First American to Win Copa Podio

Photo by Marcelo Brigadeiro
Photo by Marcelo Brigadeiro
Photo by Marcelo Brigadeiro
Photo by Marcelo Brigadeiro

This past weekend, the winner of the Copa Podio Middlewight Grand Prix emerged in a blaze of Jiu Jitsu glory. DJ Jackson became the first American to win this intense martial arts tournament and while many could have been deserving of this final victory, it was DJ’s dedication to the sport that won him the crown.

​A Long Time in the Making

Lead by his instructor, Professor Lloyd Irvin Jr., DJ has an astounding amount of accomplishments under his belt. A multiple time IBJJF Champion, Grappling Pro, and Gracie World Champion, it was only a matter of time before this powerhouse with precision skill took on another title.

Jackson is best known for winning every belt division of the IBJFF World Championship. He remains one of Team LLoyd Irvin’s most accomplished competitors and an important figure in the Brazilian middleweight division. His signature move is an incredibly powerful double leg takedown.

Once a wrestler, “DJ” De’Alonzio Jerome Jackson started taking Jiu Jitsu in his off season. He quickly fell in love with the sport, incorporating his wrestling prowess on the mat into this new combat art form and finding immediate success.

Whether sparring as BJJ Purple Belt, Brown Belt, or Black Belt, DJ’s aggressive style and pinpoint precision earned him title after title. With 55 wins, 21 losses, and only 2 submission losses in his entire career, his track record is pretty impressive by anyone’s standards.

Finally, all of that hard work and determination have made him the first American to take home the championship at Copa Podio.

​Tribute to the Trainer 

Of course, he owes much of his accomplishments to his trainer Lloyd Irvin Jr., a master in his own right. This black belt and World No-Gi Champion has trained great fighters such as Mike Fowler, JT Torres, and Ryan Hall.

In a legendary match with the MMA fighter Arthur Grant, Lloyd won 1:48 into round 1 by taking the fighter down with a heel hook. This quick yet lethal display showed his refined skill and power in the ring.

Known by some as a harsh trainer, Lloyd Irvin Jr. pushes his students to the limit in order for them to reach new heights in their training and competitions. Pulling out the potential he saw in DJ Jackson, he has molded this now Copa Podio champion into one of America’s greatest Jiu Jitsu warriors.

​The Results

This year’s tournament was an outstanding display of the tactical approach and raw power contestants possess. Each participant put on a spectacular display, but watching DJ come out on top time and time again was astonishing, to say the least.

In case you missed any of the action, here is how the tournament played out.

  • ​Match 1: DJ took on Tommy Langakar, defeating him with more points.
  • Match 2: Felipe Andrew defeated Hugo Marques via botinha
  • Match 3: DJ won by 2 advantage against Kywan Garcie
  • Match 4: Felipe Andrew defeated Tommy Langaker by triangle
  • Match 5: DJ took down Felipe by 2 advantage
  • Match 6: Hugo Marques defeated Kywan Gracie by a full 5 points
  • Match 7: DJ was now up against Hugo Marques, defeating him by 4-2 points
  • Match 8: Tommy Langakar took out Kywan Gracie with a cross choke
  • Match 9: Tommy was up against Hugo Marques again, defeating his opponent by a 4-2 advantage
  • Semi-Finals: DJ defeated Gustavo Braguinha by advantage while Felipe took out William Davis with a foot lock
  • Final: DJ faced off against in Felipe in a furious showdown for the title, winning against his well matched opponent by advantage
  • Third Place Match: Gustavo Braguinha defeated William Dias, claiming the bronze​

Be sure to watch the final match and see DJ’s expertise in full glory. It could be a great bonding time with your son. Who knows, maybe you’ll spark his desire to enter the Jiu Jitsu world.

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