Dan Faggella is a BJJ Academy Owner, No Gi Pan Am Champion at 130 pounds, and recognized BJJ Analyst and Writer. Dan writes or Jiu Jitsu Magazine, Jiu Jitsu Style, MMA Sports Mag, and more – find his 2013 Worlds Match Breakdowns over at www.MicroBJJ.com/championbreakdown/
When you have a strategy, for any sport, it’s vital to be smart in your approach and also utilize your skills and tools. Watching clips of Rafael Lovato Jr, I see all of this in one person. The tall black belt has earned his name by being a relentless guard passer who imposes himself upon his opponents.
Watching his match from Grapplers Quest where he squared off with Braden Masters, Lovato shows off how smart of a grappler he truly is, and makes sure to impress those of us watching in the process of getting the win.
In The Heat of Battle
Watching Lovato Jr in this match is a thing of beauty. For a man that is so aggressive and relentless, the fact he can stay so calm and collected is just as impressive as his guard passes are.
Early on in the match, Lovato found himself wearing Masters like a fanny pack around the mat! Showing his strength and power, Lovato had Braden right where he wanted him. Not keen on keeping the position, Masters dropped down for a leg…and this is when Lovato strikes!
The second his back hit the mat, Lovato began to pressure Masters. For a brief moment, Lovato floated above Masters until he decided to pounce. In the blink of an eye, Lovato became very top heavy and put Masters in an uncomfortable position – and this style carries across in every match….Another Grapplers Quest Match that comes to mind is the Rafael Lovato vs. Roger Narvaez match which I recently wrote an article about (featured on) ON THE MAT blog
Before you know it, Lovato worked his way right into side control. Braden began to work frantically to try and get out of this position, but with Lovato’s bicep pressing right into his jaw line, he had no chance.
Sensing his opponent was desperately looking to save himself, Rafael slipped right into full mount. After a failed triangle attempt, Lovato was in s-guard for a millisecond, before Masters able to escape.
This was to no avail, as Lovato was able to gain the upper hand and lock in a d’arce choke for the victory!
Using What You Got
When you have a tactical approach, it’s vital to know how to use the weapons that you have at your disposal. In this match, Lovato was able to utilize his length and power to dominate Masters for the entire match.
When Masters began to try and shrimp his way free, Lovato was able to kick his legs backwards which did two things: 1) Prevented Braden from clearing the legs, and 2) Made his hips much heavier, making it more difficult for Masters to move Rafael…Just like in his match vs. Nivaldo Oliveira – check it out at BJJLegends.com
A smart grappler is a very dangerous grappler…and guess what, Rafael is a dangerous grappler. When you have the skill set that Lovato has and you’re smart enough to utilize your body in a strategic manner, it spells trouble for your opposition.
Always top heavy, Rafael makes sure his opponents are in a difficult spot from the second they hit the mat. When he gets them there, he has no plans of letting them go free until his hand is raised in victory.