World MMA Middleweight Scouting Report: #3 - Vitor Vianna

While our #5 ranked prospect Bruno Santos has some major upside due to his age and ability to take down opponents at will, his technique and finishing ability doesn't attract a lot of attention. Our #3 ranked prospect, Vitor Vianna (10-1-1), should fill that void, and while he is 30 years of age -- he is Brazil's brightest hope of continued dominance in the UFC's middleweight division.

Offensive Skills: Vitor's offensive capacity is what every fighter should be aiming for when trying to encompass all aspects of the sport. He's a two-time World Brazilian jiu-jitsu champion and a six-time National jiu-jitsu champion in Brazil, and he's had no problems making his style of jiu-jitsu work in the sport of mixed martial arts.

Unlike Santos, Vianna has an effective stand-up game that has proven to be a threat to his opponents. He has above average boxing technique, good kicking ability, and a deceptive Muay Thai game. All three of those combine to make Vianna what he is today, a very well-rounded fighter who should be battling some of the best in the world at 185 pounds.

Defensive Skills: Vianna can be taken advantage of on the feet, but he's continuing to improve under the tutelage of Wanderlei Silva in Las Vegas. Furthermore, he's one of the best grapplers in the weight class. Combined with his boxing and Muay Thai abilities, it creates a dangerous counter to wrestlers looking to punish Vianna from top control for three rounds. All of those skills together create a gauntlet of obstacles for opposition.

Progression: Vitor's striking has improved leaps and bounds from the early days in Shooto and low-level regional fight cards in Brazil. He's much more technical in his approach, and he isn't winging power punches for the fence in hopes of a land. These days, he's a more calculated fighter, and that runs parallel with the trend that age can be an advantage for fighters who enter the sport early.

Environment: Vitor trains out of Wand Fight Team in Las Vegas, Nevada currently, and it's probably one of the best moves he could have made as the camp should help him further his knowledge in the striking department while also allowing him to train with world class fighters here in the United States. Fellow prospect Jorge Lopez along UFC fighters Demian Maia and Wanderlei Silva should provide all the necessary challenges for Vitor to prepare for bouts.

Potential: Vianna is one of the more attractive prospects on our list, mainly due to the Brazilian jiu-jitsu credentials he possesses in combination with his proven striking ability. He has all the tools to be an elite middleweight, but some might believe that time is against Vitor at this point in his career. At 30 years of age, it's hard to ignore the possibility that he may have missed his chance years ago.

The first six months of 2011 need to be huge for Vitor Vianna, and he needs to sign a fight against a known middleweight competitor who presents obvious challenges on paper. Aaron Brink and B.J. Lacy aren't going to cut it, but I imagine his lengthy layoff between 2010 and 2008 were reasons for those softer opponents. His move to Wanderlei Silva's camp in Las Vegas should ensure his entry into the UFC if he can put together some big wins in 2011. Rumor has it he tried out for The Ultimate Fighter's thirteenth season however. He will surely be one of the favorites to win the show if he made the final cut.

Lightweight Welterweight Middleweight
#1 - Thiago Michel
#2 - Ricardo Tirloni
#3 - Magno Almeida
#4 - Ui Cheol Nam
#5 - Henrique Mello
#6 - Reza Madadi
#7 - Alexander Sarnavskiy
#8 - Ole Laursen
#9 - Guillaume DeLorenzi
#10 - Al Iaquinta
#1 - Yuri Villefort
#2 - Alex Garcia
#3 - Erick Silva
#4 - Douglas Lima
#5 - Luis "Sapo" Santos
#6 - Jesse Juarez
#7 - Gunnar Nelson
#8 - Quinn Mulhern
#9 - Alberto Mina
#10 - Joe Ray
#3 - Vitor Vianna
#4 - Vyacheslav Vasilevsky
#5 - Bruno Santos
#6 - Costantinos Philippou
#7 - Jordan Smith
#8 - Uriah Hall
#9 - Victor O'Donnell
#10 - Assan Njie

Video:

Official Wand Team Highlight

Vitor Vianna Highlight

Vitor training in Holland

Vitor Vianna - 1st professional bout

Vitor Vianna vs. Michael Knapp

Thiago Silva vs. Vitor Vianna

Vitor Vianna vs. Gabriel Gonzaga (grappling match)

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