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Submission Underground 14: UFC and Bellator stars compete in sub-only event


Hot on the heels of his last show, SUG 13 on April 26th., Chael Sonnen is bringing another stacked card of sub-only grappling to UFC Fight Pass on Sunday, May 31st., 2020.  Returning to headline the card, Aussie grappler and leg-lock specialist Craig Jones, squares off against Vagner Rocha, a well-traveled veteran of mixed-martial-arts and submission grappling, having fought for the UFC, Strikeforce, and Bellator, along with other major sub-only events such as Fight 2 Win and Combat Jiu-Jitsu.

Jones and Rocha have diametrically opposed grappling styles.  Jones is known and respected for his preference attacking the lower half of the body, something he does with ruthless efficiency in matches where striking is not allowed.  Rocha’s professional mixed-martial-arts experience provides for a more realistic fighting style when it comes to his submission game. Rocha prefers to get to his opponent’s back with a pressure passing approach. Once on the back, Rocha looks to isolate their arms away from their neck until he can cover his opponent’s mouth and nose with his free hand, basically smothering his foes in a methodical murder like fashion. Jones faced former UFC and current PFL light heavyweight Vinny Magalhães in the main event of SUG13, severely damaging Magalhães’ leg with a series of heel hook attacks until he could no longer continue.


Returning to the promotion after an upset victory over 10th. Planet Jiu-Jitsu standout Richie ‘Boogeyman’ Martinez, current Bellator fighter Austin Vanderford takes on Gabriel Checco, who came away victorious in his match at SUG13, picking up a submission victory over former UFC standout Jake Ellenberger. Checco suffered a second-round knockout at LFA 80 to Jordan Wright on January 17th., 2020.

Current UFC welterweight contender Michael Chiesa, coming off a huge victory over former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos back in January – faces Brent Primus, a Bellator fighter coming off back-to-back submission victories in the cage, including a rare gogoplata. Chiesa appears to have the size advantage against Primus, recently fighting in the Octagon at 170-pounds, while Primus still fights in the lightweight division. Both guys have faced top-level competition in their respective MMA promotions with Primus having fought Michael Chandler, the three-time Bellator lightweight champion, two times. I doubt pressure to perform will be a factor for either man. In my opinion, this matchup should have been the co-main event.

Starting off the card is a matchup of Jiu-Jitsu specialists. Portland native Andrew Alexander takes on Jordan Holy who has an impressive professional grappling record with victories over Marvin Castelle and Frank Rosenthal. Alexander is coming off a loss at SUG 13 in overtime via rear-naked-choke against TriStar Jiu-Jitsu phenom Ethan Crelinstein.

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