10 Best MMA Bantamweight Prospects of 2014
#10: Renato Carneiro
Renato “Moicano” Carneiro has been regarded as one of Brazil’s top up and coming prospects for the last couple of years. He began his career at Featherweight, where he immediately started testing his skills against some of Brazil’s most established veterans like Iliarde Santos, Joao Nogueira, and Joao Paulo Rodrigues. Carneiro beat all-comers, and although some of his victories were close decisions, the presumption was made that Carneiro was being fast-tracked towards a future UFC contract. Yet, all of Carneiro’s early successes may have been too much pressure as Carneiro briefly left the sport to finish his schooling and explore other career options. Carneiro fought once in 2012, but the fight’s outcome ended controversially as Shooto: Brazil promoter and Nova Uniao head coach Andre Pederneiras reversed the result from a Carneiro win to a Draw. To no surprise, Carneiro’s opponent that night was Nova Uniao fighter Felipe Froes. Pederneiras has pulled off similar tactics, like appointing Nova Uniao fighters as judges and referees. In the end, Carneiro never fought for Shooto: Brazil again, and soon returned to the Jungle Fight promotion in 2013. He has since won two straight fights, both at Featherweight, but it should be noted that he’s had a series of high-profile fights cancelled due to various issues. It is still unknown if Carneiro has officially ever competed at Bantamweight, but his last 3 fights have been scheduled for that weight class, which was why I included him amongst my Top 10. He’s one of the tallest fighters in the division, and likes to use that length with his striking. He has an excellent ground game as well, though he is prone to being taken down. Carneiro trains out of the Constrictor Team alongside Rani Yahya and Francisco Trinaldo.