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Modern Guards Beware… Rafael Lovato Jr. is Back!
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Modern Guards Beware… Rafael Lovato Jr. is Back!

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Pressure passing, headquarters, smash pass. There’s a name that’s synonymous with dominate guard passing procedures and it belongs to a man that’s been dismantling guards in a destructive fashion for many years. That man is Rafael Lovato Jr. Lovato’s BJJ career is storied to say the least and he’s an enormous contributor the BJJ games of practitioners all over the planet. When he first began sharing his techniques and creating instructional material, I gravitated toward it instantly, as I’m sure many others did as well. Lovato’s instruction is simple, easy to understand, and quite obviously effective. I remember getting a hold of those early instructionals and completely changing the way I approached passing in particular. There’s plenty of other goodies in the catalogue as well, but for some reason the passing portions were game changing for me. 

Check out this early video from the Curitiba International Open a few years back. This was after Lovato had undergone major surgery for a torn pectoral muscle. He is absolutely razor sharp in this collection of moments from the competition. The transitions, the passing, and the attacks are all on point, and culminated with an incredibly impressive 9/9 submission rate for the competition. Take a look at this.

 

Incredible stuff, right? If you give Lovato’s record a look, you’ll see he’s clashed with some of the all-time greats of the sport and came out victorious in many cases. He’s a true gem of the art and has added considerable value to the BJJ game as a whole. 

Lovato has accomplished a great deal in BJJ and has now turned his sights to MMA. As the reigning Bellator champion he boasts a clean record of 10-0 and now holds the middleweight title. A true martial artist, Lovato continues to succeed in all realms of combat sports and is making a big name for himself among the elite fighters of our time. 

It’s a little sad that we don’t get to see Lovato as much in the BJJ arena as we used to. He does compete from time to time in grappling and it’s always a pleasure to watch as he has not faltered a bit in his straight grappling pedigree. 

Learn the Lovato Style of Pressure Passing today! Click Learn More!

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When I heard the BJJ Fanatics was going to be releasing an updated version of Lovato’s work, I was very excited. The game has changed considerably since Lovato’s last instructional material was released and getting a look at how he’s modified and changed his approach is quite the thrilling prospect. Modern guards and the continued innovation of BJJ have no doubt sparked some interest in Lovato to make some addendums to his work and now we finally get to see the fruits of his labor with this new release Top Game Devastation. If that title doesn’t have you interested, I don’t what will. In the new release Lovato covers a myriad of different guard passing scenarios and gives us insight in to his new modifications. `

If you’re not familiar with the headquarters position it’s basically a passing posture, where previously Lovato would for example; put the guard player on their back, step up the middle with his lead leg, take some grips and settle in, more or less taking a squatted seat on the bottom players foot. From this position, he can unleash hell in the form of multiple passing onslaughts including the knee slice, smash pass, and various other methods of guard passing sorcery. The position itself has become widely used and well known but as we discussed before, the game is changing and the methods must evolve. 

So, what has this highly decorated American BJJ star been up to? IN this video Lovato gives a brief overview of some of the modifications he’s been making to the headquarters position. This will give you an idea of what to expect with the new content and a build some excitement! Check this out! 

 

With a brief demonstration on what the original headquarters position looked like, Lovato also discusses how far BJJ guard has evolved to deal with this position. This old school mode of positioning doesn’t quite lend itself as readily nowadays with eh amount of DLR hooks, lassos, and other road blocks. This can make it very difficult to maintain and implement the original headquarters. 

Notice here how instead of letting his leg ride in between his partner’s legs, Lovato is opting to sort of run his leg deeper into the middle and mirror his partners belt line. He then takes s cross collar grip (palm up) and pins the outside wrist to the mat using his hand. With his leg really not being connected to the floor, this loads up a tremendous amount of weight on to his partner and really keeps him in a zone where the modern guards aren’t able to take shape. 

A few brief movements detail how Lovato is able to use the pressure of the cross-collar grip in combination with his positioning to being cutting through the guard. He quickly shows a knee slice, a slick transition in to the mount, and of course the mighty smash pass.

This hand in the collar is a key player here, as Lovato passes, he’s quickly demonstrating several ways to employ the grip, so that as he passes, he can begin to immediately work towards a submission. This in itself is a great utility of this new take on the headquarters position. 

Playing this dilemma between either accepting a pass or getting submitted can work in our favor to a large degree. With relentless pressure and the threat of submissions at your doorstep, it’s got to be tough to make your next move and feel good about it. 

It seems Lovato has really worked to update his system. As he states, there was a need for more connection and he’s certainly showcased that here in this small segment. I’m really excited to begin working through the new material, as I’m sure you are as well! I hope you enjoy it! 

Pressure Passing and Top Game by Rafael Lovato

Pressure Passing and Top Game by Rafael Lovato is a 4-part masterpiece of guard destruction. Take the classic passes you have been doing for years and REVITALIZE it with Lovato’s help. Rafael is one of the most decorated American Jiu-Jitsu practitioners in history. Thankfully for us, his way of instruction might be his biggest accomplishment yet!

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