Copa Pódio: “Imagine the Worlds with 6-Minute Matches. There’d be Different Champions”

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Rodolfo Vieira Joao Gabriel Leo Nogueira jantam juntos no hotel da Copa Podio Foto Gustavo Aragao GRACIEMAG

Léo Nogueira, in the background, dines with Rodolfo Vieira, João Gabriel, Tanquinho, Mackenzie and other aces at the hotel in Downtown Rio, one day before the big Copa Pódio event (Photos by Gustavo Aragão/GRACIEMAG).

The only tense moment of the Copa Pódio weigh-ins last night happened in the elevator.

In a hurry to get to dinner, the contestants in the Heavyweight GP, set to take place today at 5 pm, set off all together at once amid raucous laughter that made some hotel guests and the steel cables holding them up somewhat jittery. After all, with exception to American medium heavyweight Keenan Cornelius, every one of the athletes came in between 95 kg and 98 kg, the Grand Prix weight ceiling.

Aside from that suspense, the mood at the Atlantico Business Hotel was altogether brotherly. An example: Xande Ribeiro and brown belt Keenan Cornelius, who will be facing each other in the opening match, engaged in nonstop banter in English, recalling their adventures at tournaments in the USA.

With a smile on his face throughout, Xande explained how he could be so calm the day before a contest worth a good deal of money. “I’ve reached an almost Zen-like state before competing. I smile the whole time, and my countenance only changes when I get on the mat. That’s when my warrior side takes over,” said the two-time absolute champion of the world, quickly dispelling the cliché that he and Keenan would lock horns in a battle between “experience and youth”:

“It’s youth against youth, man. What’re you talking about ‘experience.’ I’m going to show you I’m still a boy this Sunday. I’m even going to pull off berimbolos and an innovative new technique I came up with—the ‘lizard-guard’,” he said, provoking his rival Lucio Rodrigues, or “Lagarto” (lizard in Portuguese), as he is known around Gracie Barra.

Xande Ribeiro e Keenan Cornelius Foto Gustavo Aragao GRACIEMAG

Xande Ribeiro and Keenan Cornelius have a chat before locking horns at the big event (Photo by Gustavo Aragão/GRACIEMAG).

Léo Nogueira studies Jiu-Jitsu after dark

There was constant provocation and praise going back and forth. After dinner, two of the biggest eaters of Copa Pódio, Rodolfo Vieira and Alex Ceconi, made fun at each other: “I’ll let you in on a great nightclub for you to go to here in Rio, for you to stay out all night, alright?” said Rodolfo as he headed to his room for some shuteye.

But there was also time to study Jiu-Jitsu. While awaiting Alexandre Paiva and Victor Genovesi to tweak some techniques and do one final training session with him in his hotel room, Léo Nogueira of Team Alliance caught up with Gracie Barra’s Felipe “Preguiça” in the lobby.

“I was watching a match of yours and a question occurred to me. Can I drop by your room to go over it with you?” the world runner-up in the absolute division asked, to which Felipe immediately agreed, overjoyed that his performance had been remembered.

Léo cleared up why the late-hour request: “Study has to be constant. We have to always have our eyes open and radar switched on to new things. Any detail before the GP could make all the difference,” he said.

“With six-minute matches, everything changes. Just imagine the last Jiu-Jitsu World Championship, where there were numerous come-from-behind wins. If all the matches had been six minutes and not ten, I’d be the absolute champion. And Bochecha might not have rallied back in his match against Rodolfo. And so on and so forth…” he said in conclusion.

What do you say, wise reader? Who wins the six-minute battles of the Copa Pódio Heavyweight Grand Prix today? Let us know your thoughts in the comments field below.

And check out the complete timetable for today’s event:

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Copa Pódio – Heavyweight GP
Clube Hebraica, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
January 13, 2013


Manaus (Diego Borges/Checkmat) vs Brasília (Luizinho Pereira/Gracie Humaitá)

Augusto Tanquinho vs Leandro Lo
Mackenzie Dern vs Luiza Monteiro

6:10  – GP ROUND 1
Alexandre Souza (Gracie Floripa) vs Lúcio Lagarto (Gracie Barra/Londres)
Braga Neto (Gordo JJ/Porto Velho) vs Bruno Bastos (Nova União/USA)
Keenan Cornelius (Lloyd Irvin) vs Léo Nogueira (Alliance/São Paulo)
Rodolfo Vieira (GFTeam/Rio de Janeiro) vs Alexandro Ceconi (Ceconi Team/Criciúma)

6:45 – GP ROUND 2
João Gabriel (Soul Fighters/Rio de Janeiro) vs Alexandre Souza (Gracie Floripa)
Lúcio Lagarto (Gracie Barra/Londres) vs Braga Neto (Gordo JJ/Porto Velho)
Xande Ribeiro (Ribeiro JJ/Los Angeles) vs Keenan Cornelius (Lloyd Irvin)
Léo Nogueira (Alliance/São Paulo) vs Rodolfo Vieira (GFTeam/Rio de Janeiro)

7:20 – GP ROUND 3
Bruno Bastos (Nova União/USA) vs Alexandre Souza (Gracie Floripa)
João Gabriel (Soul Fighters/Rio) vs Lúcio Lagarto (Gracie Barra/Londres)
Alexandro Ceconi (Ceconi Team/Criciúma) vs Keenan Cornelius (Lloyd Irvin)
Xande Ribeiro (Ribeiro JJ/Los Angeles) vs Léo Nogueira (Alliance/São Paulo)

7:55 – GP ROUND 4
Braga Neto (Gordo JJ/Porto Velho) vs Alexandre Souza (Gracie Floripa)
Bruno Bastos (Nova União/USA) vs João Gabriel (Soul Fighters/Rio de Janeiro)
Rodolfo Vieira (GFTeam/Rio) vs Keenan Cornelius (Lloyd Irvin)
Alexandro Ceconi (Ceconi Team/Criciúma) vs Xande Ribeiro (Ribeiro JJ/Los Angeles)

Lúcio Lagarto (Gracie Barra/Londres) vs Bruno Bastos (Nova União/USA)
Braga Neto (Gordo JJ/Porto Velho) vs João Gabriel (Soul Fighters/Rio de Janeiro)
Léo Nogueira (Alliance/São Paulo) vs Alexandro Ceconi (Ceconi Team/Criciúma)
Rodolfo Vieira (GFTeam/Rio de Janeiro) vs Xande Ribeiro (Ribeiro JJ/Los Angeles)


1st place from Green Group vs. 2nd place from Yellow Group
1st place from Yellow Group vs. 2nd place from Green Group

Leandro Lo (Cícero Costha SP) vs Felipe Preguiça (Gracie Barra BH)

10:05  – FINALS
Third place match
Grande finale

Ler matéria completa Read more
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