2022 IBJJF Worlds: Rafael Lovato Jr. and Xande Ribeiro retire from IBJJF competition

The 2022 IBJJF Worlds take place on June 2-5, live from the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, CA. This is the premier gi tournament, attracting the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu competitors in the world. Adult black belts will be competing on Saturday and Sunday. 

A pair of legendary jiu-jitsu competitors left their black belts on the mat at the 2022 Worlds. On Saturday, Rafael Lovato Jr. and his longtime coach Xande Ribeiro retired from IBJJF competition. While both have retired from gi competition, Lovato and Ribeiro are still qualified for the 2022 ADCC World Championships later this year.

Competing as the number-three seed in the ultra-heavy division, Lovato won his first-round match against Erberth Santos in a thriller.

In the quarterfinals, Lovato faced Pans and Brazilian Nationals champion Guilherme Augusto, losing a hard-fought match on points. Lovato laid his black belt on a the mat after the match, a symbolic gesture of his retirement from IBJJF competition.

Lovato won Worlds in 2007, making him just the third American citizen ever to capture a gi world title. He was also a two-time Pans and European Open champion, as well as a no-gi world champion.

Ribeiro competed in the heavyweight division as the 12 seed, and lost his first-round match-up against Harryson Pereira on points. Ribeiro broke down in tears as he laid his belt on the mat for the final time in front of an adoring crowd.

Ribeiro is one of the most accomplished Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners ever. He was a seven-time IBJJF world champion and a two-time ADCC champion. He retires from a black belt competition career that lasted over two decades.

How to watch: The 2022 Worlds take place on June 2-5 and will air live on FloGrappling (subscription required).

Ben Coate

Ben has been involved with grappling, whether through wrestling or Brazilian jiu-jitsu, essentially his entire life. After wrestling throughout his childhood, Ben found Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a young adult and quickly fell in love. He has been training for over ten years and currently holds the rank of brown belt, and remains involved in both the MMA and BJJ scene. Ben has been writing about combat sports since 2017. He has interviewed and profiled some of MMA's biggest stars, including multiple UFC champions.

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