This past weekend I was able to attend the Copa Podio Middleweight Grand Prix at the famous Tijuca Tenis Clube, we all went as a 15+ strong group from the Connection Rio house.
We arrived at the venue which was all lit up and looking very impressive with the great set up and production of the Copa Podio team.
Jamie Hughes is from Wales, UK, and is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt under Pedro Bessa. Jamie is currently living and training in Rio De Janeiro for 3 months as part of the Connection Rio sponsored athlete programme. You can read his blog “Espanthalo BJJ” here.
Within seconds of walking in the door there were easily recognizable faces from the world of jiu jitsu, including Rodolfo Vieira, Cicero Costha ,Ary Farias,Rodrigo Cavaca and all of the participants of the GP and superfights.
All of us from the Connection Rio house were supporting Australian grappling sensation Kit Dale who had been staying and training with us at the Connection Rio house and also Olympian Travis Stevens who I was lucky enough to train with a few times at Gordo’s in the week building up to Copa Podio.
I think for a bunch of gringos we made a lot of noise for the fighters we were supporting, I think we may have even out shouted the massive Soul Fighters contingent cheering against Kit Dale in his first match!
The event itself was of a really high standard, with such a plethora of talent on show the event was guaranteed to be an epic show, from Clark Gracie’s great finish, to Kit and Travis battling against the top Brazilian guys, it had me on the edge of my seat and produced some really memorable moments.
The undoubted fighter of the night for me was Felipe Pena, who worked his way through the field to take the title in impressive fashion.
That was one of the best things about the event, that I got to train with a few of the participants in the build up and got to meet many of my favourite jiu jitsu competitors.
Not many places in the world you can do that but here at Connection Rio its a normal weekend!
CLICK THE PHOTO BELOW FOR THE BEST PHOTOS FROM THE COPA PODIO MIDDLEWEIGHT GRAND PRIX