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MMA Latest News’ Top 5 weekly Prospects: Brazil

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Welcome back to this weeks installment of the MMA Latest News’ top 5 weekly prospects by country. After having a break for a couple of weeks this segment of the website in now back in full swing once again and hopefully staying that way. This week we will be taking a look at the Top 5 prospects from Brazil. Similar to England and Canada, because of the high quantity of athletes both in and outside the UFC, this will be separated into two sections, 5 prospects inside the UFC and 5 outside.

Brazil is commonly known for producing some of the world’s greatest athletes such as current champions Jose Aldo, Rafael Dos Anjos and Fabricio Werdum. Here a some of the prospects to watch out for hailing from the homeland of BJJ.

Top 5 prospects inside the UFC

1.Edimilson “Kevin” Souza
Record: 16-3
Promotion: UFC
Fighting out of: DS Team
Last fight: UFC Fight Night 62 vs. Katsunori Kikuno
Next fight: N/A

Kevin Souza is flying under the radar in the Featherweight division at the moment despite being 3-0 in the UFC. He made his debut back in 2013 where he defeated Felipe Arantes by a split decision. He has been racking up some bonuses in his last 2 fights earning himself one FOTN bonus followed by a POTN bonus. Souza is looking to be one of the division’s elite and has a lot of self-confidence as he vocally expresses his desire to fight Lamas and Swanson in a recent call out.

Souza is no stranger to being a champion, during his Jungle fight days he reigned the Featherweight champion, defending the title on 3 occasions before getting called up to the UFC. He is a knockout artist with 14 wins coming by way of TKO/KO proving dangerous on his feet, something he will be looking to test in the future against the UFC’s finest. Currently on a 10 fight win streak, he is determined to have it continue. He is a future contender for sure and one to look out for in his coming fights.

2.Alex Oliveira
Record: 12-2-1 1NC
Promotion: UFC
Fighting out of: Tata Fight Team
Last fight: UFC Fight Night 70 vs. Joe Merritt (Won via unanimous decision)
Next fight: N/A

Alex Oliveira has only signed with the UFC this year making his debut back at UFC Fight Night 62 against Gilbert Burns as a replacement for Josh Thompson, losing by a submission in the third. Since then though Oliveira has moved up to Welterweight going on a 2 fight win streak this year with notable wins against KJ Noons and Joe Merritt making a name for himself in the division to make it 3 fights in his first 3 months in the UFC

Prior to his UFC days, Oliveira seemed to favour his stand up ability, coming from a Muay Thai background holding a dark blue prajied, he compiled a superb 8 TKO victories. Although, he now seems to be testing out his grappling some more in the UFC, taking the ground to the mat on a number of occasions. Oliveira is pushing for the Top 15 and we may seem him there with some future success.

3.Antônio Carlos Júnior
Record: 5-1
Promotion: UFC
Fighting out of: Nova União
Last fight: UFC Fight Night 70 vs. Eddie Gordon (Won via submission)
Next fight: N/A

Antônio Carlos Júnior has been quite successful in the UFC so far, being the TUF Brazil 3 Heavyweight winner. After winning TUF Brazil, he opted to move down weight classes, first to Light Heavyweight where he lost to Patrick Cummins. Then to Middleweight where he now seems to have landed on his feet, grabbing a win in his Middleweight debut against TUF 19 winner Eddie Gordon.

Antônio Carlos Júnior has an excellent ground game with 4 submission victories so far in his career as well as a black belt in BJJ under Hélder Medeiros. He has decent boxing ability to which he showed during TUF Brazil, winning by TKO/KO twice. Prior to his MMA career which started in 2013, the BJJ black belt was successful on a world level, winning two gold medals at the BJJ World Championships back in 2010. He is only young at 25 and has plenty of time ahead of him in his career to pursue UFC glory.

4.Warlley Alves
Record: 8-0
Promotion: UFC
Fighting out of: X-gym
Last fight: UFC Fight Night 56 vs. Alan Jouban (Won via unanimous decision)
Next fight: UFC 190 vs. Nordine Taleb

Warlley Alves is also a TUF Brazil 3 winner, conquering the Middleweight tournament. Following his TUF Brazil 3 win against Marcio Alexandre which earned him a POTN bonus too, he then returned to Welterweight and fought Alan Jouban in controversial decision victory continuing his unscathed record of 8-0. He now looks to keep his unbeaten streak moving when he faces his toughest opponent yet in Nordine Taleb.

