Rafael Lovato Jr performing the UFC 123 Submission of the Night

From Oklahoma Martial Artist Rafael Lovato Jr’s blog.

Less than two weeks ago was UFC 123 Rampage vs Machida, and if you watched it, you got to see Phil Davis, a.k.a “Mr. Wonderful”, earn another nickname, “The One Arm Bandit,” as he performed a submission never seen before in the UFC. It was a Kimura variation Phil used to submit Tim Boetsch, using only one arm. This earned Phil the prestigious Submission of the Night award and a $70,000 bonus. As it was happening I was immediately reminded of the very first time I had ever seen this submission, it was when I used it at the 2000 Pan-Ams, I was 16 years old! I had never been taught that variation to the Kimura, but I really loved the Kimura and it was already a big piece of my game (still is to this day). I attempted a normal Kimura and when the person was flexible/strong enough to resist and sit up, I controlled his wrist with the other hand to add some extra torque and then when I moved towards the north south position it changed the angle and forced him to tap. I did it all instinctively and it is funny because you can hear my buddy who was filming say “What the heck was that?”. That was my semifinal match and I went on to submit my finals opponent with an arm-bar. That tournament was an important turning point in my life. I had competed the year before at the Pan-Ams and Mundials as a juvenile and I lost my first match at both events. They were very close matches and I lost to the eventual champion, but I was very upset with myself. Going into the year 2000, I was very determined to have great performances at both events, which I did. First, I won the Pan-Ams, submitting two out of three opponents and then at the 2000 Mundials, I won two medals, a bronze in my weight class and a silver in the absolute, not bad for a kid from a small martial arts school in Oklahoma. I became the first American to medal in the juvenile division at the Mundials in Brazil and I am the only American to ever win two juvenile medals at the Mundials while they were held in Brazil.

The 2000 Pan-Ams is what really got my competition career going. I wanted to win that gold medal very bad and I worked hard to get it! You can see my intensity in the video. I never wanted to stop attacking and anytime there was a break, I was always jumping around to show my opponent I wasn’t tired. All the training and visualizing paid off, and for the first time I tasted victory at an international event. This is when I realized that I could go very far and make a name for myself in Jiu-Jitsu. Then as I watched BJ Penn win the Mundials that year in Brazil after I had eight matches in the juvenile division, I told myself that that was my dream and one day I was going to win as a Black Belt.

Here is the video of me performing the One Arm Kimura, at the 2000 Pan-Ams.

P.S. I am going to write another post about my 2000 Mundial experience very soon. In those eight matches I had, I faced off against guys like Vinicius “Pezao” Magalhaes, Augusto “Tanquinho” Mendes, Big Mac, & Ricardo “Demente” Abreu, it was a grueling tournament!