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Top 15 Brazilian MMA prospects to watch in 2015

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Guilherme Cruz, MMA Fighting

The UFC will make seven trips to Brazil next year, and there’s always room for Brazilian talent in Bellator, ONE FC and a handful of international promotions, so you will likely watch some of them fight in the big leagues in 2015.

MMA Fighting listed the top Brazilian prospects to watch in 2014, and four of them ended up signing with the UFC, two inked deals with Bellator, one signed with ONE FC and three made their debuts in RFA or Titan FC.

Who will make the move to bigger stages next year? Check a list of 15 promising talents coming out of Brazil in 2015.

Jonas Bilharinho (5-0-1) is a 24-year-old prospect from Team Nogueira. Born in Rio de Janeiro, the current Jungle Fight champion pulled out from his last title bout to try out for TUF: Brazil 4 in October, but failed to join the reality show. Undefeated as a professional fighter, "Speed" has yet to defend his 135-pound championship.

Luciano Benicio (8-1) is a 22-year-old bantamweight from Nova Uniao. Benicio dropped to 4-1 early in 2014 after a loss at Jungle Fight, but enters 2015 with an 8-1 record after winning the Imperium MMA Pro 16-man tournament.

Anderson Berlingeri (12-1) is a 29-year-old prospect from Chute Boxe in Sao Paulo, where he trains with UFC fighters Felipe Arantes, Lucas Martins and Thomas Almeida. Fighting in the bantamweight division, "Berinja" has finished 10 of his 13 bouts, including a first-round knockout victory to win the Circuito Talent de MMA title in February.

Nildo Nascimento (7-1, 1 no-contest) is a 25-year-old flyweight from Para. "Katchal" cut down from bantamweight after losing to former Jungle Fight champion Mario Israel in 2013, and is unbeaten so far in five bouts. Nascimento recently defended the Jungle Fight flyweight championship with a highlight-reel head kick knockout over Wilker Leandro in December.

Antonio Trocoli (6-0) is a 24-year-old welterweight from Salvador, Bahia. "Malvado" made his MMA debut in January of 2013, dispatching Carlos Alberto Jr. via first-round knockout. The jiu-jitsu fighter went 4-0 in 2014, and has yet to go the distance in his professional career.

Alex Oliveira (9-1-1, 1 no-contest) is a 26-year-old welterweight prospect from Rio de Janeiro’s Tata Fight Team. With nine stoppage wins under his belt, eight via KO or TKO, "Cowboy’s" only loss came in a decision against UFC fighter Wendell de Oliveira Marques in 2013. "Cowboy" is 5-1 since with one no-contest.

Ary Santos (9-4) is a 28-year-old lightweight who fights out of Rio de Janeiro. Santos, who competed the majority of his career inside the Jungle Fight cage, fought for the 155-pound title in February, losing via doctor stoppage to UFC fighter Tiago dos Santos. He’s 3-0 since with three finishes, most recently winning the MMA Super Heroes title.

Gabriel Miranda (8-2) is a 24-year old from Curitiba, Parana. Fighting out of Cristiano Marcello’s team, "Fly" is currently riding a seven-fight winning streak. The 5-foot-11 lightweight grappler scored six of his eight professional victories with submissions in less than 90 seconds.

Francisco de Lima Maciel (10-2-1) is a 26-year-old bantamweight from Coari, Amazonas. Undefeated since joining Team Nogueira in 2013, Maciel fought to a draw with Bellator veteran Luis Alberto Nogueira, winning the other five bouts via submission or TKO. Maciel was recently crowned the Coliseu EF 135-pound champion in May, after tapping Eduardo de Souza Silva in the second round.

Gustavo Gabriel (6-0) is a 20-year-old flyweight born in Sao Miguel dos Campos, Alagoas. Gabriel tapped Alex Bassani in December, two months after joining Chute Boxe team in Sao Paulo. The 5-foot-6 125-pounder went 5-0 with four stoppage victories in less than two years before joining Diego Lima’s team.

Karlmarx Mazoni (5-0) is a 24-year-old fighter from Maceio, Alagoas. Mazoni started his career as a flyweight, but cut down to 115 pounds and won the Coliseu EF strawweight championship in May. Five months later, he moved back up to 125 pounds to improve his MMA record to 5-0.

Roberto Neves (6-0) is a 31-year-old welterweight from Team Nogueira. The 170-pounder was one of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira’s sparring partners for his heavyweight clash with Roy Nelson in 2014, and has won six in a row since 2009, including a TKO at 4:54 of the fifth round to win the Premium FC title in November.

Matheus Nicolau (10-1-1) is a 21-year-old flyweight from Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais. A member of Nova Uniao, the 5-foot-4 125-pounder has only lost to UFC veteran Pedro Nobre in the Bitetti Combat one-night tournament final in 2012, and is 3-0 since with a couple knockout finishes.

Herdeson Batista (9-0) is a 22-year-old lightweight from Coari, Amazonas. Unbeaten as a professional fighter, "Capoeira" has won three in a row after joining Team Nogueira in Rio de Janeiro in 2014.

Fabiano Silva (23-6-1) is a 26-year-old prospect from Boa Vista, Roraima. Winner of seven of his past eight bouts, losing only to then-champion Rafael Miranda at Jungle Fight in 2013, "Jacarezinho" is a teammate of UFC fighters Alan Patrick, Erick Silva, Ronaldo Souza and Rafael Cavalcante at X-Gym.