Former TUF Season 8 runner-up, Vinny Magalhaes, is well-known to fans as both a stellar BJJ practitioner with several ADCC and Mundial medals to his name, and an outspoken critic of the promotion whose light heavyweight title he currently holds in absentia: M-1 Global. But Vinny is also somewhat notorious amongst some of his fellow Brazilian fighters and grapplers, as he spent time working with Chael Sonnen on his ground game in preparation for this Saturday's title fight against Anderson Silva at UFC 148.
Although Chael's submission defense was seen as a glaring weakness earlier in his career, he has dominated on the ground against solid grapplers like Dan Miller and Nate Marquardt in recent fights, and even against Silva in the first fight before a few seconds of carelessness in the final round led to the champ ensnaring a fight-ending triangle choke. Working with Vinny, Chael was hoping to shore up not only his defensive BJJ, but his submission attacks as well, which was evident in the aggressive grappling he displayed against Brian Stann before choking him out in the second round.
In a recent interview with Tatame, Vinny touched on what he was working on with Chael to defend against Silva's attacks, but also his surprising thoughts on how Chael could threaten "The Spider" on the mat. Check it out after the jump:
How is he doing on the ground? Is he better? Did you teach him how to defend that triangle choke?
Everybody asks me "is he better than the first time?". Well, he dominated Anderson on the floor. Did he make a mistake? Yes, he did. But Anderson was trying to fit this position the entire time and the guy got caught. On the last moments he end up being caught. Obviously he needed to work some more and correct some flaws here and there, but in the big picture Chael is a good fighter on the floor, he’s just not excellent, not prepared in terms of details like Anderson and other Brazilians. We’ve worked on many things, we worked the defense of the triangle, arm-bars, but my focus is on him controlling the fight like he did last time, but in positions that are comfortable for him. One thing I told him I didn’t like was that he kept the tight guard and on a very low posture. We tried to change that. if he has the chance to break into Andersons guard, submit him in some positions I believe he will because he has great control when on the top. But we trained everything and I didn’t only train defense because, from where I’m standing, I guess for you to defend yourself from something you first have to be put on a bad situation and my idea is not letting Anderson get anywhere near that. We trained attacks and obviously the defense of coups he had been mistaken about before, like the triangle choke.
What are your predictions for this fight? Does Sonnen have chances to win?Man, it’s not only because I trained with him, but I believe he has a hard style for Anderson to defeat. I’m a fan of Anderson as a fighter and I guess he has proven to be the best fighter in the world in terms of results, but sometimes you’re much better than a guy here and there but the guy has one weapon which is so strong you can’t have it with him and I guess that’s the problem on this Chael-Anderson fight. Anderson might be much better then Chael on the floor, much better on the stand-up, but Chael’s style is hard on Anderson and I believe it will go the same way as the first one did: Chael taking him down and controlling him from the top. If he believes in his game, I believe he can submit Anderson this time. Now, if he doesn’t submit him, he’s gonna win via points.