2018 has been a breakout year for Rafael Lovato Jr.
Prior to 2018, Lovato Jr was a name relegated to the periphery of the hardcore jiu jitsu fandom, While Lovato Jr has racked up a serious tally of medals in the gi and nogi world, it wasn’t until 2018 that the multiple time nogi world champion became a high profile figure in the world of mixed martial arts. Following two impressive submission victories in Bellator MMA, Lovato has earned himself a title shot against the ever dangerous Gegard Mousasi on January 26th, but that didn’t stop the Oklahoma native from returning to the mats on Saturday night in San Diego.
Even though his sights were set firmly on his Bellator match with Mousasi, Lovato Jr was handed an extremely tough opponent as he looked to defend his Light heavyweight F2W title. Josh Hinger, a black belt under Andre Galvao, was the man tasked with dethroning Lovato Jr, but despite a strong gogoplata attempt early, he was largely unable to neutralise the passing game of the Ribeiro black belt. With no submissions in regulation, the match went to the judges who awarded Lovato Jr the win.
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Had a lot of fun in a very tough match tonight! Big thanks to @f2wbjj for the opportunity to do what I love on a great stage & to the @hingerbjj for the awesome battle I did my best to try to get the finish, but my opponent was super tough & I’m getting too used to using ground n pound to set up my subs lol. Special thanks to my @ribeirojiujitsu brother @gustavodiasjj for being there for me tonight & the whole #6Blades & @unijjsd family for the love • Shoutout to my sponsors @wartribegear @onnit @studio540 @northsouthjiujitsu @resiliencecbd for the support. Also special thanks to @matrixgrappling @blake.rosholt & all my warriors back home at @lovatobjjmma for helping me be at my best everyday! • #TeamLovato #RibeiroJiuJitsu #LovatoJiuJitsu #6Blades #Guerreiro6Blades #RafaelLovatoJr #TrueMartialArtist
Lovato Jr will look to extend his unbeaten MMA record to 10-0 when he faces Gegard Mousasi for the Middleweight Title at Bellator 214 on January 26th.
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