On April 30, former UFC title challenger Gilbert Burns took on former Bellator middleweight champion Rafael Lovato Jr. in the main event of a Who’s Number One event. What unfolded was an exciting match between two of jiu-jitsu’s top grapplers, with Burns earning a hard-fought decision on the strength of his guard passing and a critical back take late in the match. FloGrappling has now released the entire match for free; watch it below.
For about the first ten minutes of the match, Burns applied methodical pressure on Lovato, but it wasn’t until the final five minutes that Burns was able to pass Lovato’s guard and work his way to the back. Lovato escaped late, but was ultimately unable to launch a threatening attack.
A black belt gi and no-gi world champion, Gilbert Burns is in the thick of a successful MMA career. Burns made his UFC debut in 2014 and has been with the promotion ever since. In February 2021, Burns unsuccessfully challenged Kamaru Usman for the UFC welterweight title. Prior to his win over Lovato at Who’s Number One, Burns’ last grappling match was a submission loss to Craig Jones in 2019.
Rafael Lovato Jr. was an IBJJF black belt world champion in 2007 and a no-gi world champion in 2010. He began his professional MMA career in 2014 and quickly racked up victories on his way to a perfect 10-0 record and the Bellator MMA middleweight championship. Shortly after winning that title in 2019, though, Lovato was forced to retire from MMA due to health concerns. He is now refocusing his efforts on jiu-jitsu, competing in IBJJF tournaments and Fight to Win, with a recent notable win over Gabriel Almeida.