Rafael Lovato Jr. after winning a tournament in 2007
For those who were not present to see Rafael Lovato Jr.’s victory on Sunday at the 2008 Pan-Ams to win the black belt heavyweight division, you missed one of the matches of the year. As you will hear in an audio interview with Lovato Jr. in this coming Sunday’s episode of The FightWorks Podcast, the match against Roberto “Tussa” Alencar was as dramatic as they come, and included Lovato Jr. escaping a submission that appeared to signal his end early in the match.
Lovato Jr. just blogged about that triangle – which he sat in for almost four minutes – over on his blog at OnTheMat.com:
I had a lot of time to think about things while I was in that triangle. I know that I have good triangle defense and I believed that I could eventually escape, but it was very tight and there were a couple of moments when I was having a hard time breathing. I started thinking to myself that this was my test to make up for the previous day. If I would have tapped and lost, I would have felt horrible about my performance, but if I can make it out of this and still come back and win then I will show everyone my heart and determination. Well, it took a while but I felt his legs getting a little weaker and I was able to escape after nearly 4 minutes of being choked. Then it was the start of another match.
I think the statement “I had a lot of time to think about things while I was in that triangle” shows a lot about Lovato’s character. Being able to keep one’s cool during a submission attempt is something we all probably get better at the more time we spend training jiu-jitsu. However the thought alone of being stuck in one of Tussa’s triangles makes me want to freak out a little bit.
Make sure to check out this coming Sunday’s episode of the show to hear our conversation with Lovato Jr. after he caught his breath after he came from behind and claimed the gold medal.