IBJJF Absolute GP line-up: Are Nicholas Meregali and Victor Hugo on a collision course?

Check out the full tournament line-up for the IBJJF Absolute GP, featuring Nicholas Meregali and Victor Hugo.

This Friday, September 1, eight elite gi jiu-jitsu competitors will square off in the IBJJF Absolute Grand Prix with a $40,000 cash purse on the line.

Competing in the tournament will be reigning ultra-heavyweight and absolute world champion Victor Hugo, as well as 2022 absolute world champion Nicholas Meregali – two men widely regarded as the planet’s top heavyweight competitors.

Check out the current IBJJF Absolute GP bracket below.

Meregali and Hugo share some history already, with Meregali owning a 3-1 advantage in the rivalry that dates back to 2019. In the lead-up to this Friday’s Absolute GP, Meregali has made it no small secret that he plans to defeat Hugo in the tournament finals – a task that he claims would cement his status as the best pound-for-pound gi grappler in the world.

After throwing himself into the deep end of no-gi competition in 2022, Meregali returned to the gi in dominant fashion this year with a spectacular, double-gold performance at the 2023 Pans. He followed that up with a flawless submission victory over Pedro Marinho at Who’s Number One.

Hugo, meanwhile, enjoyed one of the best tournament performances in recent years at the 2023 IBJJF Worlds, scoring submission victories in the finals of the ultra-heavyweight and absolute divisions.

Of course, for a Meregali/Hugo showdown to take place, both men will have to get through stiff competition.

For Hugo, that means first defeating 2023 American Nationals champion Horlando Monteiro. And if he’s able to do that, he’ll next face either perennial top IBJJF competitor Fellipe Andrew or the highly touted American standout Steffen Banta, who is still in the thick of his rookie black belt campaign.

And on the other side of the bracket, Meregali will first take on the always dangerous submission hunter Francisco Lo. If he wins, he’ll next square off with either Gracie Barra’s Paulo Merlin or AJP World Pro Champion Gutemberg Pereira.

The event will also feature several superfights to take place in between the tournament rounds of the GP:

How to watch: The IBJJF Absolute GP takes place on Friday, September 1, and will air live on FloGrappling (subscription required) at 8:00 PM ET.

Ben Coate

Ben has been involved with grappling, whether through wrestling or Brazilian jiu-jitsu, essentially his entire life. After wrestling throughout his childhood, Ben found Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a young adult and quickly fell in love. He has been training for over ten years and currently holds the rank of brown belt, and remains involved in both the MMA and BJJ scene. Ben has been writing about combat sports since 2017. He has interviewed and profiled some of MMA's biggest stars, including multiple UFC champions.

Ben Coate has 1174 posts and counting. See all posts by Ben Coate