10 Best MMA Featherweight Prospects of 2014
#8: Raoni Barcelos
Raoni Barcelos is arguably Brazil’s top prospect in the world today. In fact, in 2012, Brazilian MMA media named Barcelos the top MMA prospect in all of Brazil. Barcelos’ resume is packed full of honors and achievements. He claimed the Brazilian Nogi Championship at the Black Belt level in 2009. He was a 3-time world champion in lower belt divisions. He’s wrestled for the Brazilian National Wrestling Team, winning a Silver medal at the Pan’s in 2006. Barcelos was a black belt by the age of 20, and the man that awarded it to him, was his father and Carlos Gracie disciple, Laerte Barcelos, who has been training Raoni since the age of 2. Barcelos used to train out of Ruas Vale Tudo, but has since been seen around Nova Uniao. Barcelos’ grappling background is top notch, but he has won many of his recent fights with his striking. He has quick leg kicks, and has some power in his hands as well. He recently suffered his first career loss to Mark Dickman in RFA. The loss will hopefully be a valuable learning lesson for Barcelos prior to him making the jump to the UFC. Make no mistake, Barcelos will bounce back from this, and he will eventually fight his way into the UFC, it’s just a matter of when.