Best Brazilian MMA Prospect by Division
Other than the United States, Brazil may have the most talent in terms of MMA fighters in the world. That is especially true when it comes to prospects.
Brazil is home to champions such as Jose Aldo, Anderson Silva and Junior dos Santos. Further than that, they also have some of the top contenders in all eight divisions.
Here are the best prospects by division from Brazil.
Below are the previous installments in this series.
Flyweight: John Lineker
Many will consider Jussier da Silva a prospect, but don't be fooled. Despite his loss to John Dodson, he is still a top flyweight. Enter the best Brazilan flyweight, John Lineker.
Lineker is a big flyweight with a solid finish rate (eight knockouts, three submissions). He owns wins over notables Iliarde Santos and Wagner Campos to prove his legitimacy.
Lineker has Yasuhiro Urushitani in his next bout, in China. It is a chance to erase his UFC debut loss to Louis Gaudinot.
Runners-up: Jose Maria Tome and Bruno Menezes
Bantamweight: Raphael Assuncao
UFC veteran Raphael Assuncao is often overlooked, but he shouldn't be. He is a great bantamweight fighter who can beat anyone on any given night.
An owner of nine submissions and three knockouts, Assuncao has improved greatly in his striking since getting knocked out by Erik Koch. He is currently on a two-fight winning streak, grabbing a decision over Johnny Eduardo and a knockout over Issei Tamura.
Look for Assuncao to make a run up the ladder in his next couple fights. He is extremely underrated, and has the potential to be a top guy in the division.
Runners-up: Luis Alberto Nogueira and Marcos Galvao
Featherweight: Charles Oliveira
Record: 16-3 (1 NC)
Although many consider Hacran Dias a prospect, after seeing what he did to Yuri Alcantara, I think he is legit. Therefore, 22-year-old Charles Oliveira earns the top prospect nod here.
Oliveira's recent drop to featherweight was successful until his last fight. Oliveira has six knockouts and nine submissions, including finishes of Jonathan Brookins, Eric Wisely, Efrain Escudero and Darren Elkins.
Despite the slip-up against Cub Swanson recently, I expect Oliveira to break out of his prospect shell and become a player at 145. He is still young, so he could be a future champion.
Runners-up: Rony Jason and Diego Brandao
Lightweight: Edson Barboza
I debated back and forth if Edson Barboza should be considered a prospect, but following his knockout loss to Jamie Varner, I think it's safe to say he is still a work in progress.
Barboza is a lethal striker with seven career knockout wins. His UFC career has seen him beat the likes of Mike Lullo, Anthony Njokuani, Ross Pearson and Terry Etim.
Barboza is still a young guy that has the skills to be a top star at 155.
Runners-up: Ronys Torres and Adriano Martins
Welterweight: Hernani Perpetuo
Record: 13-3 (1 NC)
With Erick Silva becoming a certified stud, Hernani Perpetuo of Nova Uniao becomes the best Brazilan welterweight prospect.
Perpetuo is well rounded, with nine finishes to his name (five knockouts, four submissions). He has been impressing on the Brazilian circuit, with wins over Edilberto de Oliveira and Daniel Acacio.
Perpetuo may find his way to the UFC soon, or he could try out for the second season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil.
Runners-up: Fabricio Monteiro and Cassiano Ricardo de Freitas
Middleweight: Ronny Markes
Ronny Markes is a big, rugged middleweight who has the potential to make a serious run at 185 pounds.
He has finished nine opponents with his well-rounded game, as five have come from knockout and four by submission. His UFC victories have come by decision over the likes of Karlos Vemola (at light heavyweight) and Aaron Simpson.
The Nova Uniao product is dangerous in the all-around game and should get a step up in competition next time he fights.
Runners-up: Antonio Braga Neto and Bruno Santos
Light Heavyweight: Carlos Eduardo
Carlos Eduardo has flown under the Brazilian radar for a while now, but it is time for him to make the big show.
An owner of four knockouts and four submissions, Eduardo has beaten some tough talent in the Brazilian circuit. His most recent win was a knockout of fellow top prospect Marcos Rogerio de Lima.
One of his losses came in 2008 to Jon Jones. Eduardo took him three rounds, showing that he is a tough competitor in the cage.
Runners-up: Marcos Rogerio de Lima and Guto Inocente
Heavyweight: Thiago Santos
Record: 11-1 (1 NC)
Current Bellator participant Thiago Santos has a bright future in MMA, and is only 25 years of age.
Santos has finished seven opponents to date. He owns wins over notables Shamil Abdurahimov, Geronimo dos Santos and Neil Grove. That is a pretty good resume for a guy young in his career like he is.
Santos is currently in the semifinals for this season of Bellator's heavyweight tournament. Keep an eye on him to win, because he may end up facing fellow prospect from Russia Alexander Volkov in the finals.
Runners-up: Geronimo dos Santos and Elivelton Jose Ramos