Kaynan Duarte was one of the competitors that fans were most excited to see in action at the 2019 UAEJJF World Pro. The Kasai Pro 5 champion earned his black belt just last year and quickly blazed past the “up and comer” phase to the “guy who’s probably going to win everything” phase.
Sure enough, Duarte did, in fact, win everything at the World Pro. He cruised right through the Brazilian qualifiers and into the main bracket, where he had his highly anticipated match with Erberth Santos in the semifinals. Duarte then defeated Santos by points. The situation might have been called an “upset” had it happened a few months ago, but now, Duarte has built such a reputation for himself that his victory against the well-established (but problematic) Santos was almost expected.
In the finals, Duarte went up against ADCC qualifier Adam Wardzinski. The two had faced off multiple times before, with Duarte going 3-0 against Wardzinski. Still, a win for Duarte was anything but guaranteed — Wardzinski is a force, and at Pans this year, he reminded us of that by choking Leandro Lo out of the running.
Duarte proved once again that he’s here to stay, submitting Wardzinski with a kneebar and claiming his title as a black belt World Pro champion a year after earning the honor as a brown belt.
We chatted with Duarte after his victory and got his thoughts on his win and his opponent (make sure subtitles are on if you don’t speak Portuguese):
Watch Duarte and Wardzinski’s World Pro match below: