[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VDZXnFdEmw&w=560&h=315]
Welcome to another episode of “It’s Science”. We are going to continue our 2013 season with a quick look at Rafael Lovato Jr.
Abstract: All matches observed of Rafael Lovato Junior used in this small sample occurred at IBJJF events, in his weight division, and between 2009-2013. Only techniques, occurrences, and outcomes that were recorded are displayed in the data below (i.e. if no butterfly sweeps occurred, there will not be a representation of that in the sample data). Matches were selected at random based on available matches via YouTube – selected using a random generator from 20 total available IBJJF matches matches between 2009-2013. This is a limited sample – but given the estimated amount of matches in this time period – it is well above the percentage necessary to create a scientifically validated trend sampling.
So what did we learn?: Rafael Lovato Jr. is a tale of two different approaches. One trend that we have noticed when doing these “It’s Science” studies is that most players have a very defined game. There are usually a small set of techniques that tend to crop up over and over again. In the case of Lovato, he both reinforces and bucks that trend. From his guard,  Rafael Lovato showed greater variance in techniques that were executed than any other player we’ve seen. He applied multiple types of guards and sweeps successfully. He never stuck with a particular guard that wasn’t yielding positive results very long before he would switch to another variation. However, when passing the guard he executed the direct opposite strategy. All of his passes in this small sample occurred from the half guard, and from the half-guard only 2 different passes were used. The other real difference we noticed in Lovato’s game – from others – was his lack of attention to first points. His opponents pulled guard on him in over 2/3 of his matches, and often he was not the first to score (only scored first in 60% of matches won). This did not largely effect his results. As out studies have shown over and over again, most of the time scoring first directly correlates with winning (Kron Gracie was the only outlier). Rafael Lovato seems to be heading in the same direction. It will be interesting to see how this trend develops.

Notable Stats:

  • 6 of 10 sweeps observed came from different positions
  • He submitted his opponent in 40% of his wins
  • 100% of his submissions occurred from mount
  • His opponent pulled guard on him in 69% of matches
  • 57% of his passes ended in mount, rather than side-control
  • His average match length was 8.50 minutes
  • Scored first in 60% of matches
Top Competitor **Rafael Lovato Jr.**
Successes Guard Versatility
Avoided… Pulling Guard
Top Technique 1 Half-Guard Pass To Mount
Top Technique 2 Collar Chokes From Mount
Number of Matches Observed 13
Submits Opponent 4
Wins by Points 6
Minutes of footage watched 113
Scores First 6
Total Wins 10
Total Loses 3
Sweeps (Position)
De la Riva Sweeps 1
Spider Sweeps 2
Closed Guard 2
X-Guard 3
Butterfly 1
Sit-up Guard 1
Sweeps (Type)
X-Guard 3
Tomanagi 2
Scissor 1
Sit-up and overtake opponent 1
Omoplata sweep 2
Collar Drag/Arm Drag 1
Total Sweeps 10
Passes (Position)
Half-Guard 7
Passes (Type)
knee through 3
knee up, from hg to mount 4
Total Passes 7
Taking the Back
Guard 1
Total Back-Takes 1
Submissions (Position)
Mount 4
Submissions (Type)
collar choke  top 2
neck choke (Guilitine, Brabo, etc.) 1
triangle 1
Total Subs 4
Start of Match
Pulls guard 2
Executes A Throw 1
Pulled on by opponent 9
Taken down 1