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Welcome to the UFC, Carneiro & Dos Santos Jr.

Two fresh Brazilian faces have been added to the UFC ranks, with the arrival of a new featherweight and a new middleweight fighter.

The stream of young talent in MMA, at times, seems unending. It's remarkable how unremarkable it's become to see young, skilled fighters coming in to the UFC. Guys with strong winning records out of decent camps, just waiting in the wings for their opportunity to shine. Two such Brazilian fighters have gotten that opportunity, on the back of injuries to their peers. Dan Miller recently had to bow out of his bout against Daniel Sarafian at UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Dollaway. In his place, the UFC reports, comes Antonio dos Santos Junior. Also slated for the Fight Night Barueri card was Rony Jason vs. Tom Niinimaki. Jason was removed due to injury on Tuesday, his replacement will be Renato Carneiro, as reported by MMAJunkie. So...

Who is Antonio dos Santos Jr.?

The 26-year old Jungle Fight middleweight champion "Junior Alpha" makes his way to the UFC with a 6-1 record. It's not an amazing list of opponent's but he's generally faced reasonable regional opposition, given his relative lack of experience. Of his six wins, five come by KO, three in the first round. He trains out of Champion Team, alongside one time UFC fighter Edilberto "Crocota" and current UFC bantamweight Hugo Viana. In general, it's a camp with a reputation for producing very competitive regional talent.

What you should expect:

It's hard not to be excited for a fighter with Junior Alpha's skill set. He has the look of a very stable Muay Thai base, anchored by his tree trunk legs and powerful frame. In a lot of ways, he reminds me of a middleweight Pat Barry. He flicks quick powerful kicks out to the legs and head of his opponent and has a darting in and out boxing game that puts a ton of power behind even his short punches. While he's certainly a striker first and formost, he's also got amazingly heavy ground and pound from top position and is adept at maintaining control positions when he gets to them. It's very hard to say how well rounded the rest of his game is, as he tends to KO opponents quick, but he has the making of a really exciting talent. His KO loss showed some defensive (and fitness) liabilities, but that was more than two years ago and he looks to have improved a lot since then.

What this means for his debut:

Really tough to say. At heart, I'd say that he's fully capable of beating Daniel Sarafian, who has looked worse and worse each time out. But, the very short notice nature of this fight puts a lot of doubt on that. Junior Alpha is the better striker, and I'd say he looks like the more natural and powerful athlete, but it he has a bad cut, or gets taken down early, this fight could go a lot of ways. It's not the safe pick, but I think I'd take Antonio dos Santos Junior to win his UFC debut, even on short notice. I just don't have faith in where Sarafian is right now.

To get us better acquainted, here's his bout against Douglas Bertazini at Jungle Fight 74:

Who is Renato Carneiro?

The second new addition to the UFC is Renato "Moicano" Carneiro. The 26-year old is another Jungle Fight Champion, holding their interim featherweight title along with a 8-0-1 pro record. It's an amazingly solid record as well, with wins over Iliarde Santos, Marcos "Capitao," Joao Luiz Nogueira, and most recently Ismael Bonfim. His only draw comes to fellow prospect Felipe Froes. For a rising fighter, Carneiro has faced the best competition possible. He trains out of Constrictor Team with Rani Yahya, Gilberto Dias, and Adriano Moraes. Carneiro could very well be a talent to watch.

What you should expect:

Carneiro has a functional, if unexciting kickboxing game. He throws straight punches and snapping kicks at all levels. He melds that striking game with a very fast, and reactive double leg takedown and generally solid wrestling. He shows very good takedown defense, and does an excellent job maintaining balance while pushing his opponents off their shot. When he gets top control on the ground, he's fairly selective with his striking, picking shots to try and open his opponent up to submission attempts. Coupled with a great squeeze (he hit his last RNC one handed) this makes him a really potent back control grappler.

What this means for his debut:

Much like the debut of Junior Alpha above, Moicano's success is going to be somewhat dependent on his opponent. Tom Niinimaki was a fighter that everyone expected to find success in the UFC once he got there. Instead, he's hit rapidly diminishing returns. Both Chas Skelly and Nicklas Backstrom were able to submit Niinimaki quickly and violently, which is supposed to be Niinimaki's wheelhouse. Carneiro looks like he has that kind of potential as well. He's a good athlete, a functional kickboxer, and a strong wrestler and grappler. The matchup has been set as a bad one for the Finnish fighter. Of course, Carneiro is also coming in on short notice, which could serve him poorly in his debut against a much more experienced fighter. Eventually, however, I think the years may be catching up to Niinimaki and this is a fight that Carneiro has all the tools to win.

To get us better acquainted, here's Carneiro's most recent bout against Ismael Bonfim at Jungle Fight 71: