This blog is written by Connection Rio founder and BJJ black belt Dennis Asche.
This last Sunday, January 13th, I had the honor of attending Copa Podio de Jiu-jitsu at the Hebraica Gymnasium in Rio de Janeiro. As the English commentator my seat was one of the best in the house and I enjoyed every minute of being there. From opening match to a spectacular final, it kept me on the edge of my seat, eyes fixed on the competitors every move.
Jeferson Mayca, mastermind behind Copa Podio Jiu-jitsu, has a vision to build jiujitsu’s reputation as a professional sport here in Brazil. The importance of Copa Podio for athletes of the arte suave is tremendous, as it provides a true opportunity for those who have dedicated their lives to BJJ a means of stability through competition. Not only does it allow athletes to generate an income through competition but this event educates people who have never been in contact with jiu-jitsu, showing them the beauty and science involved.
This heavyweight GP was a prime example of a vision becoming reality. Mayca took great care in creating one of the most spectacular cards a BJJ fan could have asked for, bringing together a deep talent pool featuring some of jiujitsu’s most dynamic athletes.
A few of my personal favorite matches were of course Leandro Lo vs. Preguica, in an epic battle that did not stop for the entire ten minutes! Being a true believer in that there is always a way to overcome any situation, it was amazing to see Lo take control in a comeback, with eight seconds left on the clock!
Leandro Lo vs Felipe Preguica
As I said on the day of Copa Podio Heavyweight GP, great respect to Bruno Bastos. Many people do not truly understand the difficulty to compete on the highest level while teaching and running a business. Bastos has proven himself many times over in competition against jiu-jitsu greats, including numerous battles with Xande Ribeiro (factoring wins and defeats). His making a return to top level competition and giving his all in the GP was a warrior’s decision, which showed where his heart is regardless of the GPs outcome.
Keenan Cornelius, what a showing! It appeared as if the Brazilians really underestimated Keenan’s ability, the skill and calmness under pressure he displayed earned their respect. Great matches and a great showing for the young Loyd Irvin brown belt. Cornelius has many years left to compete, he will be back stronger and more experienced.
Keenan Cornelius vs Xande Ribeiro
Leo Nogueira accomplished what he set out to do in upsetting the match against Braga Neto with a solid win. Both Leo and Alexandre Souza were ice cold in their expressions executing precise movement with their calculated guard games. Great to have been there!
Rodolfo Vieira, what a passing machine! A true athlete with the determination and heart of a champion. Vieira deserves the spot he has earned for himself as the best in Copa Podio Jiu-jitsu Peso Pesado GP winner. Vieira’s matches where all very exciting as he tore through the division, right to the top of that podium.
Rodolfo Vieira vs Xande Ribeiro
Rodolfo Vieira vs Keenan Cornelius
For those who were watching via pay-per-view I understand that there were technical difficulties and event owner Jeferson Mayca was very disappointed, as he had anticipated a high volumes of viewers. It turns out there were many, actually too many as the company contracted to handle the server did not provide service as they were hired to. When technical difficulties began they simply did not answer their phones for event staff or the frustrated fans who were attempting to watch.
In addition to this the single stream was broadcast simultaneously in English and Portuguese. With the primary audience being Brazilian, the majority of commentary was in Portuguese, adding in dialogue in English from time to time. These small obstacles will undoubtedly be overcome and I sincerely hope that everyone who truly enjoys or appreciates BJJ shows their support to the organization.
Many Connection Rio guests were in attendance and all had great reviews of the experience they shared at Copa Podio in Rio de Janeiro.
Until next time … wish you were here!