Rafael Lovato is fully aware that he has maximize his time in the MMA industry. At the age of 32 years old and just one professional fight under his belt, Lovato has to double time before it’s too late.
Lovato got laid off for more than a year after his first and only MMA fight. This is why Lovato got really worried when his contender for the Legacy FC 46 event got removed from the card days before the said event.
“Things got real scary for me after I trained hard for weeks then have this come up and it be on your mind. All the sacrifice physically, emotionally, financially – I brought a lot of people in for my camp and did a lot of things to feel as special as possible. I got real scared (when my opponent pulled out),” Lovato said during a recent interview in MMAjunkie.
Good thing the Legacy FC matchmakers found a solution right away; they found a suitable opponent for the middleweight fighter in just 24 hours. Lovato, who has a record of 1-0, will now be going against Kevin Holland, who has a record of 3-1. The event will be aired on AXS TV and will cover the event on Allen Event Center in Allen, Texas.
Lovato admitted that with his time in the MMA industry running out and coming back from such a long break, not being able to fight on the card was not an option for him. When Holland was the one slated to be his opponent, Lovato said that he was very grateful that this happened. He also had prior knowledge of how Holland is inside the octagon, so he took this as some kind of advantage against his mixed martial arts opponent.
“Fortunately they were able to put it together, and I have a new opponent; his name is Kevin Holland. He’s a young, up-and-coming guy that’s 3-1 as a pro. He’s been very active this year, from Texas, and he actually trains with an old teammate of mine, Travis Lutter. I’m just really happy everything is back on so I can go out there and do this,” he said.
Even though Lovato is still on the process of starting out his mma career, he admitted that he’s been a lifelong martial artist all this time. He revealed that he got really interested in jiu jitsu among all the instructions at such a young age. Before he found his love for jiu jitsu though, he said that he already started training striking for starters.
He did very well in grappling circles. In fact, back in 2004, Lovato became the only second American-born martial arts artist to win the Brazilian National Jiu Jitsu Championships as a black belter. He joined Hall of Famer and UFC champ B.J. Penn with the distinction.
“Boxing became my first passion because that was the first thing I competed in as a child, but around 12 I started to turn to jiu-jitsu, and that became my new passion. I was so intrigued by it, and because I was a long, lengthy kid, playing guard became natural to me. … I feel like this is natural for me, and it’s part of my blood,” he said.
As for his upcoming fight with Holland, he admitted that he is excited of what the outcome will be, considering that his opponent is quite a challenge.
“I think his main strength is on the ground, but with that background, he’s not scared to mix it up and throw some strikes on the feet. It should be an entertaining fight. I’m excited,” he added.