF World Championships later that year.
He would have a phenomenal run at the tournament that would lead to his first world title at black belt. At just 23 year old, this was the biggest accomplishment in his young career.
Unfortunately, Meregali wasn’t able to repeat in 2018 and had to settle for 3rd place at worlds. Although he would win his first Brazilian National Title at black belt that year.
2019 would be the most successful year of his young career as he won 4 major championships. This included double gold at Brazilian Nationals, gold at the BJJ Stars GP, and another BJJ world title.
Meregali or Alemão (as his teammates call him for being tall and blonde) has one the best guards in BJJ. Particularly his use of DLR, lapel guard, and especially his lasso guard.
He is an expert at these guards and will routinely mix them together to keep his opponents off balance. The sweep he is probably most known for is the hook sweep from lasso guard.
At first, Nicholas will be defensive with his guard, blocking aggressive pressure passers. Once he defends the pass attempt, he will immediately go offensive and set up his patented hook sweep or tilt sweep.
Nicholas has gotten so good at the hook sweep from lasso, that some refer to it now as the Mergali sweep. Here is a quick breakdown of part of his game from Deep Dive BJJ.
The last two years of Meregali’s career were a bit slower than his previous run between 2017 and 2019. Due to Covid in 2020 and a few nagging injuries, Nicholas Meregali didn’t have much to show for that year.
He would compete in a handful of BJJ pro shows, but Covid kept his competitions limited. Although at only 27 years, Nicholas is still young and has years of competitions left in him. Don’t be surprised to see him add more championships to his resume and continue being among the best in BJJ!