World MMA Bantamweight Scouting Report: #7 - Rodrigo 'Ratinho' Lima

For a few years now, we've talked about the modern era of mixed martial arts becoming a true proving ground for the best fighters in the world. The days of one-dimensional fighters are getting smaller in our rear-view mirrors. The youthful fighters of yesterday who began training when they were ten years old are now surfacing as prodigies in the sport. Brazil's Rodrigo Lima may be one of those great young fighters. At #7 on our countdown, "Ratinho", as he's known in Brazil, explodes onto our countdown with a well-rounded, exciting style that could be the beginning of a long and successful career in the sport.

Offensive Skills: What's not to like about Lima? He's a lightning rod in an otherwise stale Brazilian mixed martial arts scene at bantamweight. There are only a few upper-tier prospects who garner the interest of the hardcore fanbase, but Lima has flown under the radar. His ability to press the action and aggressively seek out a finish has proven to be highly successful in his weight class. It almost seems as a surprise to many of his opponents who feel the young buck won't be able to challenge them on the mat.

Not even 20 years of age, "Ratinho" has shown promising weapons inside the cage. His striking could use some technical work, but it is improviing and continues to present a danger to his opponents. He's shown good footwork and speed in his stand-up game as well, and that same speed translates to the ground where he actively creates submission attempts. This kid is flat out exciting to watch.

Defensive Skills: Similarly to Denis Puric, Lima's best defense is his aggressive offense. Instantly throwing up triangle choke and armbar attempts as he's thrown to his back allows him to stifle any attempts by his opponents to thrash him from the top. While there is some concern that the power wrestlers of North America could take advantage in the future, it will be very interesting to see if they can account for the speed of his transitions.

Progression: There hasn't been a fight I've watched in which Lima wasn't putting the pedal to the metal. That type of strategy breeds a bit of sloppiness in the technical portion of his game, but he has improved considerably from his days as an amateur. His stand-up game has come a long way, but the addition of speedy footwork and a quick jab have allowed him to set up his bigger punches.

His ground game has benefited over time as well. Look no further than the escapes in his battle with D'Angelo de Souza Vieira. The fight ending escape in which Lima easily kicks Vieira off him and transitions to the bulldog choke is incredible to watch.

Bantamweight Featherweight Lightweight
#10 - Denis Puric
#9 - Mike Easton
#8 - Tommy Vargas
#7 - Rodrigo Lima
#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
Welterweight Middleweight Light Heavyweight
#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
#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

Environment: Lima trains out of Tata Fight Team, a camp that houses a large number of Brazilian prospects which includes middleweight Bruno Carvalho. His primary training partners are William Vianna, Sergio Bomba, Rogerio Paraiba, Fabiano Bob Sponja, Junior Preto, and many, many more that the camp houses.

The camp is run by Jorge Pereira Pinto, a nine-time Brazilian BJJ champion and four-time Pan-American BJJ champion. From some of the information I've gathered, Lima began training at Tata when he was only 13 years old through a social project that the gym had with the community. Lima was one of the kids pulled from the streets and into the gym, succeeding in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu very early. He's now a brown belt under Pinto.

Potential: Smoogy and myself stumbled upon "Ratinho" during a late night raid of an extensive featherweight prospect list that we had put together. One by one, we went through the list, finding footage and making cursory assessments as to whether to include a fighter for consideration. Lima was a guy we'd never heard a peep about from anyone in the mixed martial arts world. Then we saw some of the destruction he had laid on his prey and fell in love. Once we found out he was fighting at 135 lbs., it became evident he would grace our countdown.

Why are we excited about that? One of the reasons we've published these scouting report pieces is to inform our readers of some of the best young talent out there that would normally go unnoticed. Lima is the perfect example of that, amassing an undefeated record in Brazil that most fans look at similarly to your Midwestern can crusher. He's fighting nobodies, said the ignorant fan. It may be true if every regional scene were the same, but Brazil is one of the toughest. And Lima has succeeded before the age of 20. Keep an eye out for Rodrigo "Ratinho" Lima.

Video

Search for Rodrigo Ratinho on Youtube to peep a load of Muay Thai, amateur fights, and doing his best Gomi impression by surfing as well.

Rodrigo Lima vs. Luis Carlos

Rodrigo Lima vs. D'Angelo de Souza Vieira

Rodrigo Lima vs. Bruno Emilio

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