Alves formerly fought in Jungle Fights before entering the TUF Brazil house. Alves seems to be nimble on the ground with 4 submission wins so far in his career. He may look to utilize this in his attempt to overcome Taleb. Also young at 24 he has quite a lot of time left in his career and is certainly one to keep an eye on in future as he may look to break into the top 15 in the coming year.

5.Dileno Lopes
Record: 19-1
Promotion: UFC
Fighting out of: Nova Uniao Manaus
Last fight: Mr.Cage vs. Fabricio Sarraff (won via TKO)
Next fight: UFC 190 vs. Reginaldo Vieira

Dileno Lopes will make his UFC debut at UFC 190 in the TUF Brazil 4 final against Reginaldo Vieira. He has impressed so far in TUF and finally gets his opportunity in the UFC. The flyweight has only 1 loss to date and that is to current ONE FC flyweight champions Adriano Moraes when the two fought for the Shooto title back Shooto 40 in 2013.

Lopes is currently on a 5 fight win streak and will be looking to continue this in his next fight. Lopes is quite the submission artist with 12 submission victories on his record to date. With only very little time until his UFC debut we could see him do the similar in the UFC in his hunt for success in the promotion.

Top 5 prospects outside the UFC

1.Jonas Bilharinho
Record: 6-0-1
Promotion: Jungle Fights
Fighting out of: Team Nogueira
Last fight: JF 76 vs. Fabiano Fernandes (Won via KO)
Next fight: N/A

Jonas “Speed” Bilharinho is one of the top Bantamweights outside the top promotions at the moment. He has recently become more popular from being Jose Aldo’s training partner in the lead up to his fight with Conor McGregor. Bilharinho name has now reached fans across the world and he is hunting for a shot in the UFC. He has recently expressed his interest in fighting Artem Lobov, McGregor’s training partner, in a potential fight for UFC Dublin.

Bilharinho is the current Jungle Fights Bantamweight champion and has fought under the promotion 5 times, winning on each occasions with 4 coming by way of a TKO or KO proving to be dangerous on his feet creating a very exciting fight for the fans. Sitting undefeated in his career so far and with a spectacular record at such a young age, it should not be long until the UFC come calling.

2.Alexandre Pantoja
Record: 16-2
Promotion: RFA
Fighting out of: Nova Uniao/Black House
Last fight: RFA vs Legacy super fight vs. Damacio Page (Won via Technical Submission)
Next fight: N/A

This Flyweight is one of the most lethal flyweights in the business making a big name for himself recently when he defeated UFC veteran Damacio Page in a cross promotion bout between the two champions. Pantoja is presently on a 9 fight win streak 7 of those fights coming from a finish. His last loss came against current UFC fighter Jussier Formiga in a battle that had to be decided by decision.

Pantoja has surely proven at this stage he can stand toe to toe with the best. He is also capable of fighting either on his feet or on the mat, never getting finished once in his 18 professional fights, only ever losing by decision. It’s fighters like these the UFC need to further the Flyweight division. He could be in their sights as he pushes to make the big time.

3.Bruno Lopes
Record: 6-0
Promotion: Jungle fights
Fighting out of: 011 fight team
Last fight: Jungle fight 78 vs. Matias Genes (Won via Submission)
Next fight: N/A

Bruno Lopes is well-known amongst Brazilian fans as “Brunao”. At only 22 he has accomplished quite a lot so early in his MMA career becoming the Jungle Fight Welterweight champion as well as maintaining an unscathed record in the process. Fighting under the promotion on 4 occasions also.

Standing at 6’2 he is quite a tall competitor at his weight class.The height advantage works well with his broad range of abilities in order to pick him up some big wins. His record speaks for itself, he does not seem to have had any weaknesses exposed so far and has even stats at each win method. He has yet to be tested in Brazil a push for the UFC could be just right for him soon, but he may not be in a big rush as he has a long career ahead of him.

