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VERBAL TAP (Episode 89) with Rafael Lovato Jr.

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VERBAL TAP (Episode 89) with Rafael Lovato Jr.

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Raf's Recollection | We always seem to catch Rafael Lovato Jr. [28:06] at incredible junctures in his career.

Our first conversation with Lovato took place a little over a year ago (Episode 24; yeesh, time really flies), just shortly after he became the first non-Brazilian to win the Absolute division at the Brasileiro.  Since then, we've had the good fortune of running into him several times around the jiu-jitsu circuit and were even granted the opportunity to cover one of his awesome seminars out in Vegas a couple of months ago.

Always polite, willing to give us a few moments of his time, and extremely supportive of our crazy dog and pony show we call a podcast, Lovato has been one of the biggest champions of our show (and a good friend to us both on-and-off air).

Which is why when we heard a rumor that our pal would be making his way into the world of Mixed Martial Arts, we knew we needed to hear directly from the source about this new major milestone in his fighting career.

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 4.55.38 AMOn September 26th, we get the opportunity to see Rafael compete in the Legacy FC cage (alongside his supremely talented BJJ phenom, Justin Rader, who will also be fighting at the Hard Rock Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma that night).  For some, this is a chance to see how a storied BJJ competitor, known for his aggression and exciting finishes, fares in the world of MMA.

But for Rafael this fight isn't just the culmination of a six week training camp.  It's the chance to test a lifetime's worth of work as a martial artist in an entirely different way.

Just because Rafael is best known for his incredible work as a BJJ competitor, doesn't mean he's ignored other fighting disciplines all these years.  Unlike other BJJ practitioners who make the transition to MMA, the integration of other disciplines is something that was instilled into him at an early age (and has been maintained in-between BJJ sessions at his own gym for some time).  Now Lovato has an avenue to show us another dimension or two of his MMA game.

And it's a challenge that is reinvigorating him.

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 5.04.47 AMOn this week's podcast, Rafael speaks candidly about his training regimen, his expectations, and the difficulty of putting away the gi to concentrate on his stand up game.  We hear more about the impressive array of talent coming to help him get ready for his fight and even get to hear Rafael's thoughts about the most recent Metamoris card.

Two weeks out from fight night, there are certainly more questions than there are certainties on how it will all go down (how will Lovato transition to the cage?  what kind of game will he bring to the table on fight night?  what if the fight never goes to the ground?).  And yet, despite the uncertainty, there is one thing you can take to the bank:

Win or lose, we got his back.

Screen Shot 2014-07-12 at 4.14.41 AMWith far and few athletes really carrying the banner of jiu-jitsu in the world of MMA, we root for a guy who has consistently given his all on the mats.  Who has inspired others to play an aggressive game and make history every time they go out to compete.  And, perhaps most importantly, we root for the guy who has a conviction to represent the jiu-jitsu community when he enters that cage.

For all those reasons (and so much more), we are eagerly anticipating this fight.

Check his appearance out on the podcast and hit us up on our social media to let us know what you think!

Facebook: /VerbalTapCast

Twitter: @VerbalTapCast

Instagram: @VerbalTapCast

Vine: @VerbalTapCast

But Wait, There's More!

Oh yeah, in case you haven't been keeping up with us on the YouTube, check out our latest installment of our BJJ panel talk show, Around the Mat.  On our latest episode we breakdown the match between Kit Dale and Garry Tonon (complete with exclusive footage from the event).  Let us know what you think!

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Also, if for some reason you don't see our Buzzsprout player embedded up above, you can also listen to this week's episode of our podcast right here on Stitcher.

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VERBAL TAP (Episode 22) with Adam Cella

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VERBAL TAP (Episode 22) with Adam Cella

NOTE: For whatever reason the Skype/Podcast Editing Gods were against us this week, so be sure to listen to this Podcast on your headphones.  And be forewarned the transitions may be a little loud. 

Kevin's Description: Raf and Kevin celebrate Cinco De Mayo with Professional Fighter Adam Cella from The Ultimate Fighter Season 17! They also talk a little Jon Jones, UFC 159 Payouts, Tito Ortiz vs. Jon Jones, Anderson Silva vs. Jon Jones, and finally end with your questions from twitter! Visit VerbalTapCast.com right now and get daily MMA coverage!

Raf’s Recollection : The first thing that strikes you about Adam Cella (aside from those dashing baby blues) is the fact that the man tells a mean story.

There's an inherent politeness to the timber of his voice that makes the punchlines to his stories both hilarious and friendly at the same time.

That's a rare gift.  So that even when he's having a little bit of fun at the expense of his close friends from the show, it's never mean spirited.  It's similar to that of a little brother playfully ribbing their older brothers—and really makes it easy to see why he was so popular within the house.

On the latest podcast, we get Cella to open up about some of the lighter moments in The Ultimate Fighter—including a few choice gems about roommates, cut scenes from the house, and maybe even an impression of a certain fellow cast member who may or may not have celebrated their 30th birthday this weekend (we apologize in advance Mr. The Menace; Happy Birthday!).

Among some of the other topics we touch upon with Mr. Cella in this interview: which current UFC fighter is afraid of spiders, what the future holds in store for the TUF vet, and what does Cella have to say to all of those who thought Jon Jones let him tap him out with this guillotine.

We hope you'll join us for some fun on the podcast and then drop us a note in our comment section.  And after that shoot our friend Mr. Cella a nice note over on his Twitter at (@AdamCellaMMA) to let him know what you thought!

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VERBAL TAP (Episode 21): UFC 159 Review with Mike Jasper

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VERBAL TAP (Episode 21): UFC 159 Review with Mike Jasper

Kevin's Description: The guys argue about the most exciting moment of UFC 159, talk a little about the new song for GSP, then Mike Jasper stops by to keep the show from completely derailing. Listen in, and leave a comment telling us your thoughts on UFC 159!

Raf’s Recollection : Sometimes it is a small world after all.  As we started booking fighters to come appear on the show, I had a friend (the incomparable Melissa Benassi) offer to help us reach out to one of the folks who fought in the premiere episode of this season's Ultimate Fighter.

And even though the multi-talented, Mike Jasper, didn't make it into the TUF house (he lost in the first round to Collin Hart), he hasn't missed a beat in his still undefeated career as a professional fighter (the loss to Hart is tallied as an exhibition).

In addition to being impervious to Raiders jokes, Jasper was very candid about the behind the scenes nature of The Ultimate Fighter production.  And, believe us folks, there's a lot of stuff that you don't see on TV.  The UFC doesn't just pick 32 guys and then have them magically show up.  Jasper tells us his side of the story and, if you've ever wondered how it all comes together, this interview is a must-listen.

But that's not all.  If you act now, you'll also get to hear a little bit about the man, the myth, the legend: Bas Rutten.

Yes, this Bas Rutten.

Jasper happens to train out of Rutten's gym (MMA Elite) and talks a little bit about the way Mr. Rutten runs the gym.

So give it a listen to the podcast that we're dedicating to Melissa Benassi for making this very special episode happen.  You can check out Jasper's fight right here.

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