The actual Copa Podio Middleweight Grand Prix event held this past went okay. The PPV stream did not.
There is no getting around that electrical and production problems hampered the live show and essentially destroyed the PPV stream and Ricardo Azambuja made an official statement about this on the MW GP Facebook page. The statement claims that electrical power problems at the venue made streaming problematic, that those who bought the PPV would get free access to a future event in which a voted-upon team would grapple Leandro Lo and the Miyao brothers and that the best e-mail to contact Copa Podio would be email@example.com.
From L to R: Diogo Araujo, Felipe Pena, Leandro Lo, Clark Gracie and Paolo Miyao
Hywel Teague, the Rio de Janeiro-living filmmaker, documentarian, writer, editor and more, graciously wrote up a quick summary of the Grand Prix results over at the Atama BJJ Forums at the Underground. Hywel also promised a highlights video to come soon. Combining this with the Copa Podio results (for further details, verification and rules regarding scoring) gives us:
Clark Gracie def Diego Borges collar choke 22.38 (one hour, submission only match). Going by the play by play that BE member Castleeb posted over in the Live Discussion post, Diego was dominating until he gave up an omoplata/choke exactly like Mafra did in the 2013 Pan Ams. This Clark Gracie guy might be for reals.
Green/Yellow Group Round Robin:
Round 1 Green: Renato Cardoso submits Travis Stevens via triangle/armbar at 1:11 of the match.
Round 1 Green: Paulo Miyao def Manny Diaz 2-0 on points by getting a sweep.
Round 1 Yellow: Felipe Pena def Alex Ceconi 7-0.
Round 1 Yellow: Diogo Moreno def Davi Ramos by getting 2 points with a sweep.
Round 2 Green: Paulo Miyao vs Jaime Canuto: Draw at 0-0 for both.
Round 2 Green: Manuel Diaz vs Travis Stevens: Travis had 1 advantage point and got the win.
Round 2 Yellow: Diogo Moreno def Kit Dale 5-2 with a last minute comeback by passing the guard.
Round 2 Yellow: Davi Ramos submits Alex Ceconi with a toehold 31 seconds into the match.
Round 3 Green: Manny Diaz def Renato Cardoso 2-0 on points.
Round 3 Green: Travis Stevens comes from behind to omoplata/keylock Jaime Canuto.
Round 3 Yellow: Felipe Pena chokes Davi Ramos from the back.
Round 3 Yellow: Kit Dale def Alex Ceconi 2-0 on points with a sweep.
Round 4 Green: Travis Stevens vs Paolo Miyao: 0-0 on points, Miyao gets 2 advantages to Travis's 1 and wins.
Round 4 Green: Jaime Canuto vs Renato Cardoso: 0-0 on points, Jaime gets 3 advantages and the win.
Round 4 Yellow: Alex Ceconi vs Diogo Moreno: Diogo 2-0 victory on points by sweep.
Round 4 Yellow: Felipe Pena def Kit Dale with a sweep for 2 points and held on for the win.
Round 5 Green: Manny Diaz vs Jaime Canuto: Manny armbars Jaime.
Round 5 Green: Renato Cardoso vs Paulo Miyao: Miyao wins with a collar choke from the back.
Round 5 Yellow: Davi Ramos vs Ki Dale: 2-2 draw.
Round 5 Yellow: Diogo Araujo vs Felipe Pena: Felipe wins by triangle.
So the standings were as such (by my calculations):
Green Group - Paolo Miyao, 10 points; Travis Stevens, 6 points; Manny Diaz, 6 points; Jaime Canuto, 4 points; Renato Tavares, 3 points. I believe Stevens moved on to the semi-finals due to tiebreak rules, but I'm not sure on that one.
Yellow Group: Felipe Pena, the maximum 12 points; Diogo Araujo, 9 points, Davi Ramos, 4 points; Kit Dale, 4 points; Alex Ceconi, 0 pts.
The leader from each group was slotted in against the second-place finisher of the other group for semi-finals, so we got:
Paolo Miyao vs Diogo Araujo: Diogo wins 4-2 by sweeping Miyao twice.
Felipe Pena vs Travis Stevens: Felipe wins 9-2 by getting past the guard repeatedly and was up so comfortably, he decided to stand with Stevens and get tossed around.
Leandro Lo vs Claudio Calasans in the 10 min no gi superfight:
Leandro Lo wins 7-0 by sweeping Calasans twice, with the second late in the match and combined with a guard pass. It's a very impressive win for Leandro and he remains undefeated at Copa Podio.
Third place match:
Paolo Miyao defeats Travis Stevens with a single advantage in a 2-2 points match.
Diogo Araujo vs Felipe Pena: Felipe gets Diogo's back for 4 points and despite giving up a sweep at the end, Felipe still wins 4-2 on points.
Pena's victory is very impressive. He got his black belt in the last year and looked like he was having a good start to his top-level career, but this bumps up the expectations for him considerably. Pena appears to have mostly romped through the group stage, with only the Kit Dale battle being particularly close. The semi-final saw him taking considerable risks standing with Travis Stevens due to a hefty points lead and the American couldn't capitalize, despite a very pretty brace of throws. The outlook for Preguica Pena's career is blindingly bright at this time if he stays in this form. His Twitter is https://twitter.com/felipepenabjj and his Facebook is https://www.facebook.com/felipepenabjj.
All in all, this Grand Prix event appears to have been full of exciting grappling that was unable to be seen by most of the streaming audience and hampered by the technical and production problems at the live venue as well. Copa Podio as an organization appears to be aware of these problems and eager to make it up to the audience. Several people from the PPV stream audience have been quite vocal on the Facebook page and in other forms of social media about their disappointment and dissatisfaction.
The track record over the several events held suggests that the Copa Podios will continue to be great displays of BJJ, but the frequent problems with streaming for the PPV audience mandate a shift in venue and/or technology contractors. The gold standard in putting out gorgeous and hiccup-free combat sports streams comes from BudoVideos, which manages to outperform ESPN's presentation of the NCAA wrestling championships, the 2012 London judo and wrestling presentations and other private company streams from venues all around the world. BudoVideos is not hiccup-free, but their ability to punch far above their organizational weight in terms of presentation and entertainment is noted widely in the BJJ world.
The progress of Copa Podio towards something resembling the BudoVideos standard is an ongoing thing I will pay attention to over the coming months. Hopefully, the stars, production, electricity and electronics all align in good order for future Copa Podio events. Otherwise, a truly essential part of the Brazilian jiu jitsu sportwide progression towards being a self-sustaining, professional sport may flame out.
The Copa Podio Facebook pages present a picture of optimism and confidence in the likelihood of future events. A request to Copa Podio for an interview has been sent and as of this posting, no response has yet arrived. Given how rocky the road has gotten for Metamoris, another competitor to the IBJJF and CBJJO paradigm of the BJJ world, there could be rumblings behind scenes, but we the audience and non-insiders won't know until the public reveals are made.
I for one hope that Copa Podio takes this as an Invicta-style lesson to learn and goes on to greater things. The organization somehow seems to harness the magic of grappling again and again with smart match-making and a generally sensible set of rules.