Chael Sonnen scored his first Bellator win recently, defeating his longtime rival Wanderlei Silva via unanimous decision at Madison Square Garden. Now, one of Silva’s teammates wants a piece of “The American Gangster”.
Bellator middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho was waiting for the promotion to set up his next title defense after he knocked out Melvin Manhoef in May, but is now willing to move up to 205 pounds to face Sonnen.
“I want to challenge Sonnen,” Carvalho told MMA Fighting. “Instead of doing another title defense, make this superfight.”
Sonnen, a two-time middleweight title contender in the UFC, moved up to the light heavyweight division in 2013 to challenge then-champion Jon Jones, going 2-3 in the division with wins over Mauricio Rua and “The Axe Murderer”.
“He only has that wrestling game, and I believe that after I defend his first three takedowns, he won’t shoot anymore,” Carvalho said. “I'll be honest with you, nothing he did (against Wanderlei Silva) surprised me. Standing and trading with Wanderlei is not for everyone, and Sonnen is not stupid. He realized that when he tried and almost got knocked out."
Carvalho holds a 5-0 record under the Bellator banner with three knockout finishes, and wouldn't expect to go to championship rounds against Sonnen.
“With a knee. In the third round,” Carvalho said when asked how he envisions himself stopping Sonnen. “I would induce him to go for a takedown and I would find an opening for my knee."