This last weekend, we witnessed Copa Podio’s first event of 2016. Over the last few years, they have strived to put on some of the most exciting matches in jiu-jitsu. The format of their event allows them to create intense matches, especially since athletes need to compete several times in one night to win the Grand Prix. It’s a true test of an athlete’s stamina, technique, and heart.
One name that always stands out in Copa Podio history is that of Leandro Lo. Since its inception, Lo has been able to dominate the scene. With his fast pace and superior cardio, Lo is able to dominate in this kind of competition. He tires his opponents and always has enough gas to keep going. Even though he likes to dramatize how exhausted he is after every match - he may look like he has nothing left - he always recovers just fine for the following match.
This specific Copa Podio event also introduced the team matches. In this case we witnessed the North-Eastern Brazilian team versus the Northern European team. The Europeans were able to win in a huge upset, dominating two of the three matches. From these matches, we found the new star of the night: Espen Mathiesen (who defeated last year’s brown belt world champion). Once again, Copa Podio has shown its ability to shed light on the top talent in the world. These matches were held at the brown belt level, but usually all brown belts that are featured in Copa Podio have a promising future.
But the team matches were just the appetizer for the night. The stacked lineup for the lightweight grand prix is what everyone was waiting for. Leandro Lo had to defend his title against some of the other top lightweights in the world - namely Davi Ramos, and especially, Lucas Lepri, another multiple time world champion. Davi Ramos is not as decorated in gi, especially since he has spent the last years focusing on MMA, but this focus led him to a spectacular win at the last ADCC. These were the three top names to follow in this line up.
The grand prix started off intensely with Lucas Lepri facing Davi Ramos in the first match of the night. For those of you who may not know, Lepri was defeated by Ramos by a jumping armbar in the ADCC. The loss is still quite fresh, so the match was a bit heated. In the end, Lepri, the more decorated gi competitor, was able to overcome Ramos in a close 4-2 win. Leandro Lo defeated Ramos as well, 6-2.
From here on in, the top names did as expected and dominated strongly until the end. Leandro Lo even enjoyed a 13-0 win over AJ Sousa. Lucas Lepri had a close win over Diego Borges (2-0). In the end, Leandro Lo was able to defeat Lucas Lepri by only 2 points in a very tough match. Usually at IBJJF tournaments, Lucas Lepri actually competes and lightweight and Leandro Lo competes at middleweight, so Lo did come in at the heavier weight.