Luck Gi sponsored fighter Rafael Lovato Junior took gold at this weekend's Houston International Open in the Ultra-Heavy weight division(221.0+). In the finals he took on Bruno Bastos Cruz from the Nova Uniao Texas academy. Bruno and Rafael had faced each other before in a no-gi match at an UFC fan Expo Superfight. The match went the whole time limit where Lovato pulled off the win. Also, a lot of other big names came to this event as a competitors saw this as a warm up to the upcoming 2013 competition season.
But before the finals at the Houston Open Lovato had to face off with Bruno's brother Ricardo Cruz. In the match, after some movement on the feet Ricardo tried to pull butterfly guard, but Lovato stayed heavy. Lovato tried to pass, but he was stuck with one leg in Cruz's guard as he sat on top of him. They eventually moved back to the feet where they were restarted in the center, and the Lovato attempted to pull his own guard but had to stay in open guard. As Cruz tried to pass, Lovato tried to roll to his back, an as the fighters scrambled lovato was able to reverse and get back on top. Once restarted in the center of the mat, Lovato worked to pass Cruz's guard, and it seemed like it was the beginning of the match again as Lovato was stuck with one foot in Cruz's guard. It did not matter though as Lovato was able to go on and win the match on points.
With the win Lovato moved to the finals to face Ricardo's brother. Lovato was not able to finish, and the match ended like theirs a few years back. Cruz was not able to gain redemption, and he lost the match by decision. Lovato picked up the first win on the year which will give him some confidence heading into the Pan Ams if he decides to compete. The next bigger competition would be the San Fran open which is going to take place on February 24th, and check back here for the results in any big name BJJ practitioners choose to compete.