Brazil’s Top Ten MMA Prospects 2022

Brazil been a major cornerstone for Mix Martial Arts since the early days with Gracie Family creating the UFC, Vale Tudo promotion. The Legends of the sport from Royce Gracie, Wanderlei Silva, Vitor Belfort, Anderson Silva, Shogun Rua, Murilo Bustamante. List can go on for a while all the pioneers of Mix Martial Arts that made a huge impact for MMA.

List I’ve created might have the next great Brazilian MMA fighters to become UFC, Bellator, One Championship, PFL Champions. Continuing the next generation of Brazil MMA.

Criteria for the top ten prospect rankings system is the prospects can’t fight for UFC, Bellator, One Championship or Professional Fighters League.

1. Ismael Bonfim Lightweight

Brazil’s best prospect in 2022 is making his name known fighting for Legacy Fighting Alliance. One of the best fighters on the LFA roster right now.

Ismael Bonfim biggest wins are fighting for Legacy Fighting Alliance against TWO of the BEST Brazilian prospects in Andrey Augusto and Rangel de Sa.

Bonfim not the most muscled, Shredded Lightweight but can compete with the best of them. Controlling the distance and pace.

Walking down Andrey Augusto, Picking his shots. Second round Augusto would have Ismael on the ground but because of Ismael’s strength he’d get up quickly.

Rangel De Sa fight was impressive as his opponent was fighting like Edson Barboza for three rounds but Bonfim countered most of his punches and fast leg kicks. Doing a solid job of avoiding the fast kicks or defending them.

Rangel would strike few times but Bonfim strike right back like nothin phased him. More powerful effective strikes.

Bonfim is a very good fighter, Future LFA Lightweight Champion. Love to see him fight Aaron McKenzie. (Current LFA Lightweight Champion)

Strengths

  • Pushing pace
  • Good inside the pocket
  • Nasty uppercut & jabs
  • Solid grappling defense against the cage
  • Hard to takedown or move on ground because he’s so strong
  • Counter striking is underrated
  • Ability to absorb punches
  • Striking defense

Needs to Improve/ Add

  • Creative combinations
  • Faster punching
  • Add leg kicks
  • Add ground & pound to his arsenal he’s strong he able to control
  • Head movement

2. Wellington Prado Featherweight

Wellington Prado is a young 25 year old Featherweight assassin. Little similar to Max Holloway. Current fighting for the Standout Fighting Tournament for the Brazilian Promotion.

Fighting against Brazilian regional fighters with winning records. 12-2 record right now defeating fighters with slick punching combinations , Knocking down his opponent, Ground & Pound knockout in the first round.

Prado another level right now will only get better. Boxing is crisp, Taking advantage of his long reach to strike opponents.

Strengths

  • Boxing his best asset
  • Crisp output with accurate strikes
  • Grappling against the cage
  • Wrestling Defense
  • Controls pace and range of fight

Needs to Fix

  • More leg kicks
  • Push faster, Add More Volume
  • More opening stance

Wellington Prado must fight for LFA, Titan FC, Brave CF, Eagle FC. Get his name out there winning bigger titles.

3. João Elias Flyweight

#1 Brazilian Flyweight is a skilled all-around talent I’m paying attention to closely. Honestly reminds me of Miguel Torres (Former WEC Bantamweight Champion). Similar fighting style on the striking and the Jiu-Jitsu moves they do submitting there opponent.

João is a stocky Flyweight in the prime of his career at 27 years old, Current Brazilian Fight Series Flyweight Champion defeating Brazilian flyweights with ease right now.

Submitting opponents in the first round as there no match for Elias.

Strengths

  • Jiu- Jitsu offensive game hunting for submissions
  • Jiu-Jitsu transition off his back to top mount some I’ve seen were beautiful
  • Easily takedown his opponents PERFECT timing
  • Powerful/Strong fighter

Needs to Improve

  • Be careful on dangerous exchanges
  • More creative combinations but simple strikes
  • Push the pace more
  • More output
  • Take advantage of his power

Joao Elias can sign anywhere he wants, Curious to see what happens in 2022.

4. Fernando Laurenço Bantamweight

#1 Brazil Bantamweight been red hot lately since 2018 on a 9 fight winning streak. Exciting fighter to watch with a strong output, Keeps the fight on the feet.

15-3 record wins fights by unanimous decision. Last win was a great performance against Leonardo Williams, Watching the accurate forward combinations jabs and uppercuts. Wrestling against the cage. Controlling most of the fight.

Winning the SFT Bantamweight Title. One more step away from signing with a top five promoton.

Fernando Laurenco is similar to Rob Font on there stand up fighting style.

Strengths

  • Striking Output
  • Accurate Boxing
  • Constantly putting on pressure
  • Speed advantage

Needs to Improve

  • Add more leg kicks
  • Build a stronger body
  • Take Chances, Go for the kill
  • Work on wrestling/ grappling defense

5. Vinicius de Oliveira Bantamweight

Number 2 Brazilian Bantamweight is one all-around talent. Vinicius can Strike, Wrestle, Jiu-Jitsu, Kickboxing.

