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Top 10 Brazilian prospects to watch in 2018

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Who will be the next Brazilian MMA talent to make some noise in the big leagues?
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Brazilian fighters had a rough year in 2017, losing belts in both the UFC (Jose Aldo) and Bellator (Eduardo Dantas). However, more than a few Brazilian up-and-comers are still hungry for a chance to showcase their talents in the international market in 2018.

Names like Virna Jandiroba, Deiveson Figueiredo, Alex Oliveira, Viviane Pereira, Poliana Botelho, Alexandre Pantoja, Matheus Nicolau and Leandro Higo have made MMA Fighting’s list of prospects to watch in years past, and are now showing their talents in the UFC, Bellator and Invicta FC.

Thus we return with 10 more Brazilian fighters that are worth keeping an eye on as the new year kicks off. Will they succeed in 2018?


Luan Lacerda is an 8-1 bantamweight prospect from Nova Uniao.

Lacerda, who turns 25 on Jan. 7, went 4-0 under the Shooto Brazil banner over the past 18 months, including a trio of submissions. The only blemish on his record came in his third professional fight in 2014, when he lost via submission to multiple-time jiu-jitsu champion Ary Farias.


Felipe Colares is a 23-year-old talent from Macapa, who moved to Rio de Janeiro to train at Team Nogueira.

“Cabocao" recently won the vacant Jungle Fight featherweight championship, improving his MMA record to 8-0. Colares has finished seven of his opponents, including five submissions.


Denis Araujo is one of the top talents to rise from Minas Gerais over the past few years.

Born in Sergipe, the 25-year-old flyweight has only lost once in the sport, falling short against current UFC fighter Deiveson Figueiredo. Araujo holds a 14-1 record with eight stoppages.


Roberto Satoshi is a multiple-time champion in jiu-jitsu, winning world IBJJF titles as a blue, purple and brown belt.

At 28, the talented grappler now has a 6-0 MMA record with six finishes. Satoshi largely built his MMA record competing in Japan before finally returning to Brazil in 2017.


Raulian Paiva, 22, a 15-1 bantamweight from Amapa.

He is on a 10-fight winning streak capped off by a vicious first-round knockout victory over longtime MMA veteran and former UFC fighter Iliarde Santos in November.


Daniel Lacerda is a flyweight teammate of Alex Oliveira at ATS in Tres Rios.

The 21-year-old talent made his MMA debut in March, then quickly racked up a 5-0 record with five first-round stoppages in eight months.


Andre Borges had a rough start in the sport, losing his first two fights, but went on a roll after that, winning seven in a row and finishing his last six opponents.

Borges knocked out prospect Carlos Ribeiro to claim the WOCS featherweight title in March, and recently added another knockout to his record in Rio de Janeiro.


Raphael Pessoa, 28, is unbeaten as a MMA heavyweight.

“Bebezao" ("Big Baby", in Portuguese) started his career in Dec. 2016, and defeated everyone he’s faced since en route to a perfect 8-0 record.


Roggers Souza is the undefeated Jungle Fight heavyweight champion.

After winning his first five fights by way of first-round knockout, including a quick win over TUF Brazil 3 alum Job Kleber, “The Tiger” submitted Marcus Vinicius Lopes to improve to 6-0 and claim the Jungle Fight belt. He was expected to face Marcelo Golm earlier this year, but Golm ended up signing with the UFC.


Ricardo Prasel is a former professional goalkeeper in soccer, and had a stint with England’s Chelsea squad.

He also has racked up a 9-0 record at heavyweight in mixed martial arts. “Alemao” stopped all of his opponents in the first round, seven of them in less than two minutes.