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Last pure grappler to face Tyron Woodley, Andre Galvao, picks Demian Maia to submit the UFC champion

Esther Lin, Strikeforce

Tyron Woodley has only fought one Brazilian in his entire MMA career, and will face another Brazilian jiu-jitsu expert in his next title defense at UFC 214.

Woodley was 6-0 in the sport when he entered the Strikeforce cage to meet grappling wizard Andre Galvao in 2010, and scored the first knockout of career. Seven years have passed since then, and now “The Chosen One” will put his UFC welterweight belt on the line against Demian Maia on July 29.

Maia has more experience than Galvao had when he fought Woodley, as Maia is gearing up for his 20th fight inside the Octagon. Maia, who started his grappling career alongside Galvao in Sao Paulo, was promised a shot at the gold after defeating Jorge Masvidal earlier this month, and Galvao believes in his countryman to win the title.

"Demian is a really intelligent guy, and Tyron Woodley is really strong,” Galvao told MMA Fighting. “(Woodley) is smart, too, and will obviously try everything he can to keep the fight standing against Demian. He will work on his takedown defense and against the fence a lot, for sure.

"But I think Demian is smarter and more experienced, and with great, well-timed takedowns. Demian deserves it and I will be cheering for him.”

Asked for a prediction, the ADCC absolute gold medalist didn’t hesitate.

”Demian will submit him in the second round,” Galvao said.

Currently scheduled to meet teammate and ADCC absolute winner Claudio Calasans at the ADCC 2017 super fight in Finland on Sept. 22-24, Galvao doesn’t rule out going back to mixed martial arts.

After winning the ADCC 2015 super fight in Sao Paulo, the jiu-jitsu black belt told MMA Fighting he received an offer from RIZIN Fighting Federation, but it didn’t work out.

"They haven’t talked (about) anything else,” Galvao said of the Japanese promotion, "and I’m moving on with my life."

Will he ever compete under MMA rules again?

"Only if I get a really good offer,” Galvao said.

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