Chael Sonnen and Guilherme Vasconcelos connected on “TUF: Brazil 3.” | Marcelo Alonso/Sherdog.com
The talent level on Season 3 of “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil” has impressed Chael Sonnen.
“Most of the fights are so [evenly matched] that the results would be different each time,” Sonnen recently told Sherdog.com.
One such example of that was the quarterfinal matchup between Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialists Ricardo Abreu and Guilherme Vasconcelos. Vasconcelos would lose a narrow decision, but he impressed Sonnen enough for the former middleweight title challenger to invite him to the United States to help him prepare to face Wanderlei Silva at UFC 175 on July 5.
The friendship between Sonnen and Vasconcelos continued to grow over the past month, so much so that Sonnen asked UFC President Dana White to give the Brazilian a chance in the Octagon. White not only agreed, but he also put the fighter known as “Bomba” on the same card as his “TUF” coach. Vasconcelos will square off with Luke Zachrich in a preliminary contest at UFC 175.
“Fighting in the UFC is a dream come true, and to do it in Mandalay Bay in the biggest event of the year is just unbelivable,” Vasconcelos said. “You can bet I´ll work hard to make it a great fight.”
Vasconcelos credits Sonnen for helping him get to this point in his career.
“Sonnen was absolutely important in making it happen. He saw me fighting; he saw me training and he saw that I never gave up, even when I lost,” Vasconcelos said. “He saw my potencial and asked Dana White to give me a chance on the same card that he is fighting.”
A 32-year-old representative of the Ronin Training Center, Zachrich come up short in his Octagon debut, falling to Caio Magalhaes via TKO in 44 seconds at UFC on Fox 11. Vasconcelos believes that setback makes Zachrich a dangerous adversary.
“That fact that he is coming off a defeat just makes him more hungry,” the Brazilian said. “I´m studying his game with my teachers. I believe we will make a great fight. All I wish is that the the best man shall win.”
As for the highly-anticipated showdown between Sonnen and “The Axe Murderer,” Vasconcelos expects his coach to give the former Chute Boxe standout all he can handle.