2013 Copa Podio Middleweight Grand Prix – 2nd Season
Green Group Match
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Travis Stevens vs Paulo Miyao
Travis Stevens, one of my favorite human beings, is best known as a Judoka, having represented USA Judo in the 2008, 2012, and 2016 Olympics. After missing out in medals in 2008 and 2012, he broke through in 2016 and won silver in the -81kg class. I have two epic matches from his Olympic experience that are MFM- worthy. Fun fact- at the time of the 2016 Olympics, Travis was the second American to compete in Olympic Judo that had also attained a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt (name the first and you get a piece of candy).
Paulo Miyao is half of the infamous Miyao Brothers, with his identical twin, Joao. Paulo has a lengthy competitive resume with IBJJF, Pan Am, ACB, and UAEJJ titles. He ran afoul with the IBJJF in 2016 when he failed a USADA drug test after winning the Light Featherweight world title. Paulo (and his brother) are best known for their guard play and of course the dreaded, evil berimbolo.
In the 2013 Copa Podio Middleweight Grand Prix, Travis and Paulo were within the same group (Green) and this was their group match. Travis was a brown belt at the time (he would be awarded his black belt a few months after this event by John Danaher) and a year removed from the 2012 Olympics in London. What is impressive in this MFM is how Travis moves more like a BJJ player than a Judo player. It is a testament to his athleticism and adaptability. He also has a really cool back take attempt which everyone should practice.
Copa Podio is a promotion out of Brazil that has a unique format. They take 10 athletes within one weight division and divide them into two groups. Each person has a match against everyone in their group. They accumulate points via wins and draws and the top 2 in each group advances to a single elimination final 4 tournament.
Felipe Pena (on the bottom as the video starts) is a rising star in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu both with and without the Gi. He is the reigning ADCC Absolute Champion (2017) and reigning 2018 Heavyweight World Champion. Felipe has a litany of other grappling titles under his belt: Copa Podio, World Pro, ACB, Marianas Open. He is one to watch.
Victor Honorio is another rising star to keep an eye on. His competition results are in its infancy- he took third in the Ultra Heavy and Absolute divisions at the 2018 Worlds- but as he grows I think we will see him on more and more podiums in the future.
Copo Podio also has another unique feature. Within the group of 10, they often will invite at least 2 up and coming brown belts to go against black belts. This format has resulted in extremely interesting matches as you will see here.
This Copa Podio, Victor’s was one of two brown belts invited. He certainly took advantage of this opportunity as he put the grappling world on alert by making it all the way to the finals against Felipe. This short video was the only video I could find of this match. So to provide context, up until the video starts, Victor was taking it to Felipe and was a few minutes from a major upset.