Glover Teixeira (top) | Marcelo Alonso/Sherdog.com
Anderson Silva, Jose Aldo, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante -- suffice to say, there’s no shortage of Brazilian champions in MMA right now.
But the country already has a new crop of athletes on the rise. 2010 saw up-and-comers like Edson Mendes Barboza Jr., Charles “do Bronx” Oliveira, Maiquel Jose Falcao Goncalves and Renan “Barao” go from relative obscurity to contendership under the Zuffa banner. 2011 could be the year for even more Brazilian fighters to shine in international rings.
Below is a sample of that emerging talent: a list of 10 Brazilian fighters to keep an eye on this year, many of whom are certain to star in some of 2011’s best battles.
Glover Teixeira (11-2)
Largely considered the top fighter currently operating in Brazil, Teixeira boasts an excellent striking game honed by years of training with the likes of Chuck Liddell at The Pit in California. The 205-pound powerhouse also possesses great submission wrestling skills: in 2009, he submitted nearly all of his opponents en route to winning the 2009 Abu Dhabi Combat Club Brazilian Trials, and a solid showing at the World Championships. Teixeira hasn’t fought in the United States since 2008 due to visa issues, which have continued to plague him as he’s tried to fight internationally. However, Teixeira assures that it will all be resolved in the first half of 2011. Pegged by training partner Pedro Rizzo as a potential elite light heavyweight, Teixeira may be able to prove Rizzo right if he should sign with a major American promotion.
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