4.Luciano Benicio
Record: 9-1
Promotion: Shooto
Fighting out of: Nova Uniao
Last fight: Shooto Brazil 53 vs. Eliel dos Santos (Won via submission)
Next fight: N/A

The primarily Jiu Jitsu fighter is riding high on a 5 fight win streak at the moment. At only 23 he has justified himself to be an exceptional young fighter. His only loss came at Jungle fights 65, however, he bounced back from that loss in superb fashion winning the Imperium 16 man tournament to become the Imperium Bantamweight champion.

So far in his career he has been a threat on the ground finishing 5 fights by a submission. Although he has some reasonable stand-up ability also, finishing 3 fights from a TKO/KO. At only an early stage in his MMA career, he has a lot of time ahead of him to further his abilities and possibly break in the UFC.

5.Gabriel Miranda
Record: 8-2
Promotion: XFC
Fighting out of: CM System
Last fight: FTD 8 vs. Eder Martins
Next fight: Fighten 2 vs. Willian Lima

Gabriel “Fly” Miranda is an upcoming fighter in the sport with some great potential. Debuting in 2012, he picked up 2 losses in his first three fights. Since then he has improved a substantial amount, going on a 7 fight win streak which has stretched from late 2013 until present. Miranda is now signed with XFC and may look to may a quick impact on his division when he debut’s.

Miranda, similar to a vast majority of other Brazilian fighters, favours his BJJ skills to get the submission rather than stand and trade. He may not be UFC ready just yet, but a few more fights against some tougher opponents and he could surely be in contention for a spot in UFC lightweight roster.

That concludes this week’s segment, I think it is safe to say the Brazilians still have a very strong present in the sport and have some outstanding talent on offer with these upcoming prospects. Remember to come back next week everyone and take a look at another set of prospects from another part of the globe.

*All information taken from Sherdog

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Forget Cormier vs. Jones – Cyborg vs. Megan Anderson Should Headline UFC 214

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Cris Cyborg UFC

Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones II is all but confirmed for UFC 214 in Anaheim, California on July 29. Despite the magnitude of the light-heavyweight championship rematch, the UFC would do well to look elsewhere for their UFC 214 main event — namely in the direction of Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino and Megan Anderson.

The UFC’s schedule for the first half of 2017 is largely booked as of now. Fight announcements for July are coming in daily but there is still no clue as to who might headline UFC 213, the promotion’s International Fight Week pay-per-view offering. Jon Jones is expected to make his long-awaited return in July however not for 213.

UFC President Dana White has stated that Jones will not be eligible to compete during International Fight Week due to his suspension, making UFC 214 in late July the most likely option. White also insisted that Jones cannot be trusted to headline an event due to his past transgressions.

If White holds true to his word it’ll be a bizarre and unfortunate set of circumstances to promote the most important rematch in the history of the UFC. Many titleholders are booked for the moment, so the Cormier vs. Jones rerun would seem the most logical choice. However, as has been the norm in the past two years of UFC promotion an interim title can be slapped on to any semi-interesting match.

Countless arguments are made about how interim titles are senseless and harmful to the actual titleholder but those arguments although valid, are not much more than gripes.

The absence of sanctioning bodies in mixed martial arts are a contentious point of debate in the MMA community and combat sports in general but sanctioning bodies in regard to titles are almost always a nuisance in the world of boxing.

Any educated fan knows who the real champion is. Even in the rare instance where the interim titleholder is held in higher regard or more popular than the actual champion as was the case with Conor McGregor and Jose Aldo, nothing was done to diminish the value of the featherweight belt.

The notion that a title fight must headline a card may be antiquated but it seems that is the manner that the UFC will continue to handle business for the foreseeable future. Five rounds are seldom a negative in high-level MMA and an interim belt would be most justified if a match is made between former Invicta featherweight champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino and current champion Megan Anderson.

If Cormier vs. Jones will play second fiddle to another fight, an interim featherweight title fight between “Cyborg” and Anderson would be a sensible headliner for UFC 214. Given the lack of options and the current featherweight champion’s fighting future in doubt, the fight would merit its headlining spot.

Jones in a co-headliner may seem strange business wise. It is rare for Dana White to put morale ahead of dollar signs but if it is the case it may be for the better. An alpha male like Jones doesn’t want to be second to anyone. The very fact that the marquee will say Cormier vs. Jones instead of Jones vs. Cormier most likely rankles with the superstar.

