Who will win? Please tell us below. | Photo: Alan Ribeiro de Oliveira
Chael Sonnen has fought Demian Maia and trained with Jake Shields.
He’s picking Shields to prevail when they meet Wednesday at UFC Fight Night 29 in Brazil. In an interview with the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Rewind” show, Sonnen broke down the matchup and much more.
On their ground games: “I think that they’re both very active. Demian Maia is extremely aggressive and he will try things, but he tries very high-percentage techniques. Demian Maia never loses position or hits something reckless, falls off the guy. Almost every submission Maia goes for, he gets. He doesn’t try a lot of stuff unless it’s there. Jake Shields is the same way. Jake Shields has got three big submissions. You go back and look at his fight career, he’s got three things. He’s got the armbar, the guillotine and the rear-naked. This is his bread and butter, but he can set those up in many different ways. If there’s anything we’ve learned from Ronda Rousey, you don’t need tremendous variation. You just need something that nobody else can stop. That seems to be where Shields is at.”
On their wrestling: “Jake Shields is a lot more technically correct. If you were going to bring one of the two in to coach your son specifically in wrestling, you want Shields. It’s not even a question. Maia’s very sloppy. When I watch his techniques … it’s stuff that I would teach my kids specifically not to do. However, he is so effective at it. … Maia’s stuff works. From a technical and textbook standpoint, it shouldn’t. I’m only talking about his takedowns. On the ground this guy’s a wizard. But it does -- it works, and it works because he’s resilient. It works because if the first one fails, he hits you with the second one. If the second one fails, the third shot is coming. He stays on it and he’s determined and he’s stubborn.”
On Maia’s technical flaws when it comes to wrestling: “First off, one of the most important things is your head position and whether your head’s up or down, where you’re looking, where you’re driving to. If you’re looking down, you can’t drive up. He always has his head in the wrong spot. The most important thing is where your hips are. His hips are back. He’s bent over at the waist. And third, he’s attacking the wrong spots of the body. He’s attacking at the knee as opposed to the hips of his opponent.
“As much as this sounds like I’m putting him down, I really mean this as a compliment. As a wrestler, I’m so fascinated at how he’s getting these things to work. What is it that he’s doing? How is it that he can go out there with a guy like Jon Fitch, use sloppy technique and have it work all night long? … I was a pretty good wrestler myself. He hit me with something that wouldn’t even be a wrestling move you would ever try. I mean, a 6-year-old wouldn’t try it. He throws me all through the air. I land on my head and I’m going, ‘Well, what in the heck was that?’ And I still don’t know. That move doesn’t even have a name. He made it up.”
On how Shields controls opponents: “He understands positioning as well as anybody. His pace and pressure are tremendous. Joe Rogan says that he has an iron will, and he’s right. Jake Shields, if a fight’s 15 minutes, he is going all 15. He is completely focused. … He never beats himself. He never puts himself in a bad position. He never goes for a submission that fails and then he loses control. He never goes for a takedown [and] when he slips, he ends up on bottom. He’s very aware of where he’s at at all times. He’s very determined and he’s very, very focused.”
On who will win: “I’m picking Shields. I think that Shields is going to wrestle him. I think he’s going to get to the top position … for longer than Maia does. I don’t believe anyone’s going to submit Jake Shields. I don’t believe anyone’s going to submit Maia. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch on the ground. I think they’re going to be pretty active. I think it’s going to be great on their feet. I think it’s going to be pretty wild.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 23:37).