This past weekend, the Copa Podio GP was held in the heart of Rio de Janeiro. This event is unique because it invites the top level BJJ athletes to compete in an intense Grand Prix tournament. The winner receives a massive trophy, along with prize money – a great effort towards professionalizing the sport as much as possible.
The Copa Podio is little known to the BJJ scene outside of Brazil and deserves more international recognition. The Grand Prix from this past weekend was for middleweights only. Copa Podio holds several of these tournaments per year for different weight classes. The event is also televised for the Brazilian public – another great effort to further professionalize and popularize our sport.
Every Grand Prix contains 10 participants and several super fights to fill up the night. The 10 combatants are then divided into two groups; green and yellow. In each group, the participants fight each other in a round-robin tournament and try to gain as many points and submissions as possible. At the end, all their efforts are added together and they receive final points. Only the top two from each group continue to fight each other in the semi-finals.
This year, the group standings, after the round-robin, was the following:
1. Ricardo Bastos (Nova Uniao) – 10 points
2. Davi Ramos (Atos) – 7 points
3. Diogo Almeida (Ryan Gracie) – 4 points
4. Thiago Barata (Familia Abi-Rihan) – 0 points
5. Pedro Mello (Gracie Florianopolis) – 0 points
1. Dimitrius Souze (Alliance) – 9 points
2. Leandro Lo (Cicero Costha) – 8 points
3. Felipe Preguica (Gracie Barra MG) – 7 points
4. Rafael Formiga (Soul Fighters) – 3 points
5. Otavio Sousa (Gracie Barra PE) – 1 point
Once the group winners are decided, the first seed from one group fights the second seed from the other.
Ricardo Bastos x Leandro Lo
Dimitrius Sousa x Davi Ramos
By this point all the competitors are exhausted and must still complete two more matches to win the gold. Ultimately, both Leandro Lo and Dimitrius Sousa were able to face each other in the finals, with Leandro Lo keeping an intense pace and outpointing Dimitrius.
The event was a complete treat to watch. The level and intensity of the competition was unbelievably high, and each competitor was out there, hungry, to win. The level of the actual production was also impressive. It was fight after fight, with little time to waste in between. Fighters were ready to jump on the mats and a passionate crowd of supporters for each of them. It’s safe to say that it is events like this that will continue to enrich the sport both for casual practitioners and the professionals. There have been similar events held in the USA in nogi in the past, but hopefully we will see events like this pop-up on every coast, inviting the top athletes to show their skills and be rewarded for their participation. There are already events in the work for the near future, so stay tuned and try to attend as many as possible to give them the support they deserve.