Submission Underground 18 hit us with nonstop grappling expertise from beginning to end. We got to see the second defense for current champion Mason Fowler against a new challenge in former ADCC winner Vinny Magalhães, who himself faced his first SUG match since his loss to former champion Craig Jones. Outside the main event, the whole card saw phenomenal performances from the likes of Sub Spectrum Champion William Tackett and Gracie Barra Black Belt Kendall Ruesing.
(Brief shout out to fellow JJT writer Emil Fisher who put on a commendable performance against Hunter Colvin on the under card! The rainbow unicorn will doubtless be seen in action again before you know it.)
William Tackett proved he doesn’t need any time off to get a W. Coming off his win at Who’s Number One days prior, the very polite terminator pulled off a sub inside regulation with a beautiful RNC against Gabriel Checco. Playing off his back the majority of the match, Tackett was able to take the back of Checco against the cage at the 2:50 mark before quickly wrapped things up.
Kendall Reusing earned an OT victory against Leah Taylor with the faster submission. Reusing dominated regulation with mount control and constant attacks, with Taylor finding some success later in the match with an escape to knee bar attempt. Reusing then ended the OT in a similar dominant fashion with a quick armbar followed by faster escape.
But the main event was definitely one to remember, with an overtime performance for the ages from the Champion, Mason Fowler.
Mason began aggressing early by forcing Vinny against the cage. A mistaken eye poke from Mason against Vinny was resolved quickly between the two, and the pressure resumed from Mason. The fight remained there with some heavy collar ties from Vinny despite the constant force from Mason controlling the center. The fight failed to go to the ground in regulation with both men looking like absolute tanks on the feet, and we went to the coin flip.
Mason won, and went for the infamous back control that gave former champion Craig Jones a rude awakening. Locking in the body triangle despite Vinny nearly escaping, Mason proceeded to showcase his herculean strength in holding Vinny down. Vinny, no stranger to tough opponents, managed to work his way out of the lock at about the minute mark. A lightning quick transition to an armbar attempt from Mason was able to extend the ride time a few more seconds before Vinny finally escaped. Mason begins OT with 1:08 in ride time.
Vinny proceeded to select the right side armbar for his start position. At the buzzer, Mason exploded up to stack Vinny and begins working to free his arm. A testament to his defensive acumen, Mason was able to free his arm in under 30 seconds.
Round two began with Mason going back to the back and falling to his left side. We saw more hand fighting from Vinny, but Mason’s control remained strong as the ride time begins to stack up. Finally able to turn out, Vinny got free at the :36 mark.
Returning to the right side armbar, Mason immediately went to stack again but failed to get his posture. Vinny capitalized, and fully extended Mason’s arm for what looked like a guaranteed submission. With shocking efficiency, Mason pushed Vinny’s leg to free his head to lessen the pressure on his elbow, before posting his leg against Vinny’s face to free his arm. Easily one of the most impressive escapes to grace the SUG cage.
Mason’s back on the back for round three, both men looking noticeably fatigued. Mason was able to maintain control despite Vinny working to his left side and fighting his grips. At the :58 minute mark however, Vinny was able to turn out of Mason’s open guard to return to offense.
Again attacking the right arm, Vinny put up a good effort despite Mason immediately able to start stacking. At the end of a long, grueling overtime, Mason was able to free his arm at the :22 second mark to retain his title as SUG champion with the best escape/ride time.
A night of excellent matches to be sure, and an event to further cement SUG as a promotion to watch in the world of professional grappling.