Seeing relatively new jiu-jitsu competitor Nick Rodriguez in the finals at ADCC was a surprise for many people following the event, and when it happened, Seth Daniels’ brilliant idea of putting him up against Kaynan Duarte at Fight 2 Win 129 came true a lot faster than anyone expected.
While both competitors put up a great fight, Duarte was ultimately able to secure the win with a back-take, becoming the +99kg champion in the process. The victory was huge for the young jiu-jitsu star, who seems to have a near-constant home on top of the podium these days. But if Rodriguez is hungry to prove himself against Duarte again, he’ll have the opportunity in less than a month. On October 18, the two will headline F2W 129 as originally planned, giving us a flashback to all the excitement of this weekend’s event.
Many promoters might be bummed about their expertly crafted matchup coming to fruition by happenstance just weeks before the event, but in this case, the fact that we’ve seen what Duarte and Rodriguez are capable of in an elite tournament setup can help build the hype for their rematch. Before the weekend, Rodriguez’s worthiness to go head-to-head with an athlete of Duarte’s caliber was enough to at least raise an eyebrow. Now, after he defeated Mahamed Aly, Orlando Sanchez, and Cyborg, there’s no doubt that Rodriguez earned his place against Duarte. The fact that their match was so impressively close also means that Rodriguez can spend the next few weeks making the adjustments he needs to come back and defeat Duarte… but then again, Duarte can also use what he learned in their finals match to secure an easier victory over his opponent.
We chatted with Duarte after his big ADCC win and asked him about his upcoming rematch. Here’s what he had to say: