Rafael Lovato Jr. was named OnTheMat.com’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Player of the Year in 2007 and has high hopes of repeating his success in BJJ competition again this year. We caught up with Lovato Jr. at the University of Jiu-Jitsu in San Diego, run by Saulo and Xande Ribeiro to discuss what he is doing to get ready for his competition, and how he is handling a recent cut over his eye that he received just after arrival in San Diego.
Here’s a quick excerpt of our conversation…
Caleb: Any names on the 2008 Pan-Ams competitors list that you are excited to compete against?
Rafael Lovato Jr.: Everybody! All the tough guys are coming. There are a few guys that have some injuries and are recovering from some stuff, but for the most part there is going to be a lot of tough guys. I will be in the pesado division, which has Roberto Tozi, Roberto Tuca Camargo, Rick Macauley, and some other good tough guys. I will be there for the absolute division as well. I know the absolute will be stacked. You know I am coming to win it all and am looking forward to it.
Lovato Jr. grew up in a martial arts home, as his father Rafael Lovato Sr. has been a martial arts instructor for many years. The academy that the father-son duo currently run in Bethany, Oklahoma just underwent a major expansion and has seen a surge in enrollment in the short time it has been open.
We will be reporting from the Pan-Ams this weekend! If you will be there make sure you come see us at our breakfast on Sunday.