Byron Lovvorn and Professor Juan Guevara own and operate The Kakuto Challenge tournament. The biggest sub-only tournament in the southeast United States. They talk about their vision, backgrounds and why submission only is a great option for competitors! Click “Read More” for show notes!


  • How the Kakuto Challenge started
  • How Ryan and Professor Juan met
  • The early MMA and BJJ scene in Atlanta
  • Professor Juan reminisces on when Ryan was a young punk in the academy
  • The old school mentality
  • Making a tournament better over time
  • The downside of EBI rules
  • The big names that Kakuto has launched and hosted
  • How Kakuto has given extra spotlight to women’s Jiu-Jitsu
  • Michelle Nicolini
  • Highlights of Kakuto’s women’s division
  • The difference between men’s and women’s Jiu-Jitsu
  • Ruben Alvarez
  • How sub-only rules eliminate ref bias completely
  • The struggle of launching a tournament / Being fueled by passion
  • Karen’s involvement on the design side of Kakuto
  • The importance of upholding the value of rank, even if you lose a student over it
  • The importance of a balanced game
  • Building a tournament while working full time jobs
  • Surrounding yourself with the right people
  • The value of patience in the tournament business
  • Another one of Ryan’s security stories
  • Using technology to bracket a tournament
  • Daniel O’Brien
  • Why Kakuto no longer offers kids divisions
  • Eddie Bravo’s contributions and support of Kakuto