by Benjamin Bieker
Five Grappling hit Texas and the high level athletes came out in style. On The Mat (OTM) is a sponsor of the new competition that is setting a trend of trying to make a grand prix form of competitions. Instead of individual tournaments that lead to nothing, Five is having tournaments around the states that will lead to the winners competing against one another in Florida later this year. It will be the winners of each tournament going head to head in a battle of the greats for a the overall championship. This will be in the Gi and No-Gi so no one is excluded. There are already two big names that are set for the championships who competed in some custom OTM gear on the mats.
The first is Rafael Lovato Jr. who is currently one of the best all around black belts in active competition. He is a machine that has been tearing up the mats for many years but seems to just be reaching the top of his game by becoming the second American to win the Brazilian National Championship just a year ago. Now, he looks to add another title to his illustrious career when he hits the Five Grappling mats in Florida later this year. In Texas, he took out his field int he absolute division and finished the final with a submission. Lovato is based near the competition so there was no doubt that he would bring some of his students along for the ride.
Justin Rader is a Lovato black belt who has slowly been making a name for himself too. He took it to the competition in the Lovato team rash guard first seen at the ADCC championships earlier this year and in a pair of custom shorts made by none other than OTM and Built To Fight (BTF). He of course comes from a wrestling background so No-Gi is his game of choice, but his game is all about the finish. In the final, he was up nearly over twenty points, but that did not stop him from continually going for the finish. He ended up submitting his opponent with less than a minute left securing himself a win. He will bring that tenacity and custom gear to Florida later this year.
OTM and BTF have been pushing the field of custom gear further than almost all other companies in the market. Not only are they promoting it through top shelf competitors like Rafael Lovato Jr. and Justin Rader, but they are are also marketed to the up and coming and everyday training grapplers. So, do not think because you don’t have a ton of titles back home that you cannot get quality custom gear to train in or compete in as well. Look up OTM and BTF before you going anywhere else, because the best is always the best no matter who else you try out first.