The talent speaks for itself winning the UAE Warriors Bantamweight title against Xavier Alaoui than defending the title against former EFC Bantamweight Champion Sylvester Chipfumbu,

Vinicius since signing with UAE Warriors improving with every fight and now one of the best Bantamweight prospects in the world.

Strengths

  • Speed advantage is obvious
  • Fast striking
  • Explosiveness
  • Wrestling ability is underrated
  • First round finisher
  • Aggressive Fast Pace fighter

Vinicius De Oliveira is in the perfect sport fighting for UAE Warriors, There one of the best feeder league promotions. Love to see Vinicius do a cross promotion fight against Renat Khavalov (Eagle FC Bantamweight Champion).

6. Maike Linhares Featherweight

Linhares is one of the best Brazilian Featherweights for a reason, He’s a good stand up pressure fighter at 28 years old.

(Linhares RED GLOVES)

Last fight was a impressive win defeating Michel Lima (17-3) for the Brazilian Fight Series Featherweight Title. Linhares putting on the pressure, Throwing upper cuts, Superman punches, Moving forward quickly and giving jabs.

Solid job absorbing punches than countering right away. Linhares was winning the early rounds but Linhares looked like the better conditioning & efficient fighter. Continuing to throw knees and punches in the last seconds.

  • 16-3 record 28 years old
  • Brazilian Fight Series Featherweight Champion
  • Former Jungle Fight Bantamweight Champion
  • Won a fight for ACB

Strengths

  • Creative combinations
  • Striking Pressure
  • Volume Output
  • Solid standup grappling defense
  • Underrated Jiu-Jitsu
  • Good counter striker

Weaknesses

  • Gets caught bigger promotions he’ll get KO’d easily
  • Striking Defense

Add

  • Hunt for more submissions
  • Calf Kicks
  • More movement in his striking

7. Luan Luiz Lacerda Bantamweight

2021 Shooto Brasil Bantamweight Champion left that promotion to sign with Legacy Fight Alliance. Hunting down that LFA Bantamweight Title in 2022 definitely trying to take the opponent to the ground and win.

Brazilian version of Bryce Mitchell.

Lacerda is the next Nova Uniao UFC signee, Might happen in 2022 when a Bantamweight pulls out.

  • 29 years old
  • Nova Uniao trainee
  • 9 submission wins
  • 12-1 record
  • Former Shooto Brasil Bantamweight Champion

8. Rangel de Sá Lightweight

Younger version of Edson Barboza explosive leg kicks, Fast Lightweight with nasty combinations. Speed kills and definitely for his opponents.

25 years old only a matter of time before he signs in a “Major” promotion.

He lost to Ismael Bonfim but he’s perfectly fine not worried about him. Back and forth fun fight, Giving Bonfim trouble.

  • 25 years old
  • 11-2 record
  • Six First Round Finishes
  • Former Shooto Brasil 165 Pound Champion

Strengths

  • Explosive Power
  • Wicked Fast
  • Nasty Leg Kicks

Improve

  • Learning to pace himself
  • Control Range
  • Better inside the pocket striker

9. Italo Gomes Lightweight

Unexpected MMA wrestler. Using his strength and technical ability to takedown the LFA opponent towards the cage than enforce ground & pound.

Gomes didn’t do a bad job against Marat Magomdov (Khabib relation) with takedowns. Was giving Marat trouble in the wrestling department.

Gomes works on his boxing, Kickboxing, Fighter IQ he’ll be a problem.

Strengths

  • Grappling against the cage
  • Setting up the takedown
  • Avoiding strikes
  • Quickness

Needs Improvement

  • Defensive wrestling
  • Controlling pocket
  • Using his quickness to his advantage
  • More output

10. Mario Sousa Middleweight

Two fights on the Dana White Contender Series, 1-1 record with DCWS. Maybe third time is the charm to impress Shelby and Maynard to get signed with the UFC.

My opinion Mario Sousa is the #1 Brazilian Middleweight prospect right now just needs to improve on his defensive wrestling, conditioning and few other skills.

Hopefully he’s training hard while writing this for he doesn’t ruin a major promotion opportunity. Fix those small mistakes and he’ll sign with UFC, Bellator, One Championship.

Strengths

  • Guard Defense
  • Strength
  • Powerful punching
  • Pure Will
  • Solid Mid Level Leg Kicks

Weaknesses

  • Wrestling Defense
  • Stiff stance
  • Hesitant striking
  • Conditioning

He’s talented took down Chidi Njokuani once in the early rounds. Good striking exchanges in second round for few seconds but Chidi pressured Sousa against the cage, Controlled Sousa on the ground.

Feel like Sousa fixes the wrestling a lot , Opening his stance, Simple but efficient striking he’ll be fine. Blueprint is on him he’s easily can be taken down all up to Sousa to fix the issue. Drill, Drill and Drill.

Needs to make a business decision and train with American Top Team Brazil.

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