2012 World MMA Middleweight Scouting Report: #1 - Antonio Braga Neto

Braganetoamazon_large_medium
Photo by Arthur Castro, GracieMag

Name: 22px-flag_of_brazil Antonio Braga Neto
Nickname: --
Age: 24
Height: 6'3"
Location:
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Brazil runs away with a clean sweep of the top three as slimmed down light heavyweight Antonio Braga Neto (7-1) chimes in at #1 on this year's report. The Roberto ‘Gordo' Correra Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt is currently in the midst of a three-fight unbeaten streak, miraculously submitting UFC veteran Maiquel Falcao late in the second round at Amazon Forest Combat I in September.

The match-up was one of the most dramatic comebacks of 2011 as Neto took an incredible beating at the hands of Falcao in the opening round. Ferocious combinations battered Neto's midsection and chin, but the Gracie Fusion fighter survived.

The tide turned in the second as a tired Falcao couldn't deal with Neto's grappling skills, yielding to a takedown attempt that left him trying to defend against ground and pound from the top. Minutes later, after bombing Falcao with elbows and punches, Neto secured a kimura to win.

The victory was a showcase of what Neto can do when he's up against a wall. He has excellent conditioning, solid takedowns, world-class grappling chops, and an incredibly durable chin. The combination of those skills has forged an unbelievable talent that can't ever be counted out during a fight.

Neto does, however, lack a stand-up game. He'll need to add something of substance to his punching in order to stop opponents from battering him, and that applies to his defensive tactics as well. Hopefully the boys at Gracie Fusion can help.

It's difficult to look at the 2012 World MMA Middleweight Scouting Report and say that Neto is the very best fighter among the group. The reality is that the top three are heavily reliant on world-class grappling to win while other fighters further down the list are more well-rounded, but far less skilled on the ground. What exactly does that mean? It means that the talent pool at 185 lbs. isn't as deep, skill-wise, as one would hope. Among the talent on this year's report, however, Neto is the most appealing, moving down to middleweight while also possessing an extensive BJJ background, huge frame and powerful takedowns. That should solidify his spot on this year's report, and it will undoubtedly earn him a look from the world's top organizations.

Check out video footage of Antonio Braga Neto after the jump...

Flyweight Bantamweight Featherweight Lightweight
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#1 - Rony Mariano
#2 - Aljamain Sterling
#3 - Chris Holdsworth
#4 - Josh Hill
#5 - Fabiano Fernandes
#6 - Claudio Ledesma
#7 - Sirwan Kakai
#8 - Kyoji Horiguchi
#9 - Leandro Hygo
#10 - Pedro Munhoz
#1 - Hacran Dias
#2 - Joey Gambino
#3 - Brandon Bender
#4 - Lance Palmer
#5 - Jim Alers
#6 - Anthony Gutierrez
#7 - Max Holloway
#8 - John Teixeira
#9 - Cody Bollinger
#10 - Bubba Jenkins
#1 - Fabricio Guerreiro
#2 - Alessandro Ferreira
#3 - Adriano Martins
#4 - Justin Salas
#5 - Neilson Gomes
#6 - Eduard Folayang
#7 - Zorobabel Moreira
#8 - Anton Kuivanen
#9 - Jordan Rinaldi
#10 - J.P. Vainikainen
Welterweight Middleweight Light Heavyweight Heavyweight
#1 - Andrey Koreshkov
#2 - Dhiego Lima
#3 - Brandon Thatch
#4 - Nordine Taleb
#5 - Hernani Perpetuo
#6 - Brock Jardine
#7 - Alan Jouban
#8 - Mohsen Bahari
#9 - Andre Santos
#10 - Stephen Thompson
#1 - Antonio Braga Neto
#2 - Marcelo Guimaraes
#3 - Claudio Silva
#4 - Bojan Velickovic
#5 - Ildemar Alcantara
#6 - Michal Materla
#7 - Elvis Mutapcic
#8 - Tor Troeng
#9 - Jack Hermansson
#10 - Tim Ruberg
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Scouting_report_medium

Antonio Braga Neto vs. Maiquel Falcao
Amazon Forest Combat I - September 14, 2011

Antonio Braga Neto vs. Ryo Kawamura (205)

Antonio Braga Neto vs. Fabiano Astorino
Fury FC 5 - December 6, 2007

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