MARCH 10, 2020, Sacramento – California set the scenery for the first-ever Copa Podio event on American soil.
Once regarded as the Gold Standard of professional jiu-jitsu events, we believe it is fair to say Copa Podio the overall quality of its events has somewhat corroded over the past 3 years, a sentiment further cemented by this past event No info-graphics, timid athlete walk-outs and a very bare-bones presentation. Nonetheless, the promotion put together a solid card with a few of the rising stars of the lightweight and middleweight divisions for its main event GP.
To support the main event Grand Prix was a preliminary mini-tournament between a few old school faces of the California grappling scene, which were put together with a couple of interesting no-gi super-fights – these which ended up being the most exciting matches of the night. Full report below.
A few very familiar names on the roster of this round-robin style tournament, including Rômulo Melo, Diego Hertzog, Nathan Mendelsohn and a more recent addition to the West Coast scene, but an old-schooler of Rio de Janeiro’s jiu-jitsu circuit – Guga Campos.
Although with an average age close to that of the Master 2 IBJJF division, this tournament had plenty of high-level entertainment and, dare we say, was a lot more interesting to follow than the main event.
With plenty of action from start to finish, it was Nathan Mendelsohn (who showed up a lot bigger than we’ve seen him in the past) and Guga Campos who had the best moments of the night, particularly Nathan as he ended up taking the gold medal home. After terrorizing the group stages with an aggressive and well-rounded game, in the final, against Campos, Mendelsohn chose to dominate the stand-up with crisp wrestling skills, repeatedly taking Guga down into double-digit figures on the scoreboard. A very entertaining final.
Round Robin Stage:
– Guga Campos def. Romulo Melo by 1 adv, 0x0 pts
– Guga Campos def. Manny Gonzalez by bow and arrow choke
– Romulo Melo def. Manny Gonzalez by 11×0
– Diego Herzog def. Richard Anthony by choke from mount
– Nathan Mendelsohn def. Richard Anthony by armbar
– Nathan Mendelsohn def. Diego Herzog by 4×0
– Nathan Mendelsohn drew with Romulo Melo (0x0)
– Nathan Mendelsohn def. Guga Campos by points
There is a reason why everyone loves watching Faber compete: He always brings it, and bring it he did. With a challenger worthy of the Team Alpha Male founder’s pedigree, UFC standout Dustin Ortiz, this was a match made in heaven with Ortiz being just as offense driven as Faber, albeit on the positional side.
Both exchanged scrambles relentlessly throughout the match with Faber hunting for the finish and Ortiz being always one step ahead, controlling the scoreboard and advancing on his positional dominance. A fabulous match that will certainly be worth rewatching.
Danilo Moreira and Antoine Gibson were equally entertaining. Gibson being a more submission oriented athlete could not handle Danilo’s positional game, although it would have been nice to see these two go at it with all submissions legal, as we feel this would have been a much more even fight under that setting.
– Danilo Moreira def. Antoine Gibson via 10×0 pts
– Dustin Ortiz def. Urijah Faber via 11×2 pts
We were looking forward to this event, given that there were plenty of interesting names on the card, and a good showing here could give us an indication of how these athletes would fair in this year’s international circuit.
Unfortunately, to no fault of the organizers, the athletes did not cooperate in providing a good show for the fans. In 16 GP matches, there was an overall sum of 17 instances of action overall. That meant little over one (1) point or submission sequence per match. 4 of those instances originated from missed guard pulls (AKA guard pull interceptions). From a spectator perspective, we felt as though the referees could (and really should) have pressed the athletes for more action, after all, this was a paid event.
One athlete came out looking like he wanted to win matches, that was Francisco Iturralde, AKA Sinistro. The Alliance standout placed 4th, but did his best to make the matches entertaining, showing an unwillingness to win by advantages.
Guthierry Barbosa, Jeremy Jackson and Leo Silva also had good moments on the mat, as did brown belt Kanan Clarke-Jones, who came out and proved he could certainly hang with some of the division’s best.
– Francisco Iturralde drew with Kanan Clarke-Jones (0x0)
– Leo Silva def. Jeremy Jackson via 4×0 pts
– Leo Silva def. Kanan Clarke-Jones via advantage, 0x0 pts
– Jeremy Jackson def. Francisco Iturralde via penalty, 4×4 pts
-Kanan Clarke-Jones def. Jeremy Jackson via 2×0 pts
– Francisco Iturralde def. Leo Silva via armbar
– Alex Munis def. Kauan Barbosa via 2×0 pts
– Guthierry Barbosa def. Cesar Caramajo via 2×0 pts
– Alex Munis def. Cesar Caramajo via advantage, 0x0 pts
– Guthierry Barbosa def. Kauan Barbosa via choke from back
– Kauan Barbosa def. Cesar Caramajo via DQ
– Guthierry Barbosa def. Alex Munis 2×0 via pts
– Guthierry Barbosa def. Alex Munis 2×0 via pts