World MMA Bantamweight Scouting Report: #1 - Eduardo Dantas

Coming as no surprise to many of our fine readers, Nova Uniao's Eduardo Dantas ranks at #1 on our 2011 World MMA Bantamweight Scouting Report. The Shooto veteran entered the sport back in March of 2007 at the youthful age of 18. Since that time, he's amassed an impressive 10-2 record with victories over Shinichi Kojima, Luiz Alberto Nogueira, and Hiromasa Ogikubo. Masakatsu Ueda's victory over Dantas for the Shooto 132 lb. title in July of 2009 was a small setback in Dantas' quick progression to the top, but the 22-year-old has the potential to be a long-standing champion in a major promotion like the UFC in the future.

Offensive Skills: Dantas has all the tools to be a top five, possibly top three, bantamweight in the UFC. He has strong stand-up skills, using his reach and range tactics to pepper opponents while also exploding through flying knees and aggressive flurries to surprise his prey. He has a diverse kicking game, utilizing leg and body kicks to damage his opponents from a safe distance, and he possesses key intangibles that make him one of the best strikers in the prospect pool -- a rock solid chin and fearlessness of the counter.

On the ground, Dantas is equally dangerous. He possesses highly-technical Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills. He's a threat from the top or the bottom, uses his long limbs to maintain an active, high guard against his opponents, and can consistently threaten with submissions from anywhere on the mat.

Defensive Skills: Dantas' takedown defense is a work in progress. He has shown above average ability to stuff takedowns, but he hasn't faced a world class wrestler in his career yet. He doesn't seem to care about being on his back either, somewhat limiting how we can view where he is in his progression defensively.

On the feet, Dantas' lackadaisical defense of his chin is somewhat of a concern. He tends to leave his hands down, although that's mostly due to the fact that he's eying an aggressive rush at his opponent's chin. Obviously, at this early stage in his career, he hasn't felt the effects of being pummeled in the jawline repeatedly. Hopefully, protecting his chin is on the priority list of areas to improve.

Progression: From fight to fight, Dantas is improving slightly. Some fans might see that as a bad thing, but Dantas entered the sport as an elite level fighter from the start. In only his fourth fight, he defeated flyweight kingpin Shinichi Kojima, an enormous feat considering he was only 18 years old at the time. Stiffer competition will reveal the major areas he'll need to improve upon, but at this stage in his career -- it's difficult to assessment where he's deficient when he's been so effective.

Environment: Dantas trains out of Nova Uniao in Brazil, and he's served as one of Jose Aldo's consistent training partners during his rise to fame in the WEC and now UFC. I don't think I need to tell fans how important Dantas' camp is to his development. We all know that Nova Uniao is one of the premier camps in Brazil.

Bantamweight Featherweight Lightweight
#1 - Eduardo Dantas
#2 - Farkhad Sharipov
#3 - Jimmie Rivera
#4 - Yusup Saadulaev
#5 - John Lineker
#6 - Adrian Wooley
#7 - Rodrigo Lima
#8 - Tommy Vargas
#9 - Mike Easton
#10 - Denis Puric
#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

Potential: Shooto fighters were one of the problems when we initially laid out our criteria for the countdown. Was Shooto considered a major organization in the lower weight classes? Yes and no. Ueda, who has been ranked in the top 25 here at BloodyElbow.com for a long time, was axed from our list due to his acceptance as a top-flight fighter. Dantas, despite battling Ueda in the past, had yet to reach a plateau in which many fans knew of him, and the same could be said for our #1 ranked featherweight prospect Antonio Carvalho. Thus, Dantas was included in our pool of talent, and an easy consideration for #1.

Dantas is the most well-rounded fighter on the countdown, period. He has the stand-up and ground skills to threaten opponents at any moment in a fight. At 22 years of age, Dantas is already considered one of the very best in his weight class who has yet to prove it to the droves of fans in the UFC. With the support of Nova Uniao and an evolving arsenal of weapons, Eduardo Dantas' name will be in the spotlight over the course of the next few years. You can count on it.

Video

Eduardo Dantas vs. Hiromasa Ogikubo


Eduardo "Dudu" Dantas vs Fabio Oliveira



Eduardo Dantas vs Shinichi Kojima



Masakatsu Ueda vs Eduardo Dantas


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