World MMA Featherweight Scouting Report: #1 - Antonio Carvalho

We had a lengthy debate as to who our #1 ranked featherweight prospect would be on our countdown. Mark Adams, Alan Omer, and Taiki Tsuchiya all merited consideration with Omer being the most well-rounded between the three with a solid support system in place to mold him into a top notch featherweight prospect. Adams' victory over Omer, for obvious reasons, pushed him above Omer, but there wasn't an overwhelming feeling that either prospect was at a point in their careers in which we would deem them sure-fire top ten featherweights in the future.

Enter Antonio Carvalho. Carvalho was up for consideration, mostly due to the fact that he was out of the sport for nearly two years due to a myriad of injuries and personal issues. While we did exclude some fighters on our scouting report due to the same conditions, most of those fighters returned to major promotions while Carvalho is preparing himself for the jump to the big leagues through bouts in Canada's regional market.

Carvalho's track record certainly puts him at the apex of the heap, and his well-rounded, proven skill-set of grappling prowess and effective striking make him a desirable acquisition in the future. In our minds, he'll more than likely be the #1 guy that a promotion like the UFC will seek out later this year. A battle with highly-touted Canadian prospect John Fraser in April should help Carvalho's stock considerable.

Offensive Skills: Carvalho's major strength is his grappling game, but he's also well-versed in the stand-up department and brutally effective from top control. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt wasn't as effective on the ground in the latter half of his career, but he did face some of the stiffest competition that Japan had to offer in Hiroyuki Takaya, Yuji Hoshino, Hatsu Hioki, Takeshi Inoue, and Rumina Sato.

His most effective asset over the course of those fights was his ability to grapple his way to a dominant position and pound on opponents. He was also exceptional at escaping or reversing bad positions he had been put in as evident in his victory over Hatsu Hioki. While history doesn't necessarily mean "Pato" will be the same fighter as he was in the past, it's difficult to ignore his track record as an indicator of what he could be capable of against some of the best fighters the UFC has to offer.

Defensive Skills: As aforementioned, Carvalho's defense against grapplers is one of his greatest strengths. Combined with strong ground and pound skills, it is one of his best ways in which he can turn the tide of a losing battle into a winning one within a matter of seconds. Peep some of the footage below for a lesson in how to reverse positions and go on the attack immediately. You won't be disappointed.

As for the striking department, it's apparent that Carvalho has some holes to fill, and by his own admission in recent interviews -- he'd agree with the assessment. While he does possess some power in his hands, Carvalho has succumbed to better strikers who took advantage of slight openings in his defenses. His speed isn't as high as we'd like to see in a featherweight prospect, but he makes up for it in his quick transitions to the ground.

Progression: This is a somewhat irrelevant category for a fighter like Carvalho as he's highly experienced with a laundry list of impressive credentials. The real question for him is where he currently stands in his progress coming back from such a long layoff and whether he can compete with the upper-echelon fighters in the UFC.

Environment: "Pato" trains out of Bruckmann Martial Arts in Oshawa, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto. The camp isn't a famous name that people immediately recognize, but the gym has some highly-credentialed grapplers and striking coaches along with a bevy of talented fighters who come through to help Carvalho train. Sean Pierson has been one of those fighters, and that should give him a sense of what he's up against if he happens to make the transition to the UFC.

Featherweight Lightweight Welterweight
#1 - Antonio Carvalho
#2 - Taiki Tsuchiya
#3 - Mark Adams
#4 - Alan Omer
#5 - Koichiro Matsumoto
#6 - Tom Niinimaki
#7 - Marcos Vinicius
#8 - Matt Fiordirosa
#9 - Isaac DeJesus
#10 - Michel Gagnon
#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
Middleweight Light Heavyweight
#1 - Papy Abedi
#2 - Chris Weidman
#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
#1 - Marcos Pezao
#2 - Gian Villante
#3 - Jimi Manuwa
#4 - Glover Teixeira
#5 - Jan Blachowicz
#6 - Yoel Romero
#7 - Ryan Jimmo
#8 - Nik Fekete
#9 - Marcus Vanttinen
#10 - Ronny Markes

Scouting_report_medium

Potential: Carvalho has all the tools to succeed in the UFC. Phenomenal grappling ability, above average striking, brutal ground and pound, and solid conditioning. He's one of the most well-rounded, if not the most well-rounded, fighter on our countdown, and his proven track record vaults him into the #1 spot.

While I'm almost certain there will be some feedback regarding his status as a known fighter, I've talked with many fans who did not realize he was on the comeback trail. That's unfortunate, but his name will surely get the eyes it deserves in the coming months, especially if he defeats Fraser in April. At 31 years old, some may say he's staring old age in the eyes. Here's to hoping he can succeed in the future as Carvalho is one of the classiest athletes out there. Look for him to get some attention from the UFC very soon.

Video:

Antonio Carvalho Highlight

Antonio Carvalho vs. Hiroyuki Takaya



Antonio Carvalho vs Rumina Sato

Hatsu Hioki vs. Antonio Carvalho



Antonio Carvalho vs Juan Barrantes

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