Bellator MMA is adding an elite name to its roster and it’s a BJJ world champion who already has a few MMA submission victories under his belt. Their latest addition is none other than Jiu-Jitsu star Rafael Lovato, Jr. who has signed with the organization to make his debut in its middleweight division.
Lovato, 33, currently holds a professional MMA record of 4-0. He made his debut in 2014, competing only once in 2015 and twice in 2016. All of his bouts have taken place in the Legacy Fighting Championship cage, the last of which was a successful middleweight title defense, which came in a first-round submission victory via an armbar, this past November.
The Carlos Machado-black belt is noteworthy in sport jiu-jitsu for his 2007 World Championship victory, whereby he became the third American to earn that designation. In 2013, he became the first non-Brazilian to win the Brazilian National Championship in both his own weight class as well as the open division.
The American will make his Bellator debut on March 3 when he takes on Wayman Carter at Bellator 174. Their bout will take place on the preliminary portion of the card while the event is set to be headlined by a women’s featherweight title bout between Marloes Coenen and Julia Budd. Bellator 174 takes place at the WinStar Casino in Thackerville, Okla.
Earlier this month Lovato Jr hinted something along these lines saying:
” As you all have been able to see by my posts lately, I am currently training for a MMA fight. I haven’t officially announced it yet, because the promotion has been working hard the last couple of weeks on securing an opponent for me & nothing has been made official. Well, everything is coming together now & my opponent will be secured this evening so I can go ahead & tell you where I will be fighting. On March 3rd, in my home state of #Oklahoma, I will be making my @bellatormma debut at #Bellator174!!! I will be fighting with my new student @thebigpygmy & my bro @kendallgrovemma that same night! I am very excited for this opportunity & am ready to put on a great performance! Tomorrow I will post more details. Thank you all for your support!”
His opponenet, Wayman Carter, who was previously on the Bellator roster for a short time in 2013, is 38 years old with a professional record of 6 wins and 4 losses. Three of his six victories were via submission (rear naked and guillotine chokes) but he has never been faced with an opponent of Lovato’s BJJ quality.
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