In honor of UFC heading to Brazil this month we want to take a look at some of the top up and coming fighters from Brazil. I believe we can expect to see some of these guys in the UFC or a major promotion sooner rather than later.
1. Glover Teixiera
Okay, so it may not be fair to consider Glover Teixiera a “prospect” given his age and experience. However, Teixiera has never fought on the big stage largely due to visa problems. Glover has a fight at the end of August against UFC veteran Antonio Mendes. Should he win there I would expect the UFC and other promotions to come calling. I think he is not only the best Brazilian unsigned fighter, but he is the best period.
2. Bruno Santos
Bruno is unquestionably the best middleweight prospect in Brazil. I am certain that he is on the UFC radar, I am just not sure how long until he signs. Many people consider Santos to be the top middleweight prospect right now. Santos is just 24 years old, so he certainly has time to improve. The Ze Mario team fighter is most known for having solid wrestling and ground and pound skills. I look for him to be signed by a North American promotion sooner rather than later.
3. Jussier Da Silva
Da Silva has already made waves in North America. He is currently the number 2 ranked flyweight in the world. He is coming off of an impressive victory over Mamorou Yamaguchi at Tachi Palace Fights 10. The Nova Uniao product could be a featured fighter in the UFC’s flyweight division when they decide to open it. If the UFC does elect to start a flyweight division, they would need to sign “Forminga”. Many considered Jussier the best flyweight in the world until his loss to Ian McCall. It is likely that if Jussier does not head to the UFC that he will fight Ian McCall for the flyweight title and a chance to avenge his sole loss.
4. John Lineker
He is a bantamweight with an 18-5 career record. Don’t be deceived, Lineker has only been in the sport for three years and is still in his early twenties. Lineker is on a 12 fight win streak in the Brazilian circuit. While he has done very well in Brazil it is time for him to make a move to a major promotion. Lineker should be getting more love than he is currently. I believe he will soon get his chance.
5. Jorge Lopez
Lopez is one of the top welterweight prospects in the sport. He currently is training with Wanderlei Silva at wand Fight Team. Also, he is currently fighting for Tachi Palace fights, however a move to a bigger promotion appears to be on the horizon. Lopez also has a lot potential as he is just 22 years old.
6. Giva Santana
I do not think that Giva Santana is going to be a world champion, but I do think he deserves a shot in a large promotion. Sanata just destroyed former WEC champion Doug Marshall last Friday. Sanatna is no spring chicken, but he has the skills to compete on a high level. Santana has a 16-1 career record and his lone loss was a split decision loss to Jamie Jara. I am certain that many promotions would love to have “The Arm Collector.” However, I think he has earned his due into the UFC.
7. Hacran Dias
27 year old Hacran Dias is a solid lightweight prospect with an 18-1 career mark. It is hard to gauge Dias’ future in the sport because there are question marks surrounding the quality of his opponents. While he may be able to keep rackin up wins in the local circuit in Brazil, I believe it will not be long and he will be forced to fight in North America. Dias is another one of the fighters coming out of Nova Uniao.
8. Francisco Drinaldo
Massaranduba as believed to be on the cusp of a UFC deal prior to his loss to Yuri Alcantara. That loss changed things for the Constrictor team lightweight. Drinaldo has since posted four wins and has openly expressed his desire to fight in the UFC. I expect Drinaldo to get some strong consideration from UFC.
9. Edinaldo Oliveira
He may be the best Brazilian heavyweight prospect. Oliveira should get opportunities soon to fight in bigger promotions. He is 11-0 and has good stand up skills. I believe that he can compete at an elite level. I would be shocked if UFC or Bellator hasn’t been in contact with him recently.
10. Thiago Meller
Meller is a 17-3 lightweight who has good all around skills. Meller is slated to fight UFC veteran Justin Buchholz later this month. A win there would go a long way. Meller’s three losses have come to UFC fighters Jose Aldo, Rafael Dos Anjos and Aaron Riley. Before Meller can hope for UFC he has to beat a tough Buchholz.