Copa Podio continues strong with its series of epic Grand Prix series. They scour the earth for the top jiu-jitsu athletes and put them against each other in a format that you usually see in FIFA’s world cup.
To be brief, the GP format separates the competitors into two groups of five. Each opponent fights each other to collect points. You receive bonus points if you submit your opponent. Then, the top two competitors from each group compete against each other in a semi-final match, and eventually in the finals. The event is usually held in Rio de Janeiro and usually lasts quite a long time. This time it went for five hours.
In this season of the Lightweight GP, they featured 10 of the best and most interesting combination of lightweight athletes. The list was as follows;
Although Brazil has the top BJJ fighters in the world, the Copa Podio organization tries to give exposure to the rest of the world by adding international athletes to the mix, like the USA and Italy. Additionally, they like to add a few of the top brown belts in the world to see how game they are against some of the top black belts. Often, successful brown belts use Copa Podio as an instant stepping-stone to their black belt.
The Grand Prix went almost as expected – keyword: almost. The two favorites in the yellow group were Gilbert Durinho and Fernando Vieira, both world champions. The two favorites in the green group were Leandro Lo and Gregor Gracie. Leandro Lo needs no introduction as he is not only a world champion, but he is also Copa Podio’s most successful champion. Gregor Gracie was considered a favorite because he was probably one of the largest competitors in the GP, having cut down from middleweight.
But most impressive in this tournament was brown belt Victor Silverio from GF Team. He was successful in stalling out Fernando Vieira – ending in a draw, as well as drawing with Gianni Grippo. What gave Victor an upper hand over his competition was a quick submission he pulled off on Marcio Andre – a promising brown belt from Nova Uniao but one of the smaller athletes in the GP – usually competing at featherweight.
After these results, Victor Silverio was also able to edge out a point over Fernando Vieira in the final standings and went on to the semi-finals to lose to Leandro Lo, but eventually beat Durinho Burns! A huge accomplishment by any standards since Durinho is easily one of the top competitors in the world.
It’s interesting to see how far Silverio has come since his appearance on Lloyd Irvin’s Kumite web show where Victor displayed some attitude issues that also affected his performance. While many other athletes on that web show have already moved on to their black belts, it is easy to say that it is time that Victor joins them.