Yet the promotion of Jones is more intriguing now than it ever has been. Jones reportedly pulled in right under 500,000 buys for UFC 197. Not too shabby for a 15-month layoff with a lukewarm undercard.

Moreover, a fight with the magnitude of Cormier Vs. Jones will be heavily promoted under any circumstance. ESPN, TMZ, Deadspin, will all be pulled towards covering the event, so the co-main event placing may not be that big of a deal. The benefits that the Cormier/Jones rematch can provide for the women’s featherweight division are substantial.

..that the fight itself was between a 135 pounder who had lost her last two and a fringe top 10 bantamweight didn’t make matters any better.

UFC 208 was the official introduction of the featherweight division in the Ultimate Fighting Championship and it wasn’t loved by many spectators. Germaine de Randamie outpointed Holly Holm in a 25-minute striking affair.

Technically, the fight was brilliant but provided not a single awe-inspiring moment. The fact that there was controversy regarding some illegal blows, a contested decision, and that the fight itself was between a 135 pounder who had lost her last two and a fringe top 10 bantamweight didn’t make matters any better.

The great thing about a Cyborg/Anderson fight is that both women really want the fight and also happen to be great kickboxers that have genuine horsepower. “Cyborg” trounced Leslie Smith in less than a round and utterly pummeled Lina Lansberg in just over five minutes. Anderson is young and still relatively raw but has some exceptional power at featherweight.

The desire to improve is also not lost on the talented Aussie. Her Invicta FC debut was an embarrassingly one-sided loss to notorious overachieving veteran Cindy Dandois.

Grappling is an aspect of MMA that Anderson hasn’t fully grasped as of yet but is miles ahead of where she was in 2015. Anderson’s 2016 was outstanding with three knockouts in a row and she showed her artistic side as she used Charmaine Tweet’s blood to splatter the canvas red like a deranged college activist student.

There was a USADA flagging for “Cyborg” after her last win that was retroactively cleared. Unfortunate and badly timed, it ended up rekindling an old hatred that some in the MMA community have had for the Brazilian since her first positive test in 2011.

“Cyborg” is a respectful competitor and her fighting style is barbaric but her past with PEDs rubs some fans the wrong way, making her a lightning rod for controversy. More often than not, controversy sells.

In the skills and experience department “Cyborg” will hold a distinct advantage, however, Anderson is not lacking in confidence and may be the first fighter that can match “Cyborg’s” power. Anderson also happens to be a fan favourite in Invicta and isn’t shy about trash talking when the opportunity calls for it.

Justino vs. Anderson would not only be a well-matched and entertaining scrap, it would possess something many women’s MMA fights are too commonly missing, intrigue.

Ronda Rousey is unlikely to come back and that leaves the UFC looking for ways to create a new female star. This bout would seem like the most probable one to do that.

Rousey had a great home backing in Southern California from early on in her career and it might be time for “Cyborg” to take some of those fans as she has been a SoCal native for years. Anaheim is only a few miles from “Cyborg’s” hometown of Huntington Beach and it shares an ocean with The Land Down Under.

If a sacrifice is made by the UFC to prove a point, then let it be one that carries some positive possibilities for other athletes who are hungry and deserving of the spotlight. Step aside Jones, and let the ladies handle this one.

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Reports: Vitor Belfort to step in against Anderson Silva at UFC 212

Matthew Wells

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UFC 212 may have a new co-main event featuring two legends from Brazil.

Ag.Fight has reported Vitor Belfort has offered to fill in for Kelvin Gastelum to face Anderson Silva at UFC 212 in Rio on June 3.

Gastelum was originally scheduled to face Silva, but due to a potential USADA anti-doping violation which saw Gastelum flagged for marijuana metabolites stemming from an in-competition sample collected on March 11, 2017, a provisional suspension was levied and he was removed from the card.

Silva, who celebrates his 42nd birthday on April 14, will remain on the UFC 212 card which is headlined by a featherweight title fight between Max Holloway and Jose Aldo. Silva found his way back into the win column at UFC 208 where he won a unanimous decision over Derek Brunson, notching the 34th professional victory for the former UFC Middleweight Champion. The win over Brunson is the first official victory on Silva’s record since UFC 153 over Stephan Bonnar since the win over Nick Diaz at UFC 183 has since been overturned to a No Contest.

