Next week, on Sunday, Sept. 8, the ever-growing Copa Podio event will be putting on its fifth-ever event and its second-ever middleweight grand prix. In this event, unlike the other four installments, there will be a greater mix of styles as we will see Olympic judo players, berimbolo perfectionists, new black belts and seasoned black belts going at it. So there are bound to be plenty of unique match-ups that we may not see too often at other events.

Also, along with the grand prix that is sure to provide plenty of fireworks, there are also a few superfights that will only provide extra glamour to an already stacked event.

To kick off Sunday’s festivities, there will be a no-time-limit bout between the last event’s revelation, Diego Borges of CheckMat, and the IBJJF’s 2013 Pan middleweight champion, Clark Gracie. The match will not end until there is a submission or one of the fighters gives up.

After that, the grand prix will get underway with the regular green and yellow group match-ups. Like always, the 10 competitors are divided into two groups. In the preliminary rounds, the athletes will compete against everyone in their own group once. At the end of the preliminary rounds, whoever has the best and second-best record will move on to the semifinals. In the semis, the one with the best record in the green group will fight the athlete with the second-best record from the yellow group. Then, on the other side, the one with the best record from the yellow group will fight the athlete with the second-best record in the green group. Whoever wins those two semifinals will square off in the grand prix finale.

In this grand prix, the green group looks to be the most intriguing storyline of the event. We will see a bit of everything from each competitor. We will see the hard-nosed brown belts (Manuel Diaz and Travis Stevens), the new black belts (Renato Cardoso and Jamie Canuto) and the light-featherweight and absolute World champion, Paulo Miyao. This big mix is sure to bring some interesting results, and right now it is hard to tell who will come out of the group with the best record.

Can Miyao, the smallest competitor of the event, pull off another great win, or are there too many heavier challenges in his way?

On the other side of the grand prix, we see a much more balanced match-up when it comes to rank and size. In the yellow group, there is Felipe Pena, Alexandro Ceconi, Diogo Moreno, Yan Cabral and Kit Dale. Amongst the others, Ceconi looks to be the favorite, since he has the best credentials at black belt going into the event. Ceconi has placed at the Worlds in his weight and in the absolute in past years, and he has had numerous great battles against the best in the sport today. The second favorite looks to be Pena, who has become a popular name over the last few years. After winning weight and absolute at the Worlds in 2011 as a purple belt and then winning his weight the next year at brown belt, the young Gracie Barra student received his black belt. He is now coming close to finishing off his first full year at the highest rank. Although it hasn’t been an easy stretch for him in 2013, don’t be surprised to see him in the semifinals looking to take home the middleweight title.

After the grand prix, Leandro “Lo” Nascimento will put his perfect record at the Copa Podio on the line in a 10-minute No-Gi superfight against Claudio Calasans. Both are not as well-known for their No-Gi games, but for both this serves as a great preparation match for their trip to Beijing, China, where they will compete at the ADCC in the -76 kg (under 167.5-pound) and -88 kg (under 194-pound) divisions respectively.

To get you, the reader, extra excited about this upcoming event, here is a match between Lo and Pena at the event’s third installment, where the two had what was considered to be the event’s best match.

Photo: Diego Borges (Gustavo Aragão/Gracie Mag)

About The Author

Gianni Grippo
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Contributor

Gianni Grippo is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Marcelo Garcia and trains at the Marcelo Garcia Academy in New York City. Besides being a big fan of the sport, Gianni is also an avid competitor and has ranked among the best in the World from blue to brown belt winning 6 IBJJF World titles and 7 Pan Championships. Still at 21, Gianni looks to continue to compete for many years to come as his main goals are to win the World championships at black belt and win the ADCC title.