Rafael Lovato Jr.

USA

No longer Bellator champion
MiddleweightBellator
February 11, 2020
Lovato has relinquished his middleweight championship belt due to health issues, according to the official Bellator website.
ANALYSIS
Lovato took the belt from Gegard Mousasi at Bellator 223 last June, but has been on the sidelines since due to an abnormality that was found in his brain scans. Rather than risk his long-term health, Lovato will remain out of competition until he gets further clarity on these medical issues. The promotion is expected to announce its plans for the 185-pound belt in the coming days.
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No timetable for return
MiddleweightBellator
January 29, 2020
Lovato said Wednesday that he is "indefinitely on the sidelines" while dealing with a medical issue related to brain scans which revealed an abnormality, Luke Thomas of SiriusXM reports.
ANALYSIS
Lovato reiterated that he isn't retired and disclosed that his condition is potentially treatable, but it's difficult to estimate a timetable for the 36-year-old's possible return until more concrete information is disclosed. The reigning Bellator Middleweight Champion boasts a perfect 10-0 record.
Claims middleweight crown in London
MiddleweightBellator
June 24, 2019
Lovato defeated Gegard Mousasi via majority decision (47-47, 48-47, 48-47) to become the Bellator Middleweight Champion at Bellator 223 on Saturday.
ANALYSIS
Lovato came into this fight with a clear game plan that was focused on his wrestling, and that was most evident out of the gates, when he took down Mousasi and maintained top position in the first round. The second round was similar, but less successful, and having to defend constant takedown attempts clearly started to wear on Mousasi in the third. That was a pivotal frame for Mousasi, however, as he was able to reverse position and deploy heavy ground-and-pound, which was likely enough to take the round. Mousasi seemed to have the edge in the fourth round as well, but Lovato caught his wind in the final frame and spent much of the round controlling the back of Mousasi. While Lovato is getting into the fight game a little late at age-35, the BJJ practitioner now sports a perfect 10-0 record, with six of those victories coming under the Bellator banner. Considering Mousasi was a prized acquisition of Bellator after his departure from the UFC, it seems like a rematch will be in order. The close nature of this fight seems to only help that cause.
Shot at title rescheduled
MiddleweightBellator
March 29, 2019
Lovato will face Gegard Mousasi at Bellator London on June 22, Chamatkar Sandhu of ESPN.com reports.
ANALYSIS
This is the rescheduling of the Bellator 214 middleweight title fight that ultimately was canceled due to Mousasi suffering a back injury.
Removed from Bellator 214
MiddleweightBellator
January 10, 2019
Lovato has been removed from Bellator 214, Alexander K. Lee of MMAFighting.com reports.
ANALYSIS
The fight on January 26 has been removed after officials were not able to find a replacement for Gegard Mousasi, who reported as a scratch in December due to a back injury. The fight between Aaron Pico and Henry Corrales has now been promoted to the Bellator 214 co-headlining spot.
Out of opponent at Bellator 214
MiddleweightBellator
December 20, 2018
Lovato no longer has an opponent at Bellator 214 on Jan. 26 after Gegard Mousasi withdrew from the bout due to a back injury, Ariel Helwani of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
It's unclear if Lovato will remain on the card at this point. Lovato, who is 9-0 as a professional, is coming off a third-round win (via submission) over John Salter at Bellator 205 in September.