World MMA Scouting Report Update: Welterweights

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#1 - Yuri Villefort (6-0)

News
The only relevant news in the last few months regarding the young prospect out of American Top Team is that he is no longer with American Top Team. Yuri, his brother Danillo, Jorge Santiago, and Gesias Cavalcante all split from the Coconut Creek, Florida-based camp to form their own team just recently. Muay Thai world champion Cosmo Alexandre, K-1 kickboxer turned mixed martial artist Vitor Miranda, and former UFC champion Rashad Evans are reportedly with the camp as well, although Evans hasn't declared it a permanent residence. 

Villefort was in negotiations to fight Mike "The Greek" Bronzoulis at Shark Fights 14, but the fight never materialized. Bronzoulis is a solid up-and-coming prospect, and he may have been a little much for Villefort at this stage in his career. He is currently unbooked for any upcoming bouts.

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#2 - Alex Garcia (10-1)

Recent Bouts
11/13/2010: vs. Tyler Jackson (9-7-1) - Win (4:51 R1, RNC)
04/09/2011: vs. Seth Baczynski (13-6) - Loss - (2:44 R2, TKO)

News
Garcia had a major setback this month as The Ultimate Fighter season eleven contestant Seth Baczynski pounded out Garcia with brutal ground and pound in the second round of action at Ringside 10. Garcia showed his overpowering strength and solid striking ability early in the fight, and his top position game was good enough to control the lankier Baczynski for most of the first round. Unfortunately, Baczynski's size wore on Garcia in the second, especially when Garcia found himself in unfamiliar territory... on his back. 

Placing Garcia at #2 purely based on offensive prowess is a risk we were willing to take, but it's obvious that Garcia's true standing may be lower on the countdown. His grappling skills will need improvements if he ever plans on making a name for himself in a promotion like the UFC.

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#3 - Erick Silva (11-1)

Recent Bouts
10/30/2010: vs. Gil de Freitas (0:57, R3, Guillotine Choke)
10/30/2010: vs. Francisco Ayon (1:07, R1, Arm Triangle)

News
Rumors suggest that the 26-year-old may be headed to the UFC very soon. With an endorsement from current UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, Erick will likely benefit from other top fighters in the UFC pushing his stock up with the UFC's brass. Look for him to make a splash in the UFC this year if the silence continues in Brazil. No news regarding any upcoming bouts for him.

 

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#4 - Douglas Lima (18-4)

Recent Bouts
04/08/2011: vs. Terry Martin - Win - (1:14, R1, TKO)

News
If you have a pulse to the happenings around the MMA world, I'll assume that you tuned into MFC 29 on HDNet back on April 8th. Lima showed fans that his stand-up game is improving, utilizing his lengthy reach and a strong jab to dispatch of UFC veteran Terry Martin in the first round of action. The UFC is likely his next stop.

At this point, Lima is the #1 welterweight prospect in the world. There are a few guys with more potential, but Lima is easily the best active welterweight outside the UFC. 

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Get updates on our #5 through #10 welterweight fighters after the jump...


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#5 - Luis "Sapo" Santos (48-6)

Recent Bouts
10/14/2010: vs. Ivan Jorge - Win - (0:52, R1, KO)
12/15/2010: vs. William Dias - Win - Unanimous decision
04/15/2011: vs. Dave Lehr Cochran - Win - (0:46, R1, TKO)

Upcoming Bouts
05/21/2011:
 vs. Rory Markham @ Bellator

News
Santos signed a four-fight deal 
with Bellator back in January. He didn't officially confirm a bout with the promotion until April, a debut bout against UFC veteran Rory Markham. Rumors were circulating that he may eventually vie for the Bellator welterweight strap that Ben Askren currently possesses, but it would be beneficial for Bellator to give Santos some time to impress audiences with his gunslinging style of fighting. He is a treat that fans will love to watch.

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#6 - Jesse Juarez (15-6)

Recent Bouts
11/12/2010: vs. Douglas Lima - Loss - (2:37, R3, Triangle Choke)

Upcoming Bouts
07/23/2011:
vs. Marius Zaromskis @ CCF Bushido

News
There is doubt whether CCF Bushido will go off without a hitch as the event has been advertising that it will be run under PRIDE rules, or at least some sort of modified version that might be more of a DREAM ruleset. In any case, Juarez will have his hands full as he battles DREAM Welterweight Grand Prix champion Marius Zaromskis in the main event of the evening. I'd bank on Juarez prevailing in that match-up by utilizing his superior wrestling ability and smother Zaromskis. 

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#7 - Gunnar Nelson (8-0)

Recent Bouts
09/25/2010: vs. Eugene Fadiora - Win - (3:51, R1, RNC)

News
According to Hywel Teague (@hywelteague), Nelson is currently on a sabbatical away from the sport, training in Jiu-Jitsu and kickboxing in various parts of the world. When the report first came out, Teague informed me that Nelson was training in England and making trips to a few Nordic countries. He's still very active in his progression as a fighter, choosing to improve himself along with living his life the way he intends to without the pressures of being punched in the face. If you recall, this was the very reason we ranked him so low this year.

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#8 - Quinn Mulhern (15-1)

Recent Bouts
12/04/2010: vs. Garett Davis - Win - Unanimous decision - Title unification bout
04/16/2011: vs. Anselmo Martinez - Win - (R1, RNC) - KOTC title defense

News
Mulhern continues to progress through the ranks, gaining notice from major MMA media due to his impressive performances under the King of the Cage banner and the exposure that HDNet has provided him. He has also been one of the few prospects who has stayed active and continued winning, defeating both Garett Davis and Anselmo Martinez after our report had published. His strength of competition hasn't been great, but you can bet that Mulhern has taken full advantage of the this time to improve and make a case for his inclusion in the UFC. 

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#9 - Alberto Mina (6-0)

Recent Bouts
None

News
I would love to hear some news about Mina. Anybody? 

 

 

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#10 - Joe Ray (4-1)

Recent Bouts
12/03/2010: vs. Jeremy Smith - Loss - Split decision
04/16/2011: vs. John Kelly - Cancelled

News
Ray was one of the first prospects on our countdown to compete following the publishing of the Scouting Report. In the lead-up interviews during the HDNet broadcast of XFC 13, it was apparent that his opponent had read the report, and it had given him a little insight into what Ray possesses offensively. That was the moment in which we realized that the list may serve as a curse for some of these fighters on the countdowns, perhaps shoving them into fights they may not be ready for at this stage in their careers. Fortunately, the XFC 13 bout with Jeremy Smith was a good fight for Ray at this point in his career. On the downside, the judges proved to be incompetent and robbed Ray of a legitimate win in my eyes.

He was scheduled to fight in April, but the event was cancelled for unknown reasons. Look for Ray to get another fight very soon. I imagine he isn't pleased about working through a training camp and not getting a fight.

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