Rafael Lovato Jr. after winning a tournament in 2007
The FightWorks Podcast: How’s training going for your Metamoris Pro match against Kayron Gracie?
Rafael Lovato Jr.: I’ve done all my training here in Oklahoma City with my students. I’m fortunate to have been here a long time and have a lot of high level students with me. I have three black belts, a lot of browns, purples, and really good blues. Basically my preparation’s been a lot of conditioning. Thanks to my coach Luke Tyree he’s got me in incredible shape. On the mat I was doing a lot of rotation sparring where I’d have a fresh person come on me every five minutes. We’d do that for twenty minutes straight, take a one minute break, do another twenty minutes, take a two minute break. So I was going long, long rounds with fresh guys pushing me a lot physically and mentally. We’d start from different positions, and stuff like that because in a twenty minute match there’s room for a lot of stuff to happen, whereas in the 10 minute matches with advantages and stuff, hardly anything happens and I want to make sure I’m ready. I’ve had a lot of fun training for this event because I’m not worried about advantages, getting swept, making sure I’m scoring points and that sort of thing. I’m working on developing positions from my own game and focusing on the submission from any and every angle. I feel like it’s help me open up what I like to do, how I like to play, and even take that a step further and take advantage of that with some new positions I’ve been working.
The FightWorks Podcast: So this event will give you an opportunity to show off your own jiu-jitsu a little more?
Rafael Lovato Jr.: Yeah, one hundred percent. It’s not that you’re not seeing me when I’m out there in IBJJF but you gotta make sure you’re scoring in those events and that you’re not giving up points and advantages because the smallest thing can cost you with those rules, and guys are really good at playing within those rules. Losing an advantage in the first minute can cost you the whole match. With this I’m so excited to open my game up and not even have to think about a referee standing over me.
Rafael Lovato Jr. on top of his opponent Rafael Lovato Jr. on top of Nivaldo de Oliveira Lima in 2009.
The FightWorks Podcast: What do you think made them choose Kayron Gracie as your opponent?
Rafael Lovato Jr.: We were suypposed to face each other earlier in the year at the Jiu-Jitsu Expo. We have similar builds; we’re both long and lanky. I think it’s a great style match up. He’s aggressive, he’s a submission hunter and so am I so it’ll be an exciting match up. I think it’s mostly because it’s a match that was supposed to happen and didn’t. We’ve never faced each other, and it’s a match the fans have been wanting to see.
The FightWorks Podcast: Is twenty minutes long enough for a submission only match? Should there be no time limits? Or is it too early to know that yet?
Rafael Lovato Jr.: It would seem like it’s better to go with no time limit instead of having a draw after 20 minutes. . . We’ll see what happens. Maybe 30 minutes would’ve been better but on the other hands you don’t want to watch a 30 minute boring match. I don’t think that’s going to happen in the 20 minute matches this weekend, I don’t think any of them are going to be boring but it’s something to think about. Maybe this is just a trial thing for [Metamoris] and they’ll adjust the rules in the next one.
The FightWorks Podcast: What match are you most excited about as a spectator to watch?
Rafael Lovato Jr.: Honestly, all of them, as every jiu-jitsu fan is, I’m sure. I told them to put me first, that I didn’t care, just so I can sit back and watch! I’m of course very excited to be competing alongside my longtime training partner and brother in battle Xande Ribeiro. Very excited that he got on the card. That’s going to be a sick match up against Dean [Lister]. But of course, the main event [between Roger Gracie and Buchecha] is going to be fireworks for sure.
The FightWorks Podcast: Any prediction for how your match will go down against Kayron?
Rafael Lovato Jr.: You know, it’s going to be interesting with these rules. It’s my first time with these rules, and his first time. Let’s see what happens. I live by the sword and die by the sword. There’s going to be a submission and I’m confident that it’s going to be my arm that will be raised at the end.
The FightWorks Podcast: Did you get a chance to see any of the International Masters and Seniors last weekend, and if so, any thoughts?
Rafael Lovato Jr.: I did not. I wish I could’ve. I had a purple belt become masters world champion. I had a couple students do very well, including one that won a couple medals at blue belt. I didn’t get a chance to watch the matches but I heard they were awesome. I was really proud of my instructors Saulo and Xande [Ribeiro] for putting on a show out there.
The FightWorks Podcast: Anything else, Rafael?
Rafael Lovato Jr.: I would like to urge all the fans to go to my site lovatojr.com and they’ll see a post about my countdown video and a contest. I’m hosting a contest for people to pick the winners at Metamoris. The top five predictors will win some awesome prizes including a free membership to my online coaching program ultimatepressurepassingsystem.com.
Want a blast from the past? Check out our interview from 2008 with Rafael Lovato Jr. on our youtube channel!
Rafael Lovato Jr fending off the pass from the mighty Big Mac at the 2007 Mundials.