You’ve gotta love Submission Underground (SUG). So Let’s talk about SUG 17, which will go down on Sunday, Aug. 30. The event is streamed on UFC Fight Pass only. The grappling promotion is well known for its leader, the infamous ‘Bad Guy’ from West Linn, Ore., Chael Sonnen.
As the promoter, Sonnen uses his ties to MMA’s finest to bring them into the grappling world for a showdown you normally wouldn’t see. MMA legends like Gabriel Gonzaga, Carlos Condit and a 300-pound Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson have graced the SUG octagon. The promotion uses EBI rules, which makes for a non-grappler friendly event.
Other current fighters have appeared in the center stage of SUG as well. Brent Primus, the former Bellator lightweight champion and BJJ black belt appeared on SUG 14. He defeated fellow MMA fighter and UFC title challenger Jake Shields. Current UFC Welterweight number-one contender, Gilbert ‘Durinho’ Burns, fought at SUG 10. He lost via heel hook against Craig Jones.
Submission Underground 17 preview
This weekend, the promotion packs a punch. They’ve bonded grappling and MMA perfectly. It brings back one of their most consistent competitors, Craig Jones. Jones has been busy during this quarantine, racking up victory after victory. He only missed one of the last nine SUG events, which is insane.
Let’s look at the undercard. Three DDS grapplers will bring their ‘dominate the inside’ style to the event. Ethan Crelinsten will face PJ Barch in a must-see for every grappler. Also on the card is Tristar representative and DDS junior member Pierre Olivier Le Clerc. He faces Checkmat’s Sid Skrob. The final junior member is Frank Rosenthal, who will fight Phill Schwartz.
I feel Crelinsten and Rosenthal will win based on experience and overall accomplishments. Even though Barch is an amazing grappler and trains the EBI format at 10th Planet, I think Crelinsten will be too much for him to handle. A more intriguing bout takes place, in my opinion, between Le Clerc and Skrob. Both have a preference for lower body attacks and are relentless submission hunters. I’m picking Skrob to pull off the upset on this one.
Roberto Jimenez vs Jesse Taylor – SUG 17
The first match of the Submission Underground 17 preview is between Roberto Jimenez and former UFC fighter Jesse Taylor. For grappling fans, Jimenez needs no introduction. He won double gold at the World Championship at purple belt and Absolute No Gi World Championship at brown. He has been on a tear since earning his black belt. This year alone, he has amassed a 19-6 record, with 13 submissions.
Taylor is a BJJ black belt and former MMA fighter. He had a record overall of 47-16, with 17 submission wins and 15 losses by submission. Taylor was briefly in the UFC, but became famous after incidents during his TUF appearance. He got kicked out of the finals when videos that showed him kicking out the windows of a limousine and confronting hotel staff surfaced.
On paper, it seems like Jimenez takes this match easy. He has the experience, submission abilities and aggression to make Taylor miserable. Taylor’s 17 career submissions may seem like a lot, but he’s also suffered 15 submission losses, which basically makes it a coin toss. But grappling is an unpredictable sport, and underdogs shock the world sometimes. Expect fireworks for this one as Jimenez has never been in a boring match.
Brent Primus vs Richie Martinez
Primus is a former Bellator Lightweight Champion with a 10-1 MMA record. Out of his 10 wins, six have come by way of submission and four by RNC. He has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, from Fabiano Sherner. Sherner is the head coach of Gracie Barra Portland and a regular on the SUG circuit. From what we’ve seen in Primus’ MMA fights, he has a very dynamic grappling style built for MMA. It will be interesting to see what type of game he implements in a grappling-only format.
Martinez is a 10th Planet black belt under Eddie Bravo. He is a rubber guard master who poses an unconventional game which is trouble for most high-level BJJ athletes. Martinez often attacks from unorthodox angles and has an extremely flexible bottom game, which helps him hit the angles and exposes limbs.
I think Martinez takes this, with his grappling and EBI experience. Primus will come out strong, but will eventually fade. Martinez will set his attacks, expose a limb and submit Primus.
Gillian Robertson vs Amanda Loewen
The third match is between Amanda Loewen and Gillian Robertson. Loewen is an accomplished SUG veteran. Her appearance at SUG 17 will be her sixth overall, all victories for the SBG representative. Loewen is a submission-hunting machine, and she is relentless in her attack, especially in No Gi.
Robertson is an MMA fighter in the UFC’s Flyweight division. She has six wins by submission in her MMA career, with four RNC victories and two armbars. It’s always good to see high-level MMA fighters mix it up with high level grapplers. I think Loewen takes this based on her aggressive submission attacks.
Craig Jones vs Mason Fowler
In the main event, Craig Jones will square off against Mason Fowler. This will be the third time these two meet. The first was at ADCC 2019. In that match, Jones snatched a guillotine from mount in the last seconds of the bout. The second encounter was a controversial one, where Fowler won via ‘verbal tap’ declared by the referee. The grappling community didn’t react well to the referee’s decision. Many athletes and personalities took to social media to express their disagreement.
The controversy has created a lot of expectations for this fight. I think this time Jones will submit Fowler. Fowler stalled the DDS representative to an overtime in their last match. Despite this, Jones’ submission skills have skyrocketed since moving to New York to train with Danaher and his crew. People mostly know him for his heel hooks, but his triangles and back attacks are next level as well. Expect him to come out to submit Fowler in regulation.
Fowler is a much more strategic competitor than Jones coming from the CTA camp. Expect him to have a clear strategy when facing Jones. He’ll try to avoid leg entanglements and stay on top, battling not to surrender inside position. He will once again try to stall to OT. Once he gets there, he has a better chance at attacking submissions with less risk.
I think Jones will have a better strategy for engaging with Fowler. Ultimately, I think they will go to overtime. Even in their first match they were close to reaching OT, and I think this time it won’t be any different. I believe Jones takes it in a hard-fought match.