MAY 10, 2021, RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL, was the host city for the Season 7 finale of Copa Podio, a pioneering professional gi-jiu-jitsu league once widely regarded as one the most prestigious promotions in the world.
A NEW TALENT EMERGES
In the past Copa Podio has taken plenty of pride in discovering new talent. The promotion was the first to point the spotlight on Leandro Lo, back when he was a relatively unknown lightweight, while also giving a platform for other bright stars of today such as João Gabriel Rocha, Victor Honório, John Combs, and Espen Mathiesen. This event kept with that same tradition by raising the profile of Pedro Lucas, a brown belt with a bright future ahead after this weekend’s performance.
Lucas is a student of former ADCC champion, Davi Ramos, who climbed his way through to the Copa Podio ranks by winning the Purple Belt Games (CP’s feeder league), but was largely unknown due to his lack of international experience in the main tournaments of the IBJJF. Adding to his lesser familiarity with top-tier events, Lucas was also placed on the Death Group of the Copa Podio, alongside big names of the jiu-jitsu world such as Pedro “Bombom” Alex, Guilherme Lambertucci, and Marcelo Gomide. Those who bet against the Atos RJ prospect betted wrong.
Although surrounded by some of the top players in Brazil, Pedro Lucas came through, and dominantly so. A truly flawless performance from the Rio de Janeiro native who won Copa Podio’s Heavyweight Grand Prix with 5 victories and one draw, 2 of his wins came via submission, which included a very savvy sweep to kneebar combo in the final.
SPAIN’S LUCIANO ALFONSO PROVES HIS WORTH
Another very interesting new talent who made an excellent showing last weekend was Luciano Alfonso of Barcelona, Spain. The only non-Brazilian on the show, Luciano was also a brown belt and selected to compete on the hardest group in the event, a lot of challenging barriers to overcome. Adding to this uphill battle, the Spaniard also suffered a head injury midway through the group stage and was diminished from the exchange.
Proving a very solid mindset and tons of technical ability, Luciano did not come away from the tournament with wins in his victory bag but definitely left a great impression of himself and his team on the mats. Always threatening, always aggressive, Luciano never gave up on himself and tested everyone he faced to the full extent.
A PERFORMANCE TO REMEMBER BY PEDRO ALEX
One of GF Team’s top ultra-heavyweights, Pedro Alex, had a few battles at Copa Podio, the first one was his weight. In order to compete at the event, Bombom had to cut nearly 20 kilograms (44 lbs) to reach the maximum allowed weight of 98KG (216 lbs).
With his weight on point, Alex battled some of Brazil’s toughest grapplers and did so perfectly, showing forward-moving jiu-jitsu with plenty of technique and athleticism for a man of his size. Pedro made it all the way to the final, where he lost to the champion, Lucas, from a sweep that was turned into a kneebar. A solid performance from the big man.
– Pedro Lucas DEF Marcelo Gomide via 2×0
– Pedro Alex DEF Luciano Alfonso via 3×0
– Pedro Lucas DEF Guilherme Lambertucci via Choke from back
– Pedro Lucas DEF Luciano Alfonso via 4×0
– Pedro Alex DREW WITH Guilherme Lambertucci via 2×2
– Pedro Alex DREW WITH Pedro Lucas via 0x0
– Guilherme Lambertucci DEF Marcelo Gomide via 2×0
– Luciano Alfonso DEF Marcelo Gomide via advantages (2×2 pts)
– Guilherme Lambertucci DEF Luciano Alfonso via advantage (2×2 pts)
– Pedro Alex DEF Marcelo Gomide via Kneebar
– Guthierry Barbosa DEF Felipe Bezerra via 2×0
– Leon Brito DEF Rodrigo Fajardo via 2×0
– Felipe Bezerra DEF Leon Brito via 2×0
– Guthierry Barbosa DREW WITH Neo Barbosa via 0x0
– Leon Brito DEF Guthierry Barbosa via Triangle
– Rodrigo Fajardo DEF Neo Barbosa via Botinha
– Rodrigo Fajardo DEF Guthierry Barbosa via 2×0
– Felipe Bezerra DEF Rodrigo Fajardo via 7×0
– Felipe Bezerra DEF. Leon Brito via advantage
– Pedro Lucas DEF. Pedro Alex via Kneebar