The former UFC title challenger will make his transition to the grappling world to take on ADCC winner Andre Galvao in a submission-only, 20-minute match at Metamoris 4 on Aug. 9 in Los Angeles. Sonnen’s jiu-jitsu coach doesn’t see a chance that the MMA veteran basically runs for 20 minutes.
"I don’t believe the fight will go that way because Chael refuses to do an ugly fight," Fabiano Scherner told MMAFighting.com. "He will go straight forward against Galvao. He’s training for a 20-minute fight, a good fight, not like what Schaub did against ‘Cyborg.’
"Chael likes to be a showman. Sometimes he just doesn’t care much if he loses since he has a good performance. He wants to do his best and do a good fight, and he has to fight if he wants to do that, he can’t hide."
A three-time no-gi world champion, "Pega-Leve" wouldn’t call Sonnen the moral victor if he survives 20 minutes at Metamoris 4, but agrees that Galvao has more to lose in this match.
"There no points and he’s fighting the best grappler in the world today, and Galvao always goes for submissions, so Chael doing 20 minutes without being submitted… It’s hard to call it a win, but for the facts involved, it wouldn’t be a good result for Galvao," he said. "But I can’t call it a win for Chael. It will depend on how the fight goes. Schaub wasn’t submitted by ‘Cyborg,’ but it was a horrible fight."
Sonnen won’t get in the mat to defend himself only, and he has been working for Scherner for quite a long time.
"He started to work with me when he was training for Wanderlei Silva, but then the fight was cancelled and everything," he said. "We changed his strategy because it’s a grappling fight now. He has fought MMA for years, he doesn’t even remember the last time he fought a grappling match, but we’re basically getting him ready for a 20-minute fight against the best grappler in the world right now."
The West Linn star competed in MMA from 1997 to 2013, and training for mixed martial arts for so long added weapons to his wrestling game that he won’t be able to use against Galvao.
"At first, we had to do some basics stuff because he was fighting like he used to in MMA, like resting inside his opponent’s guard. He had to stop doing that," he said. "He won’t have an easy time in this fight because you can’t punch. His defense was cut in half for this fight. I had to do some basics with him, submission and sweeps defense, but his game started to evolve over the past few weeks.
"A lot of Gracie Barra guys came to Portland to train with him, guys with a great game from the bottom," "Pega-Leve" continued. "We trained him to defend, but he also has to attack Galvao’s guard. He can’t defend only because he would become predictable. He has to fight more, try to sweep him. He’s focused on this fight, so it’s been easy to train him. His grappling has evolved a lot."
Galvao never had the same success in MMA as he did in jiu-jitsu and grappling. The Brazilian competed in MMA for a couple years in the past, fighting the likes of Tyron Woodley and Jason High at Strikeforce and Dream, but having several jiu-jitsu world titles and ADCC gold medals makes him the huge favorite against Sonnen.
"Everybody is wondering how long will it take for Galvao to submit Chael. Everybody is waiting for that, waiting for a submission," he said. "Galvao is the current ADCC champion, recently fought at the BJJ World Championship, and is fighting a MMA fighter that has been submitted several times in MMA fights. A lot of guys are expecting an easy fight for Galvao, and I really hope Galvao is also thinking like that."