Copa Podio is making some real strides in the jiu-jitsu world. Based out of Rio de Janeiro, the core city of BJJ, “Podio” collects the best athletes from around the world and places them in different class based round robin tournaments. They also add super fights with different themes such as pitting different academies against each other or different cities. Not only is the tournament intense, but it is also fun to see the rivalries that slowly develop.
On September eighth Copa Podio is holding their middleweight grand prix with the following athletes split into two groups for the round robin style tournament:
Copa Podio has made an effort to bring some of the more underrated international fighters, so this tournament will be a great indicator of who we can really keep an eye on for the mundial next year.
The green group features some up-and-comers like Jaime Canuto – a GF Team athlete that holds a win over Ben Henderson in IBJJF competition, and Manny Diaz from Caio Terra’s association. However the strong favorites in the group are the experienced Renato Cardoso from Checkmat and Paulo Miyao from Cicero Costha. Paulo Miyao has been on a tear with his brother Joao for a few years now and only recently earned their black belts after a short time at brown. Look for him to have the upper hand in this group, even though physically he will be the smallest competitor. We also have Olympic judoka, Travis Stevens on deck as a strong x-factor. He has been training with the Renzo Gracie team and hopefully he can put on a nice takedown clinic for all of us to admire.
In the yellow group we have some more familiar faces like TUF Brazil contender from Nova Uniao, Yan Cabral, and Felipe Preguica, who is memorable due to his battles against Leandro Lo in past Copa Podio events. There is also Australian Kit Dale who adds some international flavor to the mainly Brazilian bracket. On paper, this is a more challenging bracket than the green group. Both Ceconi and Moreno are legends in Brazil, however, look for Preguica to come out on top of he whole tournament. He has won the worlds at both purple and brown, and although he will be competing against black belts, he has shown, in his fights against Lo, that he is ready for all the best fighters. Lastly, expect to see Cabral as the x-factor in this group. Cabral is a very experienced, well conditioned and dynamic athlete. He has all the tools to pull-off upsets.
Lastly, we have the two superfights: Clark Gracie vs Diego Borges. These guys will be representing their respective cities – San Diego and Manaus. It’s a tough fight to predict since both athletes have been very active lately and are both at the top of their class. Since this is a no time limit/submission only match, expect Diego to put extra pressure on Clark Gracie and scrape a submission deep into the match. This will be a long one.
The second super fight is multiple-time Copa Podio champion, Leandro Lo against Atos powerhouse, Claudio Calasans. This fight is a real treat since we are going to see two very athletic and high-energy fighters, but with very different styles. Expect Leandro Lo to win in his usual manner of pushing the pace and forcing Claudio into a mistake.