Some grappling purists were let down when the Metamoris 4 headlining matchup was announced as Chael Sonnen vs. Andre Galvao, but company President Ralek Gracie believes it will be a great no-gi contest.
Speaking on Ariel Helwani's The MMA Hour yesterday, Gracie stated that while Sonnen may not be a decorated Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt like Galvao, he is still a very competent grappler, per MMA Fighting.
"It really was kind of a perfect fit for him (Sonnen) be able to say ‘you know what, I’m having trouble with the commission in the MMA industry, (so) it would be a great opportunity for me to do something at Metamoris and have a chance to do something.’ ... We figured doing something with someone like Chael vs. Andre Galvao. That’s such a huge stylistic kind of battle there. There’s so much to Chael, obviously the way he approaches his matches and the controversy he brings with his whole style. I think that, aside from that, the way he kind of comes through and very suddenly may pull something off, he may come in and really surprise people."
Gracie went on to say that, with or without testosterone replacement therapy, "The American Gangster" could put some black belts he knows in "serious trouble" on the mat in a pure jiu-jitsu scenario.
Sonnen retired earlier this month after failing a random drug test administered by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for two anti-estrogenic drugs, which he said were intended to help him get his hormone levels back to normal following the commission's TRT ban, per FOX Sports.
Early in his MMA career, Sonnen, a two-time Division I All-American wrestler at the University of Oregon, was known for anything but his submission defense: eight of his first 11 losses came via submission.
However, his grappling game had become more well-rounded in recent memory after he started training in BJJ with highly regarded second-degree black belt Vinny Magalhaes.
While Sonnen is 3-3 since getting submitted by then-middleweight champ Anderson Silva at UFC 117 in August 2010, two of those victories came via submission (one over Brian Stann, the other over Mauricio Rua).
With all that in mind, it would be tough to argue that Sonnen could hold a candle to Galvao's jiu-jitsu credentials.
The Brazilian is a seven-time world Jiu-Jitsu champion, as well as a three-time Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) gold medalist—the world's premier no-gi grappling tournament.
A member of San Diego's Atos Jiu-Jitsu gym, Galvao is a third-degree black belt in BJJ and remains one of the most recognized and active competitors in and out of the gi.
The Metamoris scoring system calls for 20-minute, submission-only matches, meaning no points are awarded to either competitor and all matches that do not end in a finish are called a draw.
Will Sonnen vs. Galvao actually be a highly competitive, entertaining affair after all or will it just be Sonnen tapping out in a matter of seconds?