This afternoon, the Copa Pódio promotion announced the final name rounding out the card for the Heavyweight GP coming up January 13, 2013.
The tournament groups had already been drawn; but Caio “Hellboy” Magalhães was called for duty at the Jan. 19 UFC São Paulo event, and had to be dropped from the card.
To keep the level of excitement surrounding Copa at a high, the promoters acted quick and got young Lloyd Irvin Team revelation Keenan Cornelius to join the fold.
The American brown belt thus joins Yellow Group, where right off the bat he will face 2012 absolute world runner-up Leo Nogueira. After that, he will have to go down the line with the likes of Xande Ribeiro, Alex Ceconi and Rodolfo Vieira.
Jeferson Mayca, the president of the event, addressed Keenan’s call-up:
“We’ve had close ties with Lloyd Irvin Team ever since JT Torres took part in our first event, the Lightweight Grand Prix that kicked off our first season. Furthermore, we were already negotiating to bring Cornelius down to Brazil for one of the season-two events,” he said.
On the criteria for his choice, Mayca is straightforward and direct: “Bringing in an athlete of the same level, same weight and rank wouldn’t add any excitement to the event. Now we have a brown belt in each group: João Gabriel [of Soul Fighters] in the green group and Keenan Cornelius in the yellow. We’ll throw the young bucks in there with the lions and see how they do.”
The promoters will use their Facebook Fanpage to make the announcement as to who won the contest to identify the final piece in the heavyweight puzzle announced yesterday on GRACIEMAG.com.
Check out the following Keenan Cornelius highlight reel.