Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Team History, Fighter Stats, Biographies and News

Rafael Lovato Jr

Rafael Lovato Junior is a grappler who made history twice in the sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, first after by being the first non Brazilian to win the Brazilian National Championship (also known as the “Brasileiro”) in BJJ’s black belt division, he would later rewrite is name in the tournament’s history by winning the open weight division for the first time also (2013). Rafael Lovato Jr. was also the 2nd American to win the World Championship in the black belt division.

Rafael Lovato Jr Jiu Jitsu

Full Name: Rafael Lovato Junior

Nickname: n/a

Lineage: Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie Sr. > Carlos Gracie Junior > Carlos Machado > Rafael Lovato Jr

Main Titles:

  • World Champion (2007);
  • World NoGi Champion (2010);
  • Brazilian National Champion (2007, 2013 absolute);
  • Pan American Champion (2008, 2007);
  • European Champion (2007);
  • Professional Submission League X-Mission Champion (2006);
  • Grappler’s Quest West Advanced No-Gi Champion (2005);
  • ADCC World Submission Wrestling Championships Quarterfinalist (2007)

Weight Division: Pesado (Heavyweight) 94kg-207lbs

Favourite Position/Technique: Both Guard & Passing.

Team/Association: Gracie Humaitá/University of Jiu Jitsu

Rafael Lovato Jr Biography

Rafael Lovato was born on the 25th of June of 1983 in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States of America, though he moved to Oklahoma City when he was 8 years of age. Rafael’s father was an incredible Martial Artist which made young Rafael’s contact with combat sports inevitable. Still has a child Lovato Junior got involved with boxing (his first true love by his own admission) and later with Jeet Kwon Do. When Rafael was 13 he started his tuition in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu through his father who was taking classes in Dallas from Carlos Machado. Lovato senior would travel to the Texan city once a week to have private classes with Machado and then practice what he learned with his son, as he grew, Rafael Junior started joining his father on the trips to Dallas.

When Rafael got to brown belt, he was already considered one of the toughest American competitors in the BJJ scene, and a hot prospect for the future. Lovato’s relationship with Saulo Ribeiro started around that time, when Rafael was 19 years of age. It was 2003 and Rafael had reached the final of the Arnold Invitational against Saulo Ribeiro, the two fought and in the end of the fight Saulo invited Rafael to come and train with him in Brazil. Rafael accepted the invitation and later that year he visited Ribeiro. There the relationship between the two turned into a friendship and Lovato saw the potential of having a coach like Saulo beside him.

In the beginning of 2004 Rafael Lovato was invited to help Marc Laimon prepare for his fight with Ryron Gracie. The two spent 3 months as roomates in that training camp, creating a strong friendship that still stands today. After that camp Rafael received his black belt in Jiu Jitsu on August 2004, just after his 21st birthday. In 2005 Rafael moved for good to the Ribeiro brothers academy (Saulo and Alexandre) and made the most out of the new coaching, reaching the podium of most major tournaments he set foot on. In 2007 he achieved the greatest glory of them all, winning the World Championship.

In 2013 Rafael Lovato Junior won the Brazilian National Championship in the open weight division, being the first non Brazilian man to win the coveted trophy.

Banner photo taken by William Burkhardt of BJJ Pix.

Lovato Jr vs Kayron Gracie

This post is also available in: Portuguese (Brazil)

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