Brazil continues to export tons of talent into the MMA world, and it looks like the harvest will be another good one in 2024.
As the new year begins, MMA Fighting takes a closer look at Brazilian up-and-comers who may graduate from the regional scene and sign with a major promotion over the next 12 months, joining prospects highlighted in previous years such Alexandre Pantoja, Vitor Petrino, Jailton Almeida, Caio Borralho, and others.
As always, this list only features athletes who are under the age of 30 and haven’t competed for a major promotion in the past.
Icaro Brito is making waves at featherweight. A teammate of rising UFC contender Caio Borralho, the 24-year-old recently flattened Junior Duarte in just three minutes for a perfect LFA debut, the fifth knockout win of his 7-1 career.
Giovanni Garcia won 13 bouts in a row between amateur (6-0) and professional (7-0) MMA in four years, capped off by a submission victory over Carlos Alberto Silva to clinch the Iron Man featherweight belt in November 2022. “Galeto”, 21, displayed heart to rebound from a guillotine scare to secure a finish in the opening round.
Marcos Degli is on a roll in the regional circuit, winning eight straight in a span of 19 months, stopping all but one of his opponents. The 23-year-old flyweight last fought in November, improving to 10-3 as a professional — and 2-0 under the LFA banner — with a decision over Alisson Murilo.
Jefferson Nascimento was victorious in six MMA bouts in the past couple of years, culminating in his second-round knockout victory over previously undefeated Gabriel Costa to capture the vacant LFA interim lightweight title. A teammate of UFC’s Carlston Harris at Renovação Fight Team, “Toddynho” holds a record of 11-0 with seven finishes.
Alexia Thainara, 26, bounced between promotions in Brazil for just over two years, winning eight straight with six finishes. A teammate of UFC contender Amanda Ribas and a veteran of the Jungle Fight cage, “Burguesinha” choked out Thaiane Souza to claim the SFT strawweight belt this past December, improving to 10-1 in MMA.
Tiago Pereira climbed the 135-pound rankings and won the Jungle Fight bantamweight title with a knockout in 2023, then landed a vicious kick to the body to defend it five months later. A 26-year-old Atos representative, Pereira has four finishes to his credit.
Felipe Lima started his career competing for regional promotions in the Amazonas area in Brazil before moving to Sweden to train at Allstars Training Center, capping off a perfect 5-0 run in the European circuit with a unanimous decision victory to dethrone Oktagon welterweight champion Jonas Magard in July. The 25-year-old prospect has now won 12 in a row since losing his MMA debut in 2015.
Michael Oliveira, a paratrooper for the Brazilian army, has won six in a row since making his professional MMA debut in February 2022, and is closing in on fighting for the LFA welterweight title after four first-round knockouts in 2023. The KO Squad talent will turn 26 years old later this month.
Rose Conceição clinched the LFA interim strawweight championship after a five-round war with Elaine Lopes, and was promoted to undisputed queen after Julia Polastri signed with the UFC. The 26-year-old is 7-0 in the sport and has won six in a row since June 2021, when she returned from a five-year hiatus.
Elora Dana claimed the Jungle Fight flyweight gold with a nasty armbar finish before choking out Invicta FC signee Faelly Vitoria with a rear-naked choke, her fourth stoppage victory in six MMA wins. The unbeaten talent had to step away for a while for a right knee surgery, but is now expected to face Brena Cardozo for the undisputed belt in April.