Suffice it to say myself and Grappler`s Quest promoter Brian Cimins, who was also graciously playing referee that day, were stunned at the level of competitors we saw that day.SouthWest Submission Grappling ChallengeOkahoma City, OKAugust 20th, 2005
After years of seeing Raphael Lovato Jr. competing on the West Coast, on the East Coast, and even down in Brazil we finally decided to take the time to check him out on his home turf at the SouthWest Submission Challengeâ€¦
â€¦Well almost his home turf. Who knew Oklahoma had two major airports? Not me apparently, as I booked a flight into Tulsa, where as Rafael lives in Oklahoma City. Still Rafael was gracious enough to give me a ride to and fro the airport, about a two hour drive away.
Still Rafael Lovato Jr. (and Rafael Lovato Sr.) were playing host to SouthWest Submission Challenge, not competing in it, so it was an opportunity to see how good Oklahoma grapplers in general.
Suffice it to say myself and Grappler`s Quest promoter Brian Cimins, who was also graciously playing referee that day, were stunned at the level of competitors we saw that day. It stands to reason of course, that Oklahoma has a proud tradition of grappling from the outstanding wrestling programs that have around for years and years before jiu jitsu appeared, and that was evident all day long as competitors pushed the pace of the action and scored spectacular takedown after spectacular takedown all day long. Smooth jiujitsu was the order of day as well, as the impressive displays of skill did not end with the stand up action.
The tournament itself was split between Advanced and Beginner divisions and run on two mats which were active at all times. Rafael Lovato Sr. certainly runs a tight ship when it comes to running a tournament and he had competitors (and referees) moving all day, and everyone knew where they were supposed to be at all times. Coupled with the fact that most of the matches of the day ended in submission and the action was pretty much non stop.
The best match up of the day had to be between Lovato`s Justin Rader and state rival Team Titan`s Mike Jackson both of whom displayed superior skills in the their matches. When these two met seemingly the whole gym was there to cheer one competitor or the other on. Both displayed excellent stand up technique, ground skill and heart but Rader won the day with a choke. However, we`re looking forward to seeing both of these up and comers in the future.
The highlight of the day was to be the Absolute division, which had a $300 cash prize up for grabs. What wound up happening was that host team Lovato closed out the division with 10 competitors after they all won their respective matches, so placement was decided on order of seniority and Advanced Super heavyweight division winner Justin Jacobs was awarded first place.
Afterwards the Lovato`s showed some very gracious hospitality as they showed off some of Oklahoma`s sites, I got the chance to roll with Jr. and some of his students at their academy, which has a neat array of medieval armor and the like on display, and narrowly missed experiencing an actual tornado (stupid California tourist in me was actually hoping to see one). With the talent level displayed at the tournament, and the fun I had overall, you can bet OntheMat will definitely be back for the next edition of this tournament! See you then!
SouthWest Submission Grappling ChallengeFull Results
Children Lightweight1st Lauren Magdeleno – Vaghi2nd Pat Sharp – Lovato3rd Morgan Oathout – Lovato
Children Heavyweight1st Jeremy Taylor – USA Stars2nd Zac Huggins – Lovato3rd Wes Tranckino – Lovato
Men`s Beginner Roosterweight1st David Henderson – Renato Tavares2nd Craig Descateaux – Triton3rd Bethany McKee – Renato Tavares
Men`s Beginner Featherweight1st Brian Fleeman – Gracie Barra2nd Jon Combs – Lovato3rd Jared Rader – Lovato
Men`s Beginner Lightweight1st Fletcher Hoffman – Lovato2nd Connery Lawther – Lovato3rd Colin Pierce – Pittman
Men`s Beginner Middleweight1st Jaime Steichen – USA Stars2nd Ben Shriver – Lovato3rd Eric Goforth – Renato Tavares
Men`s Beginner Light-Heavyweight1st Brad Celestin – Gracie Barra2nd James Daniels – United Jiu-Jitsu3rd Brandon Peck – Lovato
Men`s Beginner Cruiserweight1st Story Gotti – Gracie Barra2nd Michael Parker – Renato Tavares3rd Scott Torrence – Apollo
Men`s Beginner Heavyweight1st Nathan Palma – Lovato2nd Jeremiah Hanks – Lovato3rd Ervin Miller – Lovato
Men`s Beginner Super-Heavyweight1st John Nash – Lovato2nd Jeremy Moore – Gracie Barra3rd Lars Bieberstein – Academy of Martial Arts
Men`s Advanced Featherweight1st Jason Sampson – Lovato2nd Brandon Mullins – Pittman3rd Isaac Magdeleno – Renato Tavares
Men`s Advanced Lightweight1st Robert Harper – Lovato2nd Justin Rader – Lovato3rd Joe Wilk – Gracie Barra
Men`s Advanced Middleweight1st Gabe Campbell – Lovato2nd Jose Baeza – Lovato3rd Chase Stalcup – Renato Tavares
Men`s Advanced Light-Heavyweight1st Logan Gulick – Lovato2nd Johnny Nimmo – USA Stars3rd David Durnill – Gracie Barra
Men`s Advanced Cruiserweight1st Piet Wilhelm – Triton2nd Jordan Phillips – Pittman
Men`s Advanced Heavyweight1st Russ Schwettmann – Lovato2nd Brian Beard – Texas Self-Defense3rd Ruben Zamarron – Academy of Martial Arts
Men`s Advanced Super-Heavyweight1st Justin Jacobs – Lovato2nd Kyle Rogers – Tulsa Judo3rd Jason Howell – Academy of Martial Arts
Men`s Absolute1st Justin Jacobs2nd Justin Rader3rd Logan Gulick
Team Points were awarded as follows: Beginner Divisions – 1st – 5 points 2nd – 3 points 3rd – 1 points Advanced Divisions – 1st – 7 points 2nd – 5 points 3rd – 3points
Teams1st Lovato`s BJJ Oklahoma City – 82 points2nd Gracie Barra Wichita, Kansas – 24 points3rd Renato Tavares Norman, Oklahoma – 16 points