2012 World MMA Flyweight Scouting Report: #4 - Rafael de Freitas

Photo by Deb Blyth

Name: 22px-flag_of_brazil Rafael de Freitas
Nickname: Barata
Age: < 30
Height: 5'6"
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico

This is a guest post by Rory MacLeod (smoogy)

The Ultimate Fighting Championship's selection process for their flagship televsion series The Ultmate Fighter has long been a point of contention among mixed martial arts fans. It seems that for each TUF winner who goes on to big success in the UFC, there is an under-the-radar prospect who was incredulously left off the roster. The latest edition of TUF featured two outstanding tournament victors in Diego Brandao and John Dodson, but inquiring minds want to know why Albequerque-based, Brazilian-born black belt Rafael de Freitas (5-0) was omitted from the bantamweight field.

De Freitas is a highly credentialed grappler with multiple podium finishes at traditional and No-gi World BJJ Championships plus a 2011 Pan-American title under his belt. He actually started his martial arts training with Capoeira lessons as young boy in Brasilia, eventually adding more striking arts like Karate, Boxing and Muay Thai to his repertoire. Rafael finally discovered Jiu-Jitsu at the age of 14 and it quickly became his focus.

His speed and creativity came in handy as he progressed up the ranks; as a purple belt, he improvised a unique shoulder lock attack that was dubbed The Barataplata. The move has truly become his signature as he has proven capable of finishing high-level grappling matches and professional MMA fights alike with the unusual inverted omoplata variation. Far from a gimmicky submission catcher, De Freitas possesses the smooth, explosive all-around technique one would expect from a decorated Carlos Gracie Jr. Black Belt.

In 2007, Rafael relocated from Brasilia to Albequerque, New Mexico, to teach Jiu-Jitsu at the local Gracie Barra affiliate. Since then he has fought exclusively on the New Mexico circuit, notching four wins in as many tries with three fights ending by submission. He submitted an audition tape for the fourteenth edition of TUF but failed to make an impression. With his advanced, well-rounded skillset, De Freitas is running out of quality opponents in Albequerque, so he will likely need to go on the road to find a big fight opportunity. If the UFC doesn't have room for Rafael among their flyweight ranks just yet, he may have to take a detour through Leemore, California's Tachi Palace Fights and their impressive 125lb. division first.

Since the birth of the UFC's flyweight division creates a question of who we should consider as prospects, we've tweaked the criteria specifically for this weight class. Most notably, we drew a line, excluding the following well-known, established flyweights: Jussier ‘Formiga' da Silva, Ulysses Gomez, Ian McCall, Yasuhiro Urushitani, BJ Kojima, Rambaa Somdet, Mamoru Yamaguchi, Dustin Ortiz, Darrell Montague, Danny Martinez, and any flyweights outside of our original criteria.

Footage of Rafael de Freitas after the fold...

Flyweight Bantamweight Featherweight Lightweight
#1 -
#2 -
#3 -
#4 - Rafael de Freitas
#5 - Alexandre Pantoja
#6 - Hector Sandoval
#7 - Jesse Riggleman
#8 - Sean Santella
#9 - Claudir Dutkevis
#10 - Kevin Belingon
#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
#1 - Wagner Prado
#2 - Phelipe Lins
#3 - Tom DeBlass
#4 - Misha Cirkunov
#5 - Kyle Cerminara
#6 - Robert Drysdale
#7 - Artur Alibulatov
#8 - Thiago Perpetuo
#9 - Steve Bosse
#10 - Juha Saarinen
#1 - Magomed Malikov
#2 - Magomed Abdurahimov
#3 - Alexei Kudin
#4 - Levan Razmadze
#5 - Chris Birchler
#6 - Ruslan Magomedov
#7 - Adam Parkes
#8 - Richardson Moreira
#9 - Jan Jorgensen
10 - David Oliva


Rafael de Freitas vs. Eric Buck

Rafael de Freitas vs. Josh Montoya

Rafael de Freitas vs. Joseph Salazar

Rafael "BARATA" Freitas TUF 14

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