Atos BJJ has become one of the most dominant teams in all of Jiu Jitsu. One of their athletes that helped them reach the top was the young and talented Kaynan Duarte.
At 23, Duarte has already become one of the best BJJ competitors on the planet. Here is the story of how Kaynan Duarte became a world champion grappler.
Going over his rise to the top, while also going over his failed drug test and comeback to become champion again.
Kaynan Duarte’s start in Jiu Jitsu
Kaynan Duarte grew up in Pederneiras within the state of Sao Paulo. When he was around 12, Kaynan became interested in martial arts and wanted to participate in one.
He started in Judo, but then gained an interest in Jiu Jitsu due to a cousin that practiced the martial art. This would lead him to begin training with José “Zé Cavalo” Luis.
Duarte would train with Luis up until he was a juvenile blue belt. Luis wasn’t affiliated with a major academy, which led Duarte to begin visiting bigger academies.
First going to train with Cicero Costa in Sao Paulo and then Paulo Ledesma in Bauru. Ledesma owned an Atos BJJ affiliate school, which was exactly what Kaynan was looking for.
Zé Cavalo would also become affiliated with Atos and soon both Duarte and his original academy began growing.
Duarte travels to Atos HQ
In 2016, Duarte had reached the purple level and began traveling internationally to compete. His first international competition would be at the 2016 UAEJJF Grand Slam Los Angeles championship.
To prepare for the competition, Kaynan would travel to San Diego to train at Atos HQ with Andre Galvao. The Atos leader took a liking to Duarte and saw a lot of potential in him.
Galvao would invite Duarte back to train at the HQ for the No-Gi World Championship that year. Kaynan would take the invitation and come back for the No-Gi Worlds training camp.
This training camp would pay off as Duarte would win double gold at No-Gi Worlds. Leading to him earning his brown and soon moving to San Diego to train at the HQ full time.
Duarte wins at brown belt
Fresh off getting his brown and training full time at Atos HQ, Duarte was already looking like a seasoned pro. In 2018, he would win every competition he entered and did so in dominant fashion.
Duarte would go on to repeat as No-Gi world champion at brown belt and at the Gi world championship. Earning double gold at both tournaments.
When he was on the podium at the 2018 Gi World Championship, Andre Galvao would promote Kaynan to black belt.
Duarte’s early black belt run and failed drug test
Fresh off of getting his black at 20 years old, Kaynan Duarte would go back to work competing. Starting off 2019 by winning at the European Open, Pan American, and Kasai 5, and the World Pro.
Impressively beating some of the world’s best grapplers from Adam Wardzinski, Pedro Marinho, and Jackson Sousa.
His successful start at black belt would lead him to the 2019 World Championship. At the event he would dominate the heavyweight division to win his first world title at black belt.
Unfortunately Duarte’s first world title at black belt would be short lived. In June of 2019, Duarte would fail a USADA test for a variety of different anabolic agents.
This would lead to the IBJJF stripping Kaynan of his world title and banning him for one year.
Kaynan Duarte wins at ADCC 2019
After being banned from IBJJF competitions for the next year, Duarte would compete in various other pro grappling events. This included winning an ADCC qualifier event.
Getting the chance to compete alongside his coach Andre Galvao at ADCC 2019. Kaynan was in a stacked 99kg+ division that included former ADCC champions.
Kaynan would beat his first two opponents to meet Marcus Buchecha in the semifinals. At the time, this was the biggest test of his young career.
It was a hard fought match that Duarte would win by referee decision. Leading to a showdown against Nicky Rodriguez in the finals.
Duarte was the more experienced of the two and would win the match 3-0 to win his first ADCC title.
Duarte’s return to BJJ Worlds
2021 marked the end of Duarte’s suspension allowing him to return to compete at IBJJF events. He would make his return at the Gi World Championship looking for redemption.
Kaynan would make quick work of his first two opponents. Beating Marlon Tanaka by violin armlock and then choking Helton Jose.
His semifinal match would be one of the toughest of the event as he earned a referee’s decision over Gabriel Henrique.
In the finals, Duarte would quickly overpower his opponent Luan Acevedo. After sweeping Acevedo and getting the mount, Kaynan would take his back in under a minute.
He would lock in an RNC to win the 2021 BJJ World Championship. Redeeming himself after being stripped of his first title in 2021.
Kaynan Duarte’s Jiu Jitsu game
Kaynan is a mirror image of his coach Andre Galvao’s Jiu Jitsu game. Just a younger and faster version of his coach.
He is one of the most well rounded grapplers on the planet that is just as good in the Gi as No-Gi. Duarte can either wrestle to get a takedown or pull guard and sweep his opponent.
Then once he gets on top, he is incredibly strong and has the ability to finish anyone. But the scary thing is that Duarte is only getting better.
What’s next for Kaynan Duarte?
At 23, Kaynan Duarte has already technically won 2 IBJJF world championships and 1 ADCC championship. Only three years as a black belt, Duarte has accomplished what it took many top grapplers their whole careers to achieve.
So, what is next for Kaynan Duarte? The only thing that Kaynan has yet to achieve is a No-Gi world title at black belt.
In 2022, Duarte will look to add that world title to his resume along with repeating as ADCC and Gi champion. A feat that no other grappler has ever accomplished.