One of the biggest Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) competitions took place this past week as the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) put on the globally famous BJJ competition the Worlds. On The Mat (OTM) was on hand in the form of their sponsored athletes. None other than one of the best grapplers in the world competed in the form of Rafael Lovato Jr. who took third in the Heavy division. That division consisted of over 30 competitors who are all legitimate black belts from all around the world. Just a few of the people that competed Andre Galvao from Atos, Dan Simmler from Renzo Gracie, Lucas Leite from Checkmat, Wagner Santos, and another Checkmat Representative in Jackson Souza.
Rafael Lovato did not have an easy path to his medal either. In the first round he took Simonelli Emiliano who hails from another land, but he was no match for the American bred Lovato who he was unable to even score a point on. Lovato punished him on his way to a clean sweep victory. In the next round., he took on Alexandro Souza who is a fellow Brazilian National Absolute champion, a title that Lovato holds as well. Souza hold his black belt from Crolin Gracie and is known for not training at a major academy. Lovato was able to come out ahead of the match and move on the the next round.
His next fight would prove to be one of his toughest as he took on the very young and talented Jackson Souza who was given his black belt last October from his trainer Ricardo Vieira. Souza and Lovato were evenly matched until the final minutes where Lovato was able to overcome Souza’s advantage points and become the first man to score in the match. Ultimately, he showed the heart of a champion making it to the semi-final round. Unfortunately, the semi-finals would be as far as Lovato would make it as he went up against Andre Galvao. These two met long ago all the way back in 2008 where galvao was able to submit Lovato with a bow and arrow choke. Then they had a long awaited rematch at Metamoris 2 where Galvao was able to win on points. Galvao would not get the submission this time, but he walked away the winner with a five point advantage.
Lovato won all of these matches on his way to bronze in his black signature series Lucky Gi which is a sister company to OTM. Also, he had the help of an excellent coaching staff with James Peopolo and Justin Radar helping out, and the man who gave him his black belt Xande Ribeiro on hand to give advice when needed. This is another notch in the 2014 competition year for Lovato after having won Five Grappling in Texas. OTM, lucky Gi, and all grappling fans around the world are looking forward to the next competition that Lovato gets himself into.