THACKERVILLE, Okla. –Bellator is offering American jiu-jitsu standout Rafael Lovato Jr. everything he needs.
Lovato Jr. (7-0 MMA, 3-0 BMMA), who scored a unanimous-decision victory over previously unbeaten middleweight and NCAA Division I All-American wrestler Chris Honeycutt (10-2 MMA, 6-2 BMMA) on Friday at Bellator 189, has been balancing his promising MMA career with top-level jiu-jitsu competitions.
The 34-year-old Carlos Machado black belt is a world-champion grappler, and he said Bellator is giving him the perfect schedule to balance MMA fights and jiu-jitsu competitions.
“I did six events this year – three (MMA) fights, three jiu-jitsu events – and it really went perfectly,” Lovato Jr., a former Legacy FC champion, told MMAjunkie after his Bellator 189 co-headliner, which aired on Spike from WinStar World Casino & Resort in Thackerville, Okla. ” … I feel like I ended the year perfectly, and I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve gotten so much better, and I’m going to be so much better for my next fight after the experience I gained tonight.”
Lovato Jr. said there’s “no doubt” he’s now within the top four or five of the Bellator middleweight division, which is currently ruled by champ Rafael Carvalho. Lovato Jr. mentioned John Salter, Ed Ruth and Chidi Njokuani as possible next opponents.
“There are a lot of options,” he said. “I feel like I’m there, and with one more quality victory over a great opponent, I feel like I should be worthy of a title shot very soon.”
Check out the full interview above.
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: After ending 2017 'perfectly,' Rafael Lovato Jr. 1 'quality victory' away from Bellator title shot