Due to Gastelum’s USADA issues, we may have a rematch of a title bout that took place at UFC 126 that saw Silva defend his middleweight strap against Belfort in devastating fashion.

Belfort, who turned 40 on April 1, has one more fight remaining on his UFC contract and expressed his desires to fulfill his contract after suffering a loss in his last outing to the aforementioned Gastelum at UFC Fight Night 106 in March. The loss was the third straight TKO loss for the former champion, whose last win came over Dan Henderson at UFC Fight Night 77 in November 2015. Belfort always wants the biggest fight available, and name-wise, they don’t come much bigger than Anderson Silva.

While both men have had their bumps in the road in the recent final chapters of their careers, fighting on their home soil in Brazil is something both men always look forward to.

UFC 212 takes place at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janerio, Brazil on June 3, 2017.

Confirmed bouts include:

  • Jose Aldo vs. Max Holloway
  • Claudia Gadelha vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
  • Antonio Carlos Junior vs. Eric Spicely
  • Johnny Eduardo vs. Matthew Lopez
  • Marco Antonio Beltran vs. Delveson Alcantra
  • Yancy Medeiros vs. Erick Silva
  • Paulo Henrique Costa vs. Oluwale Bamgbose
  • Leonardo Santos vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier
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Rafael Carvalho – I Hope Manhoef Comes to Fight This Time

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Bellator 176 takes place this Saturday on April 8th from Torino, Italy and will mark the promotion’s second trip to Italy after Bellator 152 which took place almost one year ago. The main event for the event will be a middleweight title rematch between champion Rafael Carvalho and challenger Melvin Manhoef.

The two first met at Bellator 155 in May of last year. On that occasion, Carvalho left with a decision victory that some felt should have gone the way of his Dutch opponent. Carvalho does not believe that the judges will be required this time, however. “I will defend my title with a knockout,” Carvalho told MMA Latest News. “I hope he (Manhoef) comes to fight this time like the Manhoef we know.”

The fight received some criticism at the time from fans and even Bellator commentator Jimmy Smith. However, Carvalho believes the blame for that lies squarely at the feet of Manhoef, whose tactics on the night surprised him. “I trained for, and came with, a tactic to knock him out,” Carvalho explained. “However, he did not come to fight and was not as aggressive as he usually is. He was afraid I would take him to the ground. I do not understand why he ran away from the fight. I was always moving forward but he did not want to come and strike, just to use low kicks. You do not win a fight with only low kicks.”

The rematch takes place in Europe, which is a first for Carvalho, but will also be in front of a crowd that loves striking, as the card takes place in conjunction with a Bellator kickboxing event. That is something which excites the Brazilian. “It will be really good to fight in Europe,” Carvalho enthused. “Europe is the land of the great K-1 strikers – the fans love strikers. Manhoef is a feared striker and I hope he does not sh*t himself scared and comes for a murderous striking fight.”

The fact that the event is happening alongside a Bellator kickboxing event has another level of intrigue to it, as Carvalho also revealed that he is planning on competing on a Bellator kickboxing card in the near future and hopes to fight in both Bellator disciplines. “I think about it a lot,” he said. “My manager has already informed Bellator that I would like to fight in Bellator Kickboxing also.”

The expansion of Bellator in recent times has been there for all to see, from signing big name free agents such as Rory MacDonald and Ryan Bader, to hosting more shows in different countries such as Italy and Ireland. However, one country that the promotion has not yet visited is Brazil, which is something that Carvalho believes should happen in the near future – and one would have to believe that Carvalho would have a strong case to headline  such an event. “It would be a great show,” he began. “Bellator cannot stay out of Brazil. Brazilians love MMA – it is where it all started. A show in Curitiba or Rio de Janeiro would be a great success. We have many top Brazilian fighters in Bellator. A card in Brazil cannot wait any longer.”

Bellator 176 takes place on April 8th from Pala Alpitour in Torino, Italy. Tune in to see Rafael Carvalho and Melvin Manhoef settle the score once and for all to see who will leave Europe with the Bellator middleweight title.

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