Two years ago, we took a look at the top five prospects in MMA, nation by nation. This year, we’re back with another look at some of the best up-and-coming talents in the business.
For this instalment, we head to South America. Brazil has seen an obscene number MMA champions year after year, and there’s no surprise: after all, Royce Gracie is where it all began, at least where the UFC is concerned. From there, Vitor Belfort, Shogun Rua, Anderson Silva, Jose Aldo, Amanda Nunes, Deiveson Figueiredo, Jessica Andrade, Charles Oliveira — that’s in the UFC alone, and it’s not even a complete list!
Our original Scouting the Globe series singled out the following five Brazilian talents:
- Hugo Cunha who is signed with ONE Championship and is 0-1 for the promotion.
- Leonardo Limberger who is signed with ACA and has lost his last three fights.
- Joanderson Brito who is signed with the UFC and is 1-1 inside the cage.
- Herbeth Souza who recently lost after coming back from a long layoff.
- Luana Pinheiro is signed to the UFC and is 2-0 since making her debut.
Now let’s take a look at this year’s candidates.
The Bondim brothers actually take two spots on this year’s list, and for good reason.
Both Gabriel (12-0) and Ismael (17-3) are two of the best prospects out in Brazil, if not the best two. Lightweight Ismael is on an eleven-fight win streak. Along with a good amount of MMA experience, he has competed in boxing as well. As an amateur boxer, his record was 24-3 and as a pro, it’s 4-1.
His younger brother Gabriel is a weight class higher fighting at welterweight. He’s undefeated and is LFA’s current welterweight champion.
Both Gabriel and Ismael Bonfim are UFC-level now and are set to prove that soon, as both are going be on Dana White’s Contender